Modern Western Square Dance: The One Hour Singing Call Challenge!

Modern Western square dance calling evolved from the basic roots of  the original style of traditional square dance . The levels of dancing were established in a need to standardize the calls used and to provide an established amount of choreography for callers to use in an evening of dancing.

So using the lists that were established years ago, take the square dance singing call one hour challenge! Set an alarm or timer for an hour’s time and get a couple of pieces of paper and get ready to write. Get out your lists of standardized square dance calls and use your choreography checkers for this exercise.

Now write as many ORIGINAL square dance singing call figures you can in that set hour.

Now this is the caveat. You have to try hard to come up with original ideas, not ones that you have learned from other sources and callers.

This will take some concentration and some creative ideas to land upon some good figures. Having a passion for the choreography side of dancing that goes back to when I was quite young and new in my education in square dance calling, I developed this singing call challenge idea while I was watching television with my parents and the program was not holding my attention.

So I started writing singing call figures in my head during the show and jotted them down on sticky notes. I came up with eighteen new sequences in just an hour’s time. And these were good solid figures that were original and unique in one way or another.

So see how you do. If you would like to share any of your ideas from your challenge session, send them to me and I will publish them here for everyone to use.

The following is a nice pair of simple and basic Mainstream square dance calls that incorporate Boys Circulate Girls Trade from 2-faced lines. Both sequences move all the dancers around the square quite a lot. The first figure is an unpredictable break I have set to lead to a unique “get out” with the Lead Right for the Swing Corner and the second one is a little simpler and is a lot of fun for dancing:

 

CALLING TIP!
Calls that create interaction and allow the dancers to respond back to the caller are a needed part of your dance. Make sure that you get the dance floor to sing with you or say something out loud!

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Lead Right Veer Left
Boys Circulate Girls Trade
Ferris Wheel
Centers Sweep a Quarter & Back Away
The Others Lead Right
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

 

Heads (Sides) Lead Right
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Boys Circulate  Girls Trade
Bend the Line
Pass Thru
Partner Trade
Boys Walk Girls Dodge
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

 

The Singing Call Challenge is a great booster to add to the list of Methods to Advance Your Square Dance Calling Ability

Good luck to you when you give this a try. It is a good mental workout and nets some great choreography that you can use for always! Put the new singing call breaks on recipe cards and on your computer for future use. And of course, practice and memorize some of these, too!

Shaun Werkele

 

 

 

Mission Statement: The purpose of this post is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller training, education, and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.

Advertisements

Methods to Advance Your Square Dance Calling Ability

Since it is National Square Dance Month, I thought it seemed like a great idea to make a list of ideas that might inspire you and would improve your calling skills and allow you to sharpen your axe and head for the square dancing woodshed. The following square dance caller education tips are some great ways to implement various methods and practice habits to make your square dance calling more proficient. As with most things that require practice, a “little at a time a lot of the time” is the best recommended approach:

  • Create a schedule for practice time
  • Create a structured dance program that you can call anywhere
  • Follow that program in practice sessions daily
  • Practice in front of a mirror
  • Practice without any music
  • Practice with music
  • Practice with a metronome or drum machine
  • Practice with another caller
  • Read caller articles and ideas and choreography from local and national resources
  • Take an oral “recitation test” of your memorized choreography as quickly as you can and record it
  • Meet with a local state and national square dance caller’s association
  • Take a voice lesson or two with a vocal coach
  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Participate in local state, regional and national square dance conventions for callers
  • Set a few minutes a day for moving checkers
  • Practice square dancing in your head
  • Go to a square dance
  • Take lessons from another square dance caller to advance yourself a dance level
  • Learn a new singing call each week and tape record it
  • Practice one patter tip 3 times with 3 different hoedowns that vary musically
  • Practice sight calling “mental image”
  • Combine memorized modules and then force yourself to change the setups and get outs 3 different times
  • Attend a caller’s school or seminar
  • Have a dancer evaluate your calling
  • Try calling a tip without any music, record it and critique it (without any music)
  • Record a practice tip and critique it
  • Have a square dance caller evaluate your calling
  • Purchase a few new square dance calling releases
  • Attend a class for beginners in music at your local community college
  • Enlist a “mentor” or square dance caller coach to help you who is experienced and knowledgeable
  • Listen to other callers and take 2 important ideas/approaches and apply that to your calling
  • Recruit a square of friendly and enthusiastic dancers to allow you to practice your calling upon from time to time

I believe that anyone can learn to square dance call if they work at it. There are so many different niches in the activity, whether you are looking to call square dance parties locally, the Advanced and Challenge square dance levels, or perform on a national scale.

Call Shaun Werkele at 303-250-4735 if you have any questions, or if you need any suggestions on how to get started in learning to square dance call!

Have a great day!

 

 

 

Mission Statement: The purpose of this post is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller education and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.

National Chain Down the Line Week!

Modern Western Square Dancing at the National Square Dance ConventionSeptember is National Square Dance Month so if you know of anyone that would be interested in the fun and social aspects of the square dance activity please invite them to partake in some square dance lessons and let the fun begin!

 

I am personally declaring Chain Down the Line as the national square dance call of the week! Chain Down the Line is a great call at the Mainstream Level to use in singing calls, particularly the slower paced ones. The men courtesy turning the ladies adds an elegant style move that falls in line with romantic love song based singing calls.

Here are a couple of original Chain Down the Line singing call choreography figures that I put together for anyone who is a square dance caller.

CALLING TIP!
Always call in your patter beforehand any unusual choreographic sequences that you would like to use in your singing calls. This will definitely allow for higher success and less stress for the dance floor!

Enjoy!

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Hands
Swing Thru
Girls Turn Around
As Couples Trade
Tag the Line Face Right
Chain Down The Line
Slide Thru
Swing Corner & Promenade

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4
DoSaDo
Swing Thru
Boys Trade
Boys Run Right
Chain Down the Line
Pass the Ocean
Recycle
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

I recommend that you call the first sequence in your patter call and cue the dancers to pass right shoulders on the Tag the Line Face Right. If they pass left shoulders, not only have they completed the call incorrectly, the Ladies will not line up to complete the Chain Down the Line.

There will be no difficulties on the second figure, it is very straight ahead and normal in the choreography.

Have a Great Day!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

 

 

Mission Statement: The purpose of this post is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller education and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.