Ways to be a Showman as a Square Dance Caller

If you are looking for unique ways to be a showman square dance caller or you are looking for a different approach to entertaining when you are calling a square dance or a corporate party or function then this post is for you!  Incorporating unusual, fun and even quirky performance techniques to stage engaging live performances at events is a valuable tool for engaging a group of dancers at a club or even to captivate a crowd at an event. So many times you have to be versatile in what you offer to your audience at a square dance and bring the excitement to the dancer’s night by offering a “show.” You can read more about this in a previous post I wrote, For The Square Dance Caller: Sparkle Your Entertainment! 

Many of these ways of performing as a showman were already used quite a lot by many men in the past who called dances in the traditional square dance callers style and even the early days back in the heyday of the modern square dance revolution. These guys had it right. They KNEW they needed to engage their crowd of square dancers by entertaining and holding the interest of everyone present by being unique in their stage presence on stage. Incidentally, this is one huge advantage that the traditional square dance scene already has over modern western square dancing, and that is the live music played by a band of musicians in the dance setting at the traditional dances.

With a little work at applying yourself, you can be a specialist in unusual entertainment with audience participation. Come up with the idea of what you want to engage everyone with and work that up.  You might still see to this day at a National Convention a square dance caller who will have a unique approach to engaging the dancers by playing the guitar while they call or some other different and novel idea.   In the past this style allowed for a nationally recognized square dance caller to impress local area groups of square dance dancers with a unique and special night of entertainment. But you, as a local caller can do the same and spice up your night of square dance calling by doing the same kind of thing.

Here are some great ideas that have all been used as an entertainment platform for square dance callers in the past who either performed a short showman act between the dancing or in some cases, such as playing an instrument, they implemented different things that were entertaining while they were calling:


  • Ventriloquist
  • Standing on head
  • Calling blindfolded
  • Calling fast
  • Changing dynamics of the music from soft to louder
  • Original choreography
  • When singing hold a note for a long time
  • Yodeling
  • Perform magic trick
  • Telling a good joke that is not too lengthy
  • Calling with another caller in harmony
  • Involving the audience
  • Playing an instrument


Elegant, unusual, sophisticated, sometimes even bizarre ideas can keep everyone’s interest level at a peak. So don’t underestimate the potential this can have on your ability to take your square dance to a higher level. In order to be a unique square dance caller entertainer you need to draw from the experience of watching an unusual performance or even street entertainers to draw ideas and inspiration from. Then you will come up with new ways of engaging your audience such as they have not been engaged before.

In the end, just call the very best that you can and remember to entertain!

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 education training 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.


One thought on “Ways to be a Showman as a Square Dance Caller

  1. Pingback: Singalong Pointers For Square Dance Singing Calls | Square Dance Caller Shaun Werkele August Records

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