Square Dance Caller: Five Unique Mainstream Get Outs

One way for square dance callers to advance in their abilities is to look for opportunities to collaborate in calling with other callers of all levels of proficiency at many different square dance events, whether that event is a local one, or a nationally recognized one.  Calling to learn skills is good, but you still need to practice on many different areas with a square dance caller teacher to become an accomplished caller.

Sources like posts on this square dance website that have been published very recently will provide many current outlooks and understandings of square dancing and its past. If you use additional sources that might have been published sometime in the last decade, it is important to know what changes have evolved in the activity and what criticisms have been made about the earlier information and its approach to the topic, whether that is choreography, square dance music, or even equipment. Nevertheless, the “modern approach” is going to be the most effective in improving the art of square dance calling.

Below are five unique Mainstream level square dance choreography get outs that I have composed for  modern western square dance and all of these figures offer powerful and solid choreographic combinations that resolve the order of dancers in the square. Using these kinds of get outs will add to your effectiveness as a square dance caller and the dancers will enjoy them as well:

Box 1-4
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Bend the Line
Right & Left Thru
Pass Thru
Tag the Line Face Right
Ferris Wheel
Right and Left Grand

Box 1-4:
Right & Left Thru
Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Walk and Dodge
U Turn Back
Square Thru – on the Fourth Hand
Left Allemande

Box 1-4:
Right & Left Thru
Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Walk & Dodge
Bend the Line
Left Allemande

1p-2p Lines:
Reverse Flutterwheel
Dixie Style to a Wave
Boys Circulate
Left Allemande

1p-2p Lines:
Pass the Ocean
Girls Run
Bend the Line
Touch a Quarter
All Eight Circulate
Girls Turn Around
Left Allemande

Call with any question you might have, I would be glad to help!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

Shaun Werkele returned to square dancing in 2014. He works hard at bringing exciting square dance entertainment to parties and social events.  Shaun ensures that you and your guests experience a level of fun and dance that surpasses all! He is passionate about square dancing and about creating a one of a kind event that your guests will always remember.  Call for booking details  for 2016 today!

 

 
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.

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Stupid Easy Modern Western Square Dance Singing Call Breaks

Square dance callers are always looking for easier ways to call a dance, and my advice would be to use square dance choreography that has been written by others as often as you can to offer variety in your program. You should target easy songs to sing and along with that keep the choreography simple and progress the dancer’s ability up to more difficult figures throughout the dance. You can accomplish this progression in choreographic material through the hoedown patter portions of each tip. Then highlight the combinations that you called in the patter in your singing calls.

Here are a few easy square dance singing call figures that will make Mainstream level dancing interesting and fun. Easy is important, however, by changing the choreography you can offer great variety throughout your program. Make sure you practice these with several different singing call songs so you can help yourself build great structure and timing in your presentation of the calls:

 

CALLING TIP! Why not start your dance off with a classic all-time great piece of square dance music!  This will set up great momentum that carries the energy throughout the night.

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
DoSaDo
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Ferris Wheel
Centers Right & Left Thru
Centers Wheel Around
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Walk in Square Thru
Right & Left Thru
Veer Left
Couples Circulate
Girls Trade
Bend The Line
Square Thru 3 Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Circle Four Halfway
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Girls Trade
Bend the Line
Square Thru Three Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

This last figure you can hear on my homepage where I am performing live at the Foot and Fiddle in Fort Collins, Colorado using “Dance With Me One More Time.” This is a classic song in tempo and melody, it is easy to call to, and is always a crowd pleaser. Consider using it in your square dance calling program. I use it often.

Best Regards,
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 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.

Modern Square Dance Calling: How To Formulate Creative Choreography

How To Develop & Use Unique Square Dance Choreography

Select an Idea

Square Dance Caller Education SchoolAs a modern western square dance caller looking for new choreographic ideas, inspiration can come from anywhere. Get an idea from the Mainstream, PLUS, or Advanced list of calls and use that as a start. Even if you are calling a Mainstream dance you can use a creative choreographic snippet from another list. For example, use a Diamond formation at the Mainstream level without calling a Diamond Circulate or try to directionalize the dancers through a call. My prior post, Best Guide for Creating an Original Square Dance Choreography Sequence gives a great set of general guidelines to follow when you want to be a little more creative in your role as square dance caller. I recommend that you read that pointer post and apply those foundation of ideas to this procedure outlined here on creating square dance choreography.

Whether you choose to use an idea from an old set list of calls or you try something new, as long as you spend time formulating the square dance choreography sequence and focus upon a smooth mixture of interesting calls, and then when you call, give clear directions to the dancers. Success is in following the procedure as it is described below.

Set Up the Position for the Sequence

Using choreography checkers is best for developing creative choreography ideas and writing the material that you will use. To analyze the choreographic example I will give you, start with two facing couples in a zero box facing the corner (Box 1-4) and have them step to an Ocean Wave. This is the start of the creative choreography sequence.

Let’s take a look. You are square dance calling a Mainstream dance and you want to use something with Hinge and incorporate individual turning directions for the dancers. Hinges are universally not called enough so anything that you can call using this figure is a good idea. And by using an individual turning direction (Right, Left, In and Out) for dancers to execute encourages them to listen to simple directions from you. So this is the heart of the creative idea that builds the sequence:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

Single Hinge
Girls Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Right
Bend the Line

 

Implement Sequence

Use the idea

Start with the dancers doing a Single Hinge and then the Girls Fold behind the Men. Now have the dancers do a Double Pass Thru. Then have the Dancers individually Face to the Right. Then have the dancers Bend The Line. I am sure that many of you modern square dance callers will recognize the similarity of mechanics of this call. It is very close to being a Linear Cycle from the PLUS level list and although this is not an exact duplication of the description of the call, it is very similar.

So the “directions” that you give are simple and include directional words and the dancers get it. By doing this, you have provided something new and fresh and interesting for all.

Quick Get Out

Resolve the square

First work on resolving the dancers’ sequence by getting into a normal formation that the dancers are comfortable with, then resolve the sequence of dancers and apply a get out. This is essential to the success of the square dance choreography. Returning the dancers to a normal position – either a box, line or static square quickly allows for a lot more success for the floor and if there are a lot of lost dancers they will have a chance to regroup and continue on with the rest of the floor.

In this case, if you just do a Slide Thru, then you will have resolved the sequence to a zero box once more. A simple Allemande Left will return all of the dancers back to their home positions. Or…

…quick get out/continue teaching or calling:

Pass the Ocean
returns dancers to a Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

 

Expand On Variations

Take the original idea and add to it

…and incorporate it into another sequence of calls. Create a few variations. For example, if you were using the ladies as the active component to initialize the unique choreographic idea then change that to the men as the active part.

 

Variation #1 adding and changing the sequence by adding more calls:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

Single Hinge
Scootback
Boys Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Right
Bend the Line

…and then add the Get Out:

Pass Thru
Girls Run
Single Hinge
(returns dancers to the Zero Box Ocean Wave)

 

Variation #2 adding and changing the sequence by adding more calls:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

Single Hinge
Split Circulate
Boys Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Left
Bend the Line

…and then add the Get Out:

Pass the Ocean
Recycle
(returns dancers to the Zero Box)

 

Variation #3 using same sexes working together:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

Set up the variation sequence:

Single Hinge
Scootback
Centers Trade

Begin the sequence variation:
Single Hinge
The Ones Facing Out Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Right
Bend the Line

…and then add the Get Out:

Star Thru
California Twirl
Centers Right & Left Thru
Step to a Wave and Extend
Girls Trade
(returns dancers to a Zero Box Ocean Wave)

 

Incorporate Your Idea Further

Use the Choreographic Idea in a Singing Call Figure

…and allow the dancers to dance the sequence of calls. Let the whole floor dance the new sequence in a singing call that allows them to relax and simply dance the creative choreography you have created and enjoy:

Heads Touch a Quarter
Boys Run
Right and Left Thru
Step to an Ocean Wave
Single Hinge
Girls Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Right
Bend the Line
Square Thru Three Quarters
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Overall, the process takes a little thought, creativity, and work. Spend some time with a choreographic idea and you can take your square dance calling and the dancer’s potential for more fun and even let them learn some too!

 

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

As mentioned before, here is the information for the square dance caller school that I will be conducting on April 30 and May 1, 2016 from 12:00 to 3:00 each day. See the ad flyer above and please call if you have any questions!

 

 

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.

Modern Musical Approaches For Square Dance Callers

Modern music is an audacious move for square dance callers. I do not mean that in a bad way. What I am saying is taking a more modern musical approach is a good way to being better at what you do.  Working at being different is the essence of audacity, to be bold, daring, and to add a little creative innovation to your way of doing things in regard to square dance.

In order for modern western square dance callers to step out and make changes in their programs in a normal night’s dance many will have to change a lot of the music that they have used normally. Perhaps some of these selections date back years from today. Take a look at your catalog of songs that you regularly use and assess all of those songs. Ask yourself, “How modern are all of these songs that I use?” and then ask yourself, “How many of these old music pieces can I put to rest and how many new musical pieces can I integrate into my normal program that I call?” This is a great starting point in the process of changing your square dance calling habits.

You might be asking yourself, why bother with changing the music that I use? There are several good reasons why. One is by changing up to modern music, you project a better, more modern image of the square dance activity. Second, couple that with the positive energy that you will induce upon yourself that will result in even more enthusiasm simply because you have compelled yourself to learn something new and different. There is no better way to tackle a new task than harnessing the forward momentum of learning something new.

There still is a place in the modern square dance activity for traditional square dance music, and I strongly feel that all square dance callers should fervently include the traditional styles of music in their night’s calling, as well. This is the root of the entire square dance movement, and there is a rich history and tradition that we should always salute and, for this important reason, keep a little of this in your program always.

Using modern style music, whether it is music based on today’s top forty music or techno-pop or hip-hop or electro dance, brings on the need for establishing some guidelines you might want to follow when you are going to use this type of music.

First, avoid distracting vocal music, it can be very hard to call over and the dancers will not hear your voice commands very well.  Things that can distract such as vocals, background instruments… these parts need to be removed in order to present a piece of music that can engage the dancers more and the non-dancing people watching will love hearing the updated changes in your music from what they had perceived years ago. Just about everyone who has not heard or seen a modern day square dance, whether at a regular dance or an exhibition, will be quite surprised at the changes in today’s square dance music that is being used by more and more callers all the time.

Second, by listening to any new musical piece over and over you will get a great feel for what you want to make editing on. Make a list of sections that you want to change. Save that new song variation as a new file and set it aside for a day or two. Go back and listen and see how your changes work in terms of smoothness and overall “danceability” and “callability.”  Another neat approach to creating new and original is to mash two different songs together, and come up with something totally new and fresh!

Third, try your new music on some dancers, preferably at a square dance class where you can get some feedback on your new music. Ask if the music seemed to flow and if they could hear you well enough. Dancer feedback on your calling is always a really good thing to receive. It keeps you in touch with the dancers and you have a much better idea about what they like and do not like about your calling. The sound, the kind of square dance music called to, the speed of the songs, and your calling technique, of course. These all are things you want feedback on. Make changes if you need to, that is why you get the feedback responses from the dancers in the first place.

Obligate yourself to adding more new and exciting square dance music for your calling engagements and then you will truly make your square dance event an over the top dance to be remembered by all!

As always, you can contact me at any time you have a square dance caller question, or if you have a comment that you might like to add.

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 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.

Square Dance Callers: Best Singing Call Figures that Snapadoo!

Square dance callers should all snapadoo at their dances! There is no true official formal definition for this word, but the slang meaning is that everyone is in agreement and they all verbally say so! So this needs to be done with excitement and enthusiasm and it is up to you as the square dance caller to initiate this action on the dance floor.

One of the best ways that you can put the snapadoo into the dance floor is to have the square dancers repeat something that joins them in unison with excitement and enthusiasm! The first Mainstream level singing call figure offered here is the most fun to use at a dance for this reason. The most engaging way to accomplish this is to have the dancers say “Allright” or “Hotdog” or some other silly thing all at the same time right after you call a square dance move. For example, call to the dancers Flutterwheel and say “all right!” And they will say it with intense approval! Aaah the magic of snapadoo!

So for a bit of a change, try having everyone say “Snapadoo” together and they will have fun and laugh and they will have a great time. And so will you:

CALLING TIP! Being prepared to call is serious work, but remember to relax and have fun while you are calling at the dance. This is your time to enjoy and let the dancers enjoy the event!

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Do Sa Do
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Bend The Line
Right and Left Thru
Flutterwheel and everyone say “Snapadoo”
Slide Thru
Swing Corner & Promenade

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Right & Left Thru
Swing Thru & Girls Turn Around
Bend The Line
Flutterwheel and everyone say “Snapadoo”
Slide Thru
Swing Corner & Promenade

And one without the snapadoo:

Heads Promenade Halfway
Touch a Quarter
Boys Run Right
Right & Left Thru
Veer Left
Ferris Wheel
Centers Pass Thru
Square Thru 3 Hands
Trade By
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Snapadoo can be very powerful and fun. Give it a try in your evening’s dance and let the  dancers enjoy!

Best Wishes,

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 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.