5 Methods You Probably Are Not Using With Your Choreographic Checkers

Original Approaches For Square Dance Choreography Checkers

Square Dance Caller Choreography CheckersAll square dance callers, whether traditional or modern, use choreography to entertain and involve all of the dancers on the dance floor. If you think about a great dance show like Dancing With The Stars, why is it so great to watch? What makes it entertaining? Well practiced and interesting dance choreography! This applies just as well to square dance.

When creating new and different square dance choreography, the canonical approach, or to be precise, conforming to already established patterns or rules needs to be “turned off.” To be more fresh and creative with your square dance caller checkers you will have to leave old set rules of authority behind and ignore the typical standard that has been followed in all square dance calling which has always conformed to an accepted rule or procedure.

Consider using some of the following original methods to reach a higher place for yourself in choreography creation:

Reverse The Path

Find the end result you want and retrace your moves until you have reverse written the start of the sequence. For instance, if you want a precise get out, then start at the end result you want the square to end on, like a Right and Left Grand, and work all of the checkers backward with calls that take you back to where you want the sequence to begin.

Make the Module March

Use your checkers to write modules. Consider the power that you can create by analyzing every possible board position that can be placed into a giant choreographic tree and when connected together, each possible move acting as a string to another board position in the square. Those positions lead to a union of original and highly creative call ideas. Conversion modules. Zero module writing. Equivalent modules. Checkers can make this happen in a huge way!

Great Get Outs

Most great square dance get outs start out using square dance checkers. Look to old ideas for inspiration if you must, but use the checkers to create better and more interesting get outs that are original in substance and choreography that helps to instill interest and excitement for the dance floor. Keep in mind that get outs do not have to be hard and complicated, and just because you use the checkers to conceive a new idea does not mean that your choreography needs to be involved and difficult. Strive for fun ideas and visualize the dancers when you put together choreographic ideas

Turn The Card

Create a list of cards with one call on each card. Then shuffle the cards, draw three from the deck and write a choreographic sequence from that. This approach just requires that you create combinations of calls that connect the three calls together in a seamless yet interesting way. Zero modules work best for this method of creating choreography, yet I recommend that you write transitional and equivalent modules as well. This is a powerful method to break old overused choreography combinations and put new creative ideas forward.

Proper Flow

Follow the rules of smooth flow when you write figures with your checkers. Essential elements such as hand usage in the combinations of calls that you will deliver need to be relatively seamless and overall body flow should be smooth and gliding. Always keep this in mind because proper styling is highly important and it will enhance the quality of your dance from a choreographic standpoint and the enjoyable level for the square dancers.

Create Effective Ideas…

There are a few different ways to resolve a sequence with checkers. Just determine which ideas are the strongest and best for what you are trying to accomplish.

It is important also to remember that checkers are simply choreographic constructs, but if you create a sequence that is in the right direction with interesting ideas and great body flow, then everyone at the dance will cast a glimmering glance that you may be powerfully brilliant!

Have a Great Day! Contact me if you need a square dance caller coach!

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 coaching 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.


4 thoughts on “5 Methods You Probably Are Not Using With Your Choreographic Checkers

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