Square Dance Calling: For the Love of the Star

Many individuals start their lives full of enthusiasm and somewhere along the way they give up. These people end up existing in a manner that is displayed by their daily actions of going through the motions and somewhere along the way they stopped believing in themselves and what they are truly capable of. This is so tragic when this happens. They stop striving for excellence and forget about their passions. They take for granted the love of others who care about them. They simply go through the everyday motions of existence. And it happens in all areas of life everywhere in the world.

As our world continues to change, square dancing also continues to evolve. As callers, we all need to evolve, too. In order to do this, all callers need to find new motivation to progress and focus on a way to make an impact and navigate a fresh path in a traditionally based activity such as square dancing. In order to facilitate this, there are many sources available for a modern western square dance caller available today and the possibilities for creativity have grown considerably from yesteryear. The truth is there are many more educational resources for square dance callers than twenty years ago. There are many more choices and styles of dance music that can be used to present a tapestry for square dancers to enjoy and not just square dance music created for square dance calling.

Weave in this rich tapestry an offering of musical diversity and you can take one of the core elements of square dance as an activity and usher in new dancers from many walks of life. For instance, presently, individuals have the opportunity to download a vast amount of music from a lots of different square dance song websites. This available variety allows for square dance callers to be creative in offering many different musical selections to their square dance audience.

Related: Selecting Square Dance Music

The key thing to keep in mind is all callers need to find musical selections that are suitable, entertaining, and in line with the age and enjoyment of the audience they are calling to. Along with this is the offering of music that connects with everyone on an emotional and social level. And then there is the quotient of what everyone will expect to hear as the traditional roots music of square dance. An audience will want to be all “countryfied” and they all pretty much expect it. So all callers should give their dancers music that is traditional in sound to satisfy expectations.

On the other hand, at the same time everyone should see what square dance music can be. And that it does not only encompass traditional country music and traditional square dance music. There are many facets of the musical gem that can be cut and the end result is diversity in different styles of music from rock and roll and dance and rap and older genres such as old-time swing standards. Balancing your program is a guaranteed path to success in offering fun, variety and an overall great impression of what square dancing really is.

Musical variety in tempos of music, types of music, and an entire night of fantastic songs will make everyone happy. Put some thought into how you want to pace your night of dance and implement that in your program. You can even practice in this manner when you are working on preparing for your square dance calling gigs.

Related: Programming Musical Variety in Square Dance

Whatever music you select, always ensure that the music is not too fast for comfortable dancing. A little quicker tempo song is fine one or twice in a night. People get tired if they move too fast for too long and then they do not want to get up and dance as the night progresses. Another pointer here is to be cautious in using music that has loud background vocals in the background of the song. Choose music that is not going to conflict with your being heard clearly delivering your commands. Background vocals on songs will definitely drown out your square dance calling to the music. So just avoid that situation for yourself.

Inspire a modern approach to square dance by providing some energy that will boost the entire activity and the fun can spread by word of mouth to any and all who would simply come out to enjoy a night of square dance at a birthday party, barbeque or a corporate gathering!

Best Wishes,

Shaun Werkele




Disclaimer: The purpose of this site 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 calling 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.



Square Dance Caller Goals For 2018

Most people are always competing with others. They continuously are checking in to see what others in their sphere of connection are doing. As a result, many people mimic and copy what’s “working” to make the competition game a little easier.

So what is the approach to this strategy? And how can you best propel yourself and your calling abilities forward in 2018?

On thing that you should do is find patterns in other caller’s performances and innovate the key things you need to move yourself forward. Over time, your practice methods and goals will exceed the patterns of the callers that you admire. With focus and hard work, your end result can exceed even their original programs for calling and you will land on top.

Starting out, as a square dance caller, when studying the process of those you seek to emulate, don’t try to do it all. Keep in mind that you need to have your own strategy in improvement. Even those at the top of the square dance field have imperfect strategies.

Simply ask yourself, “What must I master to be great at this?” Work on mastering some of those things.

Related:  MY TIME LOG for optimal square dance calling

Work From Micro to Macro…

Start with small sets of information, then expand from there. By over-learning a particular piece of choreography, you’ll be able to better understand how it relates to an entire dance that you call. You’ll also quickly be able to apply what you have learned to live situations with dancers. You’ll quickly see the parts of the sequences that others probably will miss. As your cognition expands and your vocabulary of calls expands with it, it will become a part of your base knowledge, style and overall approach to calling everyday.

Check That Box!

Make sure that you use the “One Thing” in MY TIME LOG and you check the box. Accomplish that, look back on it, and say, “AAH I DID IT!” And you are on your way.

Ignore Other Callers…

Once you have a pattern down. To be original and have a style of your own, you need to do this. So look at the patterns and then work on innovating beyond those patterns once you are ready, so your calling comes to exceed the abilities of those you admire. Then pretty much ignore other callers and work on yourself. Eventually, your results will exceed theirs and you will be a better caller in your own right.

Practice Effectively on a Daily Basis

Practicing in an effective manner is not too difficult. Record yourself and get some immediate feedback. This has been found to be a time after time tested flow trigger. It heightens performance skills. Especially when the feedback is real-world, on tape and there are real nuances that can be improved upon for success. To not do this one thing will put you in a faulty place.

Quantity is the Most Likely Path to Quality

The more choreographic ideas that you produce, the more ideas you will have —some of which will be highly innovative and original. And sometimes you never know which ones will click with the dancers. And sometimes you know the choreographic or musical idea you have birthed is brilliant. You just keep creating!

Shoot For Honest Improvement

If you want to improve at anything, you need to quantify it. If you don’t quantify it, you don’t really know the complete possibilities that may unfold. When your calling performance is measured, your performance will improve. Document your practice and see how much your performance rate of improvement accelerates.

Set Goals and Track Them…

Set yourself some realistic square dance calling goals and get ready to measure this principle. When you start measuring a few metrics, such as changing choreography in each singing call that you practice daily, the time you spend in “flow” while working will dramatically improve in these areas.

Related:  Practicing Guidelines For Square Dance Callers

The reason is simple: tracking your practice will aid you in becoming aware and objective about your weaknesses. By doing this, you will systematically KNOW exactly where you should focus on your weaknesses and then you can eliminate or at the very least minimize them.

Set Aside Time For Square Dance Choreography

Different angles on a standard choreographic square dance call combination or different variances of a definition can vastly change what you can create in terms of new choreography. There are limitless possibilities in improving your abilities as a square dance caller and you owe it to yourself to pursue them!

Related:  Writing Square Dance Choreography

One thing you can consider is working with a square dance caller coach to get you focused, keep you on an effective practice schedule and on the whole take you to a higher place with your calling. Create a strategy (try MY TIME LOG, it’s free!) and follow it throughout the entire year and you will see 2018 as a banner year for yourself and improving your calling for both the benefit of the dancers and yourself!

And feel free to call me at anytime if you need help or have a question!

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.