For the Square Dance Caller: Build Compelling Choreography

The process of creating square dance singing call figures begins in finding within yourself a new recipe, and sometimes that entails taking the same old figures that have been the basis for square dancing for the past several decades and expanding that foundation into something new, fresh, and innovative. Writing creative square dance choreography that is of an effective quality in terms of both dancing interest and being memorable really rests on a bit of control.

What? It seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? Artistry in a systematic way. But the truth is, if you use some organization and good time management, you can be creative in many aspects of square dance calling just as many people who create in other arenas of the world and in life in general. You can plug into your creative potential by focusing on these optimized methods of writing square dance figures that can be powerful and then watch what happens on the dance floor as you present your efficacious combinations.

To create singing call choreography start things out with this simple method:

Generate as Many Great Choreographic Ideas as You Can

Start with a particular call or combination of a few calls you want to promote as a new dancing idea that you want to focus on and build up the figure from there. If you cannot think of an idea then think about something that you might have danced that was called by another caller lately. Or attend a class that a local caller is teaching and see if something that is being taught might spawn an idea or two for you that will work in creating something new and different. Get your hands on some old vinyl square dance records and look over the written choreography for each song for a choreographic nugget that you can mine into something great.

Make Something Out of Your Choreographic Ideas

The key thing here is callers need to envision a choreographic idea and then carry that idea through to fit in the big picture of what they are aiming to create. For individual dance programs and more. Only then can they create something that the dancers find interesting and is relevant in the big picture of square dancing overall. Shoot for creating as you are inspired and take from that inspiration to make something out of your ideas that will make anticipation a minimal thing in your program while the dancers are moving through the figures.

Choose Your Best Choreographic Ideas

The best ideas are really what you decide to choose from your list of square dance calls that you have created. Choose by looking for choreographic ideas that are astoundingly simple at first and focus on finding a powerful combination of square dance calls that will triumph over your group as you call. Use fractions of calls or variations of the most basic calls and leverage some creativity from those ideas.

Explore Uncharted Ideas

This is where you have to change your mental thinking patterns. Writing choreography, like many creative processes, takes a focus period and a rest period before you realize great ideas. And then they will come to you. For instance try fractions of calls or variations of just about any call that can be executed and you are on your way to putting something together that will keep interest high and anticipation low among the dancers.

Write Singing Call Figure Cards and Keep Ideas in a Notebook

Chronically consumed by ideas? Sometimes… Sometimes not. Usually new ideas come in spurts and so this is the time you use a caller notebook to manage your choreography. Being organized requires that you document and manage your choreography so that it is accessible for both practice time and at dances. Make your notes readable at a glance so that you can remember your ideas and command the calling of the dance comfortably. Larger lettering is good. Generally, any sequence that you write should not exceed the space of a card, and that is skipping spaces. This seems to be the ideal length of time that a sequence of calls should be before resolution of the square to the Corner Lady and Promenading in sequence to the Home Position.

Apply the Rules of Good Body Flow and Timing

The most important elements of a great singing call figure definitely counts on smooth mechanics in the execution of the moves and being able to dance those figures in time to the music. Generally, the dancers need more beats of music to perform the calls as opposed to less. The timing of the calls needs to be danceable – another aspect that you need to consider when you direct the dancers through your calls is the timing on the delivery of the calls. Your calling (delivery of the commands) must be given before the dancers are finished completing the call that they are dancing through at that moment. By doing so you will eliminate “stop and go” dancing and encourage nice smooth dancing to the music for the dancers. Body flow and delivering the calls in spot on timing combined with interesting choreography is the cornerstone of great square dance calling!

Related:  Write Your Own Square Dance Choreography

Manage your time by setting aside creative sessions. Schedule them so that they happen. Time to reach inside of yourself and find your square dance caller creative choreography water well and draw from that spring!

As someone who cares deeply about the state of square dancing, I give you the highest regards and wish you the best in your square dance calling endeavors!

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 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.

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DBD Mainstream Square Dance Calling: Singing Call Figures That Kill! (Anticipation)

The one dynamic that you can change as a modern western square dance caller in your program (outside of musical selections for the evening) is using different choreographic sequences that will ENTERTAIN the dancers at the event you are calling. Anticipation on the dance floor is not a good thing, however, calling dance moves that lose the floor and cause the squares to break down is not good, either. Still, eliminating anticipation and making what you call thought stimulating is what will win heaps of appreciation from all present that night. Calling to the dancers and allowing them to succeed through different choreographic combinations so that they do not know what to expect a great amount of the time is the best way to ensure that you are calling a great square dance!

This all relates to the old saying, “form follows function.” If you are prepared in the right manner, you will have a ton of choreography for the dance and you will implement it in a way that is interesting and keeps everyone smiling! I recommend that you use these in your hoedown/patter portion of the tips that you call first.

That being said, here is a super quad of DBD Mainstream singing call figures!

Enjoy! 

CALLING TIP!  Spend some time thinking about, focusing on and creating directional commands to aid the dancers through more involved choreography so that they will have more success and enjoyment overall!

Heads (Sides) Touch a Quarter
Walk & Dodge
Left Touch a Quarter
Walk & Dodge
Wheel Around
Flutterwheel
Sweep a Quarter
Square Thru Three Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Promenade Three Quarters
Sides Square Thru Three Hands
Left Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Girls Run
Pass The Ocean
Girls Circulate
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Promenade One Quarter
Sides Pass Thru
Circle 4 Three Quarters
Reverse Flutterwheel
Sweep a Quarter
Pass Thru      Trade By
Touch a Quarter    Girls Run
Left Allemande Come Back & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 2 Hands
Swing Thru
Girls Turn Around
Wheel & Deal
Step to a Wave All Eight Circulate
Single Hinge
Scootback
Swing Corner & Promenade

Some of these can be a little hard for the average Mainstream dancer. I highly recommend that you workshop these figures in a tip that themes the different choreographic ideas such as the Left Touch a Quarter and the Split Circulate and the Left Touch a Quarter and Walk and Dodge. The last figure uses a Wheel & Deal with a counter-clockwise motion and the Boys are the center. By the way, dancers seem to be weak on the Wheel & Deal from 2-Faced Lines, anyway. This would be another great workshop idea for all callers to use at their dances.

By using figures like the ones above, you will be able to also improve the dancers’ ability and strengths in listening to what you command throughout the entire night and the unique ideas centered around more adventurous choreography.

Modern Western square dance is a great social function idea that can work in seamlessly with a party, wedding, corporate function, or even large community events. Shaun Werkele calls all levels of square dancing from the basic 10-20 calls through the Challenge (C-1) level of dance. Shaun can commute locally across the Denver Front Range to your area within the Colorado region or nearby states to call for your group.

Contact Shaun Werkele today to make a square dancing a fun possibility for your event planning process and see how easy and fun a square dance party can be!

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.

Plug-In Picasso: Square Dance Calling More Creatively

Learning to Square Dance Call on an Effective Creative Plateau

Before you begin a square dance calling practice session, write down how you intend to establish a basic program for the dance  that you are going to call in the near future. Choose your intentions with some good thought ahead of time. Make this element (or more than one) and let it guide you and it will establish your theme or your square dance program itinerary. Will your program be dominated by up-tempo music? Challenging choreography? Perhaps a little of both?

Also ahead of time, decide how you are going to handle injecting variety in your night’s program, using the same set of practice tools that you normally follow.

Will you contrast modern with traditional music? Workshop a few new angles on an old over-used “traffic pattern?” Will you instill fun that breaks the ice for everyone present so that they have a wonderful time?

These thought provoking elements are at the heart of creativity for a square dance caller (yes, these should be the kind of things you are considering in preparation), so during the process of creating, make sure that you are on a simple track of accomplishing your intentions. It’s simple. Just try to be aware of how your inspired ideas interact with one another. To NOT get a little creative will NOT advance your abilities or the dancers’ as well.

Related:  Panoramic Aspects of Square Dance Calling

When I first learned to call, two words had a huge effect on me when I was a young teen. Creative choreography. Once I learned about the power of creating ideas that moved people around then everything started to meld together in terms of understanding the mechanics of calling and seeing the many choreographic possibilities. And, although the square dance activity has changed some, getting creative with choreography has not really changed much at all.

Here is a great creative Get-Out idea that you can work on spring boarding and get you creating a choreographic idea or two:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box)

Step to an Ocean Wave-Girls Trade
Single Hinge
Scoot Back
Split Circulate
Walk & Dodge
Boys Fold
Touch a Quarter
Boys Cast Left 3/4
Girls Turn Around
Boys “Reverse” Extend
Left Allemande

Hope you will give that idea a try. The Left Allemande at the end helps to pull the dancers out of a kind of tricky spot quickly and then you can build on the novelty ideas of “Reverse ” Extend with other sequence ideas. Or just use it as a cool and different Get-Out!

Related:  Seven Square Dance Calling Get-Outs

Here is another simple Singing Call Figure for you to give a whirl:

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Hands
Right & Left Thru
Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Boys Run
Reverse Flutterwheel
Square Thru 3 Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Getting creative entails one thing that you need to step back and take a look at in your own calling. Do you come up with ORIGINAL ideas some of the time, at least? If all you ever do is borrow ideas then you are not tapping into your creative side. Use your square dance choreography checkers and see what you can come up with.

One of the best ways to spawn a creative idea is to get inspired by one idea and then take it further, and that can be the fractionalization of a square dance call such as a Right & Left Thru with a Courtesy Turn a Quarter More (a simple idea that does not get used often enough). Choreographic ideas can stem from the inspiration of another caller.

Take their ideas and carry the torch a little further!

You will be glad you did. For your own growth as a caller and for the improvement of the dancers.

 

Best Regards,

Call me at anytime you might have a question, I will be glad to help in any way that I can!

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 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.

Panoramic Aspects of Calling Square Dances

As a modern western square dance caller you should always think hard about what you want to do and your role in the square dance activity. Calling at various levels – called “dance programs,” whether that is Mainstream, PLUS, Advanced and Challenge, can beckon a powerful set of questions –

Why are you striving to expand to a more involved choreographic level in the first place?

Do you have the skills to call at the higher level that you are interested in?

What will it take to advance your abilities to call at a higher level?

What will the “fun” factor be for yourself in regards to what level program you call at?

Will there be enough dancers to support a group at a higher level?

Advanced and Challenge levels are much more involved and harder to call – where you are dealing with concepts, new formations, more DBD (Dancing By Definition) dancing, and involved ideas like galaxy formations, phantoms and a higher focus on fractionalizing of complex calls.

Does your calling style even match the level you would like to call at?

If you call more from an entertaining style then you might have problems with higher level concept calling and being accepted by more critical people at the Advanced and Challenge levels of dance. Or perhaps your heart and soul longs to embrace the traditional style of square dance. There is a lot for any caller to offer square dance as a social doorway which bridges together our American musical and dancing past.

  Related:  How to Teach Square Dancing

Remember, there are good callers and bad callers at every level and within every modern dance program and even within the traditional realm there exists strong dancers and weaker dancers. Making a change “up” is not necessarily the best move you can make for yourself, even if you feel that it is. You might just be “not built that way” and you may not like the stress of the increase in calls and complexity.

Overall, square dance calling is an activity that offers many niches for a dancer to participate in as well as for a caller to entertain in.

Just take a look at the tremendous strides that have been made in the area of standardization of square dance calls that are directed at the average person, as a member of a square dance club, that belongs to local and national organizations, which meet to promote the perfection of square dancing skills and healthy social interaction.

Regional dances are still very much in evidence and universally many people gather in social locales for party dancing based on old-time, simple figures.

Empower yourself as a caller who is on the crossroads of change and advance yourself in ways that will make a difference to the square dance activity. Focus on everything you need to as far as choreography goes, and adapt to being versatile and wearing numerous calling hats across several different levels of modern square dance. Be prepared to entertain at a square dance party. Or call an involved and mentally challenging square dance tip.

Or even some traditional square dance choreography. You never know what will come along. Once I called on a golf course at night! Heck, another time I called with only an accordian player and a guitarist and it was a great success! You adapt, change and have fun yourself. If you are not having fun as a caller, try to figure out what it is that you are not enjoying about the whole thing and change it.

After all, square dance reflects the personality and temper of people – which is a huge part of their human and socially attractive, fun and lasting appeal.

Related:  Modern Western Square Dance Calling: What is Involved?

 

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 coaching information provided here serves as a source for square dance calling 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

Call Slick With Seven Cool Square Dance Get Outs!

If you are like me, whenever I hear a unique square dance choreography get out that resolves the square to the corner with an Allemande Left  or to the Partner for a Right and Left Grand or a Promenade or one that simply resolves everyone in the square at the home position, I get excited about it! When all of the dancers get through a challenging or just interesting set of calls, the best way to top that whole thing off is with a cool get out.

The best get outs usually are not extremely hard but are either different and/or have a surprise ending that the dancers may not see coming. I kept that in mind when I sculpted these Mainstream choreographic get outs for you to use with your square dancers:

Box 1-4:
Veer to the Left
Girls Trade
Boys Fold
Pass Thru
Right and Left Grand

Box 1-4:
Touch a Quarter
Girls Run
Pass Thru
Tag the Line
Leads Turn Back
All Pass Thru
Right and Left Grand

1p-2p Lines:
Right and Left Thru
Flutterwheel
Pass Thru
Tag the Line Face In
Center 4 Only Right and Left Thru
Center 4 Only Flutterwheel
Everybody Allemande Left

1p-2p Lines:
Pass Thru
Wheel and Deal
Centers Veer to the Left
Centers Tag the Line &
Lady go Left Boy go Right
Left Allemande

Box 1-4:
Star Thru
Pass Thru
Tag the Line Face In
Center 4 Only Right Hand Star
Left Allemande

Box 1-4:
Star Thru
Pass Thru
Tag the Line Face In
Left Touch a Quarter
Girls U Turn Back
Left Square Thru 3 Hands
Right and Left Grand

1p-2p Lines:
Right and Left Thru
Dixie Style to an Ocean Wave
Boys Trade
Left Swing Thru
Ladies Cross Fold
Right and Left Grand

Give some of these a try for some different approaches to educating dancers in “not the norm” for better dancing. The Right Hand Star get out is a surprise for most because it is rarely called from lines. This is a nice tip of the hat to some of the old traditional square dance figures from yesteryear. The last two sequences are more difficult, particularly the one with the Left Touch a Quarter and the Left Square Thru Three Quarters.

Related:  Original Square Dance Choreography

Call me at anytime you might have a question, I will be glad to help in any way that I can!

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.

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

303-250-4735

 

 

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

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 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.

Palooza Effect: Selecting Square Dance Music

The Importance and Methods of Selecting the Best Music for Modern Square Dance Calling

The selection of music for a square dance is a really big deal and all modern square dance callers should be spending a lot of time making strong decisions in choosing the best music and songs for a night’s dancing, whether it is a festival, dance weekend, or even a square dance party. Think about how the music emotionally charges people, elevates their moods and it can change their overall feelings. It is the energy of the music that brought everyone to the square dance in the first place!

Turn the Beat Around:

In selecting music for a square dance, the type of event and the people in attendance will be paramount in your final choices for music. Younger crowds put out a lot of energy, and so consequently, up-tempo and faster back-beat songs are in order. The older set will enjoy songs from their past and will heap appreciation upon you for using music they can identify with and enjoy.

Related: Musical Variety: Advice For Square Dance Callers

Find Your Inspiration!

Your source for musical inspiration is a well that you can draw from in daily life. Think about how and where you hear music and how that psychologically affects your experiences on an emotional level. Use these opportunities to culminate some musical material for yourself for your own program of square dances that you call:

  • A song you danced to recently
  • A song you heard On Youtube
  • Music you noticed in a movie
  • A song you heard on a square dance music website
  • A song you heard at a restaurant
  • Perusing through a collection of old vinyl records

Finding the music is only half of the game. Next, you need to figure out if the song is right for you. Intently listen only to the instrumental version that you would be calling to at a dance. This is important. When you are selecting and purchasing square dance music make a determination whether the song rendition is worthy of your performing style and vocal capabilities. Also understand that you can change the choreography – and probably should – to suit your dancer’s needs. The recording artist’s choreography or vocal performance for a piece of music should not be the deciding factor in your decision to purchase a particular square dance song.

Related:  Guidelines For Practicing Square Dance Calling

(Hey You!) Comfortably Sung

Music that is comfortable for you to sing to is vital. If you have ever taken voice lessons (I recommend that you do), you might be familiar with the classification of singers as in a vocal range such as a soprano, mezzo-soprano, or contralto (alto) if you are a female caller, and a countertenor, tenor, baritone, or bass if you are a male caller. Test your voice according to the following specifications on this video:

 

 

Music that you can handle comfortably in your singing performance will allow you to call longer, with less energy, and without strain. You will sound much better and everyone wants that situation. After all, the people attending a square dance expect a good time and you will want to sound your best.

The Crescendo:

The release of dopamine when people listen to and enjoy music makes it an extremely rewarding and fulfilling activity. It relaxes and stimulates people and they are able to emotionally respond to it. Whether you use traditional square dance music, hip-hop, electropop, or the oldies genre, you have the responsibility to let people’s spirits soar and connect with them on a level that allows for them to have so much fun that they remember the get-together for the rest of their lives!

 

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.

 

 

Square Dance Calling: Traditional Ideas In Modern Western Square Dance!

When you want to spice up your square dance calling approach, I recommend that you take a look at what has been done in the past and put a new twist on it. Just think about how many modern artists, musicians and creative persons in the everyday walk of life throughout our history have piggybacked off of ideas that were previously created. Many have used ideas, concepts and inventions that had influenced them in creating directly from their own past. Very often, before they even became successful, they took that idea, incorporated it into their catalog of ideas, perhaps changing it a bit, and voila! A new and influential idea becomes popular and is used in the mainstream of life.

ONE THING!: Try replacing and inserting this simple two call combination at least twice in an evening’s dance with a traditionally based call like a very simple Circle Up Four Halfway:
Right & Left Thru   Veer Left
Replace with:
Circle 4 Halfway   Veer Left

Square dance callers can use this device to launch new ideas through creativity.  Combining traditional and modern square dance ideas is a great way to do this kind of thing. You can really spice up a program by putting a new and exciting presentation of traditional ideas within your choreography in a night’s dance.

Related:  Modern Western Square Dance: What Really is Traditional?

 

Old traditional square dance choreography figures and even the rhyming “filler” language that was used in the dances of yesteryear can be incorporated in between any type of  modern square dance figures and in the delivery of square dance calls everywhere, at any dancing level. Here is an example. Try replacing and inserting this traditionally based timing/filler word phrase and memorizing it. Then you can use this when the square dancers are executing a Right & Left Grand in an evening’s dance and inject some “old style” into the night:

Right & Left Grand- a Grando Right and a Left go round a hand and hand and a meet your Partner- Promenade ago round

Replace with:

Right & Left Grand- a Grand Right and a go and a high and low and a meet your Beau- Promenade ago round

This kind of change-up can be a “ONE THING” idea you can use in your practice regimen. Building a large arsenal of both choreography ideas and fun filler words in your performances can strengthen your calling program and lead you to improvement, raise dancer’s abilities and help out the entire square dance activity by leaps and bounds!

Related:  Traditional Square Dancing Choreography “Pop Goes the Weasel”

In the end, make it a tradition to use traditional square dance calls from the past and inject some strong, interesting and seemingly “new” and fresh ideas into your game of entertaining in the modern arena!

Related:  The Traditional List of Square Dance Songs!

 

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 coaching 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.

Memorizing Calls & Figures For Square Dances

Methods That Will Improve a Modern Western Square Dance Caller’s Memorization Of Calls

The essence of successfully square dance calling a more involved bunch of choreography to a group of dancers often is in a memorized set of calls. By having a memorized routine you can then deliver with mental confidence and accuracy and you can even focus on your timing, directions and better enable the floor to succeed in getting through your choreography. So now the big hurtle to clear is focusing on memorizing the sequences that you want to deliver.

Visualize The Choreography Through Mental Imaging

When you want to remember a sequence, you can picture yourself dancing the calls in the square and focus on your path that you make as you move through the square as a dancer. This is a memory journey that you map out as a dancing route through the completion of the particular sequence you are memorizing. By plotting yourself a visual mental journey through the eyes of a dancer you can learn the memorization of calling sequences much more easily. This takes practice, but if you can visualize then you can draw upon that map to keep the sequence of calls in proper order. By using mental image memorization you can simply access the calls that you need when you need them.

Use Square Dance Modules

Modular calling is a method that is useful because it allows for both variety in choreography and the control of resolving the square into a recognizable “in sequence” dancing formation. By memorizing modules prior to the dance all of the dance figures and call combinations presented are given with the options that afford the caller the judgment/decision about whether to give another module or continue on with a get out to bring everything back together again.

Related:  How Square Dance Modules Work

Write Your Own Choreography

Several things happen when you write your own choreography. You must understand what the calls do, where they take the dancers in the square, and how to combine the calls in an interesting and smooth manner. This is kind of a tall order to have to fill. The upside is you can then remember what you have created much more easily than if you try to memorize and use other square dance caller’s material by rote. I find that anything that I have written myself I can much more easily recall later on at the dance because the ideas came from my own creativity. Make it easy on yourself in remembering a set of calls by creating the whole thing yourself.

Related:  Creativity With Square Dance Checkers

In The End…

Memorizing figures will enable you to add another tool to your toolbox of abilities as a square dance caller. Make it a part of your calling routine in practice and live at square dancing events. Visualization of square dance calls, writing choreography and using modules can be combined to aid you in strengthening your calling for all dances that you entertain at. If you make an effort to memorize even a little of your overall program, then you will have an arsenal that can pay off for years to come.

Have a great time calling out there! Contact me if you have a question or you need a square dance caller coach!

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 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.