66th National Square Dance Convention 2017

66th National Square Dance Convention June 21-24, 2017 Cincinnati, Ohio

66th_national_square_dance_convention_2017

The Square Dance Is On!
The National Square Dance Convention is here again in Cincinnati June 21 through June 24 in downtown Cincinnati at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

The Duke Energy Convention Center  is located at 525 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio where the venue is adjoined to the city’s Skywalk  system, providing quick and easy access.

Below is the app you will want to get to find dining, shopping, entertainment and other Cincinnati information. A notable feature on this app is you can take advantage of location services, dubbed ‘near me’ which supplies you with tons of easily accessible information on the the best Downtown Cincinnati has to offer. You can view requested features in list form or via the interactive map, making navigation very simple.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/downtown-cincinnati/id453077225

Complimentary public wireless internet is offered in the Espresso Café at the main entry of the center and in limited spots on the second and third levels. For a daily fee, wireless internet is also available in other parts of the Duke Energy Convention Center. Secure wireless connections and networking options are in place for all telecommunications for this event.


No outside food or beverages are are allowed in the Duke Energy Convention Center. Food options are available within the center. PNC Bank ATMs are available in the convention center on Level 1 at the main entrance (Fifth Street and Elm Street) and in the Fifth Street Concourse (Hall B).

Within the center there are ample choices for food samplings distributed throughout the entire facility. The majority of the food outlets are located on the main level (Level 1). Some of the food offerings are listed below:

Espresso Café (Entrance Lobby)   Coffee and pastries

Black Angus (Hall A)   Serving great tasting burgers, salads and fries

La Rosa’s Pizza (Hall A)  Serves 7 inch personal pizzas

Skyline Chili (Hall A) Chili sandwiches, deli, soup, salads

Caliente (Hall A)  Fresh Mexican cuisine, burrito bowls and nachos

Panini Bistro (Hall B)  Gourmet premium sandwiches made-to-order

Cincy Fresh (Hall C)  Classic concession fast food, hotdogs, hamburgers

Additionally, there are many great restaurants and places to dine in the downtown area and you can find more information on Cincinnati dining on this link.


The Downtown Cincinnati Parking Lot Map has more information about available parking for square dancers in the vicinity around the Duke Energy Convention Center and the downtown area. Parking garages and parking lots are located north and south of the convention center. Many lots are close and convenient to this event and there is good access to and from I-75 on 6th and 5th Streets and other major roadways from there. Elm, Vine, Walnut and Main are the principle streets north and south and street metered parking is available in the nearby downtown area. Rates vary according to different time limits and vicinity parking rates vary throughout the downtown area as well. See here.

Street Parking Rates Downtown Cincinnati


Helpful Driving Directions
How to get into downtown Cincinnati from major highways
Heading Northbound:
On I-71/75: take the Second Street exit immediately after the bridge. Turn north and drive up Elm, Vine or Main streets.  On I-471: simply take the Sixth Street exit.
Heading Southbound:
On I-71: take the Third Street exit that begins before Lytle Tunnel. Turn north and drive up Elm, Vine or Main Streets.  On I-75: take the 7th Street exit (on the right) or the 5th Street exit (on the left). Keep straight after light at the end of ramp.
Heading Eastbound:
On U.S. 50: take the Second Street exit. Turn north up Elm, Vine or Main Streets. Or exit Fifth Street.
Heading Westbound:
On U.S. 50 (Columbia Parkway): take the Third Street exit. Turn north up Elm, Vine or Main Streets. Or exit Sixth Street.

A special note on major road construction: the Third Street off-ramp from I-71 southbound will be closed for one year beginning July 20, 2016. Traffic will be detoured as follows: Gilbert to East Eighth to Sycamore to Third to I-71 South

The City of Cincinnati has a very integrated and complete bus system. For schedules and fare information go to:

http://www.go-metro.com/

For more transportation information call (513) 621-4455.


For general entrance into this national square dance event, please use the main entry facing both Elm Street and 5th Street. There is a Cincinnati Destination Kiosk available for local restaurant information and nearby local attractions. Additionally, there is shielded Skywalk access from the sides of the building. All flooring in the dance halls will be the removable hardwood that can be reused at future National Square Dance Conventions.

Housing is available at these premium downtown hotels:

Magnificent Millennium Hotel Cincinnati

Hyatt Regency

Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Hampton Inn & Suites-Cincinnati Downtown

Homewood Suites by Hilton Cincinnati-Downtown

The Westin

The Skywalk access is available from the first three hotels above and the adjacent large parking garage. All outlying hotels have rooms available, however, some are requiring a 4 day stay on reservations. Early arrivals, before Wednesday, June 21, 2017, need to advance book for those nights.


Check out the Cincinnati Zoo on 3400 Vine Street with a great variety of animals and it is one of the top zoos nationally. It has a modern and clean appearance, and is easy to park and walk. All of the exhibits offer up-close visual opportunities for the entire family.

Make a visit to see the Cincinnati Reds at the majestic Great American Ball Park with Art Center. Recognized nationally and internationally as a world-class sports venue in the heart of the the US, this venue offers great promotions, great varieties of all kinds of cuisine and drink, and all can find something great and exciting at a Red’s game. There is plenty of room to roam outside the actual game and ticket prices are available at all levels. You won’t want to miss this much fun at any other ballpark!

Smale Riverfront Park has become a renovated centerpiece of downtown Cincinnati and it offers a great variety of enjoyment along this beautiful waterfront park with an antique carousel, unique children’s playground areas, water features that provide lots of fun in beautiful weather. Connecting paths lead to other parks, fun swings and benches galore to sit upon and offer a visual escape for a few minutes or a few hours while taking in the scenic views along the Ohio Riverfront. This area has been improved a great deal from the riverfront that many knew from 10 years ago with an interactive and artful layout that is both whimsical and relaxing. It celebrates the history of downtown Cincinnati, and offers simple and outdoorsy entertainment for all ages.

The Cincinnati Art Museum holds an impressive collection primarily representing artists of both contemporary and classical art, from European painting to native American pottery. This nice sized museum has some of the best collections of American paintings in the US. who have left their historic artistic heritage to the public. Free to all, however, the parking lot is not. Try visiting here, you will be glad you did! A great variety of work representing the past two hundred plus years. Have lunch at the Terrace Café.

With the American Sign Museum you can view hundreds of signs from the past. See signs from places from your childhood in a nostalgic trip to a time long forgotten. This must-see stop is a wonderland for those who like to trace their history through a true slice of Americana. For the young and old, or just those young at heart, you’ll love this place for the historic and educational insights. Signs both big and small, those from bygone eras and so many that everyone will know. Try the guided tour!

Check out the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. This cultural and educational center is highly interesting with details about the history of slavery in the United States, worldwide, and enlightenment about the sex trade. Tons of accurate historical information with pictures, videos and descriptions all relating to graphic and realistic portrayals of the slavery and freedom movement. This is a tribute to those who overcame oppression and the content is not suitable for younger audiences. This museum is in the banks area near the river close to downtown. There are many good restaurants in the area to stop for a bite to eat.

Shopping is aplenty throughout Cincinnati. There are plenty of specialty shops, antique stores, restaurants, clothing stores, and more than 200 retail businesses all highlight the general area around downtown. Spend a little time in the downtown area and experience life in the Midwest, loaded with restaurants, local events and enjoyable modern shopping.


The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is only 13 miles away from the national convention venue.

The Dayton International Airport (DAY) is just 66 miles north of downtown Cincinnati.


Check out a local square dance club or two while you are in town, either before the convention or after! This fun-filled and family focused annual square dance festival will be fully loaded with fantastic, energetic fun, education for square dance callers and square dancers alike, plenty of things to do, entertainment for all, and, of course, the reason to go in the first place. Square dancing!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

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Square Dance Caller School: Make That Groove Groovier

Feeling like you are in a square dance caller rut? Are you caught in the same calling habits without realizing it?

What can you do about it?

Lots of things. When we as human beings slip into a rut, it is a very frustrating place to be. We want to groove, but sometimes too many  things in our lives can bear down upon us and make everything that we do less gratifying and fulfilling. This is difficult to deal with and the distraction can make what you contribute as a square dance caller – in what you can impart to others through entertaining and all the other elements that sum up to calling can bring you down.

Choreography – music – personality – these are all elements that contribute to a successful square dance and they are your responsibility as a caller. If you are losing enthusiasm, here are some great suggestions to get you refocused and turn things around for you and get your personal perspective back on track:

Meet With Other Square Dance Callers

Get together and talk to some other caller that you have met at a square dance event or you know personally and chat work for a while. Talk about anything, from casual conversation to a deeper discussion about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way. Share ideas and square dance experiences, problems you have encountered and how you might overcome a particular problem. You can discuss equipment, choreography and anything else that you want.

Attend a National Convention

One of the great things about attending the National Square Dance Convention is the opportunity that is offered through seminars that typically take place over the course of those few days that involve cooperative discussions, knowledgeable speakers, and individual opportunities to combine perspectives and issues relating to square dance calling. Attending any of these panels and learning sessions has numerous benefits, including improving your use of choreography, gaining expert knowledge and insights, networking with other square dance callers and renewing your motivation and confidence. Interrelating with new people within your field. Make opportunities to share your ideas and get immediate feedback from other credible individuals who share your vision and goals.

Attend a Caller School

Continuous training, education and exposure to new people and ideas in the activity of square dance can lead to continuous personal improvement, self motivation, and better engagement. Workshops, seminars and panels add to your skill set and competency as a professional who calls square dances on a higher capability level. Caller schools need to be a part of your improvement schedule, and guess what? They are a lot of fun to attend. Social networking, having the guidance and oversight of an experienced and supporting teacher, and reveling in the positive energy that is part of a caller school make attending well worth your while.

Work With a Caller Coach

Perhaps if you are continuously getting in a rut with your square dance calling progress and improvement, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward. Think about why you are doing this in the first place, and what you are doing it for? What is the ultimate goal that you have in mind? Make that as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s something that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action. A caller coach can help you reassess your goals and what you want to get accomplished. Further, a square dance mentor will help you achieve those goals by giving you the means and materials to push you to your next level upward and advance your ability.
Square Dance Caller School Flyer2

Upgrade Your Calling Style

And that is what is so great about enlisting someone who can teach you the right things to work on. Callers do not normally stop and ask themselves, “Does this really matter to me?” And that is a shame, because slowing down and giving yourself fewer to-do’s leaves more room in your brain and time on your schedule for various new ideas to sprout — so you have more energy to focus on the rest of your life. Keep in mind if you have someone else coaching and teaching the things that you focus on then those things will not feel like have to’s  – if you get help managing things and you upgrade your attitude toward them. You can make have to’s become want to’s. You will return to your practice and improvement recharged and ready to start. You will feel as if you have taken your calling to a new level with the help of a square dance caller trainer, and contrary to popular belief, the square dance world will not end from you taking a short break from it if you need to. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after you have recharged and learned some new square dance tricks. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I pull back and take a short break.

Ease Up On Yourself

If you are in a creative and performing rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies. Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes. Fit some square dance education slots into your calendar. Before long a little trickle of ideas and inspiration will come to you. And then it will build up with more ideas and inspiration. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas. Throw in some guidance and you are on your way. This approach is stress free and presently it may be the pace that you need to take.

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.

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

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.

Des Moines 65th National Square Dance Convention 2016 Information

65th National Square Dance Convention June 22-26, 2016 Des Moines, Iowa “Do The Iowa Scene in 2016.”

65th National Square Dance Convention Wells Fargo Arena and Des Moines Convention Center
The Iowa Events Center and Wells Fargo Arena  is located at 233 Center St, Des Moines, Iowa, The Wells Fargo Arena is adjoined to the rest of the Iowa Events Center and is very close to Downtown Des Moines through the city’s extensive Skywalk  system, providing quick and easy access. This is a first class facility with a restaurant overlooking views of the Iowa State Capital and the nearby Des Moines River.

Additionally, there are many great places to dine in the downtown area and you can find more information on Des Moines Dining on this link.

The Des Moines Skywalk and Parking Map has more information about available parking in the vicinity around the Wells Fargo Arena and the downtown area. Parking at the Iowa Events Center is located north of Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Iowa Events Center lots are the closest and most convenient, and there is good access to I-235 and other major roadways from there. Street metered parking is available in the nearby downtown area. Rates vary according to different time limits and vicinity parking restrictions apply during certain times. City and private parking garages are all near the center and rates will vary.

For information about public transportation system go to http://www.ridedart.com/

For general entrance into this national square dance event, please use the main entry facing Center Street. Additionally, there are other entries at Third, Fifth, and Crocker Street. ADA Accessible parking is available at the Iowa Events Center by entering the lot south of Crocker Street, next to Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The elevator for ADA and other transport is also located at the nearby entrance. The flooring in the halls will be the removable hardwood that can be reused at other National Square Dance Conventions.

Housing is available at the downtown hotels of Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, and Residence Inn. All outlying hotels have rooms available, however some are requiring a 4 day stay on reservations. Early arrivals, before Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016, need to book for those nights in advance.

Hotel accommodations for the square dance caller at the National Square Dance Convention are extremely booked. The Quality Inn is currently full. The overflow for Callers/Cuers is being directed to the Holiday Inn Downtown where there are still rooms available.

The Marriott, which is the convention “HQ” housing host, is blocked out at this time and might re-open to interested dancers at a later time. The 65th Square Dance Convention staff personnel and upcoming convention committee members can send in a long form to the National Committee indicating the year of your convention and General Chairman to reserve a room. Entertainers that wish to stay at the Marriott should fill out the long form and get it to the Registration Chairman.

If you are flying into the convention, the Des Moines International Airport is three miles away, southwest of the metro area. To drive to the Iowa Events Center, go south on Cowles Dr toward Fleur Drive. Turn left onto Fluer Drive towards downtown Des Moines. Turn right onto west Martin Luther King Jr Parkway. Then go a mile and a half and turn left onto SW 2nd St. Turn left onto Center Street. Proceed to Crocker Street. Turn right onto Crocker Street. Turn Left onto 5th Avenue and enter the Iowa Events Center parking lot on your right.

Greater Des Moines Visitors Bureau is a great resource for more information about available restaurants and dining in the downtown area of the largest city in the “Hawkeye State”

The flooring in the halls will be the removable hardwood that can be reused at other National Square Dance Conventions. There will be lots of great square dancing and, of course, great square dance calling at this year’s “national.”

There are many local tourist attractions in Des Moines. And of course there is the rolling hills of southern Iowa that provides fun diversion for outdoors enthusiasts like top-notch camping, fishing, hunting, boating, and guided tours available for the Iowa State Fish Hatchery and Honey Creek Resort.

Tour the award-winning Des Moines Art Center. Recognized nationally and internationally as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the Art Center holds an impressive collection primarily representing artists who have left their historic artistic heritage to the public. Try visiting Hoyt Sherman Place. Built in 1877, the facility is the first public art gallery in Des Moines which serves as a home for a distinctive collection of classic artwork representing the past two hundred years.

With the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden you can view 15,000 exotic plants in their interactive display greenhouse. Dining is available  at the Trellis Café inside.

Consider touring the historic Salisbury House, a grand 42-room mansion constructed in the 1920s. This museum contains lots of antique furnishings, books, and unique art, much from other parts of the world.

Shopping is aplenty at the Historic Valley Junction. Tons of antique shops, specialty stores, restaurants, clothing boutiques, and more than 120 retail businesses highlight this renovated railroad district. Spend a little time in the downtown area and experience the Historic East Village, loaded with restaurants, local events and enjoyable modern shopping.

For shows, try checking out the Broadway show at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. Where great Broadway shows such as “Riverdance,” “Wicked” and “Cabaret” have all honored the stage. Or watch a showcased local show at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. The entertainment facility provides at least a dozen new musicals, comedies, dramas and family shows annually.

Another great attraction is the impressive and gigantic John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. This world recognized art display is located in the heart of Downtown Des Moines.

This great annual square dance event will be loaded with energetic fun, education for both callers and dancers, entertainment for all, and, of course, dancing!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

Methods to Advance Your Square Dance Calling Ability

Since it is National Square Dance Month, I thought it seemed like a great idea to make a list of ideas that might inspire you and would improve your calling skills and allow you to sharpen your axe and head for the square dancing woodshed. The following square dance caller education tips are some great ways to implement various methods and practice habits to make your square dance calling more proficient. As with most things that require practice, a “little at a time a lot of the time” is the best recommended approach:

  • Create a schedule for practice time
  • Create a structured dance program that you can call anywhere
  • Follow that program in practice sessions daily
  • Practice in front of a mirror
  • Practice without any music
  • Practice with music
  • Practice with a metronome or drum machine
  • Practice with another caller
  • Read caller articles and ideas and choreography from local and national resources
  • Take an oral “recitation test” of your memorized choreography as quickly as you can and record it
  • Meet with a local state and national square dance caller’s association
  • Take a voice lesson or two with a vocal coach
  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Participate in local state, regional and national square dance conventions for callers
  • Set a few minutes a day for moving checkers
  • Practice square dancing in your head
  • Go to a square dance
  • Take lessons from another square dance caller to advance yourself a dance level
  • Learn a new singing call each week and tape record it
  • Practice one patter tip 3 times with 3 different hoedowns that vary musically
  • Practice sight calling “mental image”
  • Combine memorized modules and then force yourself to change the setups and get outs 3 different times
  • Attend a caller’s school or seminar
  • Have a dancer evaluate your calling
  • Try calling a tip without any music, record it and critique it (without any music)
  • Record a practice tip and critique it
  • Have a square dance caller evaluate your calling
  • Purchase a few new square dance calling releases
  • Attend a class for beginners in music at your local community college
  • Enlist a “mentor” or square dance caller coach to help you who is experienced and knowledgeable
  • Listen to other callers and take 2 important ideas/approaches and apply that to your calling
  • Recruit a square of friendly and enthusiastic dancers to allow you to practice your calling upon from time to time

I believe that anyone can learn to square dance call if they work at it. There are so many different niches in the activity, whether you are looking to call square dance parties locally, the Advanced and Challenge square dance levels, or perform on a national scale.

Call Shaun Werkele at 303-250-4735 if you have any questions, or if you need any suggestions on how to get started in learning to square dance call!

Have a great day!

 

 

 

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.

National Chain Down the Line Week!

Modern Western Square Dancing at the National Square Dance ConventionSeptember is National Square Dance Month so if you know of anyone that would be interested in the fun and social aspects of the square dance activity please invite them to partake in some square dance lessons and let the fun begin!

 

I am personally declaring Chain Down the Line as the national square dance call of the week! Chain Down the Line is a great call at the Mainstream Level to use in singing calls, particularly the slower paced ones. The men courtesy turning the ladies adds an elegant style move that falls in line with romantic love song based singing calls.

Here are a couple of original Chain Down the Line singing call choreography figures that I put together for anyone who is a square dance caller.

CALLING TIP!
Always call in your patter beforehand any unusual choreographic sequences that you would like to use in your singing calls. This will definitely allow for higher success and less stress for the dance floor!

Enjoy!

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Hands
Swing Thru
Girls Turn Around
As Couples Trade
Tag the Line Face Right
Chain Down The Line
Slide Thru
Swing Corner & Promenade

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4
DoSaDo
Swing Thru
Boys Trade
Boys Run Right
Chain Down the Line
Pass the Ocean
Recycle
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

I recommend that you call the first sequence in your patter call and cue the dancers to pass right shoulders on the Tag the Line Face Right. If they pass left shoulders, not only have they completed the call incorrectly, the Ladies will not line up to complete the Chain Down the Line.

There will be no difficulties on the second figure, it is very straight ahead and normal in the choreography.

Have a Great Day!

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 at a State Festival or National Convention!

Square Dancing at National ConventionSquare dance calling at a state festival or a national convention is a different experience for everyone, and there are all sorts of different styles of callers that perform at these functions. Your personal style should definitely come through, but you should at the same time be entertaining and interesting for the square dancers in attendance. After all, that is why they came, to have a great time. So make sure that you provide fun first – everything else will come naturally – if you are in good preparation in terms of choreography and musical material.

If you have registered for a weekend state festival or calling at the National Square Dance Convention, then you will receive a program schedule for yourself and this will lay out a time, hall location, and level for you to prepare by. This is the best time for you to take a good look at the your weaknesses and strengths in your calling ability and plan from your personal assessment. Decide what you may call as your primary choice for music, and then choose a second set of patter and singing call songs to use in case the caller before you on the program calls your primary choices for music. You cannot call the same music twice in a row for the dancing crowd, that would not be good for obvious reasons.

Further, keep in mind that the dancers may be tired or not warmed up for you if you are thinking about calling fast square dancing first thing in the morning (if you have scheduled morning slots). Work on calling according to what the dancers need most at that moment rand not to what you necessarily want to do. Take everything into perspective and you will do much better this way. Call for the dance floor and not for your own ego.

Make your choreography your most interesting and least complicated in terms of moving dancers around and the dancing length of the sequences. Use memorized sequences on your patter calling that resolve on a relatively quick get out because if something you call for some reason loses the majority of the dancers you need to get everyone moving again quickly. You will do better with the goal of having fun and letting the dancers have fun than trying to impress everyone with complicated modern square dance choreography.

Of course, you will want to take some time to listen to other national square dance callers and other top local callers that attend. You can learn from any  and ALL other callers there, and take note what they call, how they present themselves, and whether they succeeded in making their slot memorable and entertaining for the dancers. You can learn a lot from their successes and shortcomings in that short calling segment that they perform.

If you are going to call with a live band, then keep in mind that square dance calling with a band is a very different world from calling with recorded music. If you can, try to find out what styles of songs the band performs for patter calling and get a song list of singing calls that they perform live. This type of situation can make you look great or it can make your weaknesses blare out for all to see. By having a good idea of the band’s capabilities, you can better prepare yourself.

Working on your timing and knowing your choreographic material and practicing to many different styles of square dance music will help you most in being ready in working with a live band.

Overall, stay relaxed and keep it fun and you WILL get tired.

I have never called at a national convention or festival that did not wear me out by the end of it all!

Good Luck to You!

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 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.

Springfield National Square Dance Convention in 2015

Here’s some helpful information about the 64th National Square Dance Convention coming to Springfield, Massachusetts in 2015!

The National Square Dance Convention will take place June 24 – June 27, 2015 at the MassMutual Center in 2015 as a major event for the year in the state of Massachusetts. “Experience New England”

The large MassMutual Center will provide a great amount of area for all of the square dancing and entertainment with just under 100,000 total square feet and the venue is backed by quite a few local hotels that total more than 2,500 hotel rooms in Springfield and more than 1,100 downtown area accommodations within 5 minutes walking distance of the center.

The City of Springfield has a very thorough bus system. You may contact the Springfield Bus Terminal located at 1776 Main St Springfield MA 01103 at: (413) 781-3320. Of course there are taxi and other ground transportation options available.

The main parking garage is located in close range across from the center, whether you choose to use private flat parking lots, metered car street spaces, or locally managed vehicle parking garages.


Springfield Square Dance Parking
has more information about available parking in the vicinity around the MasssMutual Convention Center and the downtown area of Springfield MA.

For The 64th National Square Dance Convention events, please use the main entry located near the corner of Main Street and Falcons Way.

For general entrance into this grand square dance event, please use the MassMutual box office entry located on Falcons Way. The elevator for ADA and other transport is also located at this entrance. The flooring will be installed removeable hardwood that can be reused at other national conventions.

If you are flying in to the convention, The Bradley International Airport (BIA) is less than 19 miles north of the MassMutual Center. The Westover Metro Airport-CEF is just 10 miles away.


Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau
is a great resource for more information about available restaurants and dining in the downtown area of the “Pioneer Valley”

There will be lots of great dancing and, of course, great square dance calling at this year’s “national.” Hope to see you there with dancing shoes on! Enjoy.

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 dancing and contributing to the ongoing promotion and the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.

Square Dancing & Keeping Singing Calls Interesting

Nationally square dance callers have a tendency to get into comfortable calling sequences that they use often. The problem with this is, the singing call figures tend to be worn out and sometimes all too predictable. I work on creating different square dance calls that make the interest high so that the dancers cannot anticipate what is coming next a good amount of the time.

By calling more interesting singing call figures, this will encourage more fun and exciting dancing and in the long run this  makes all dancers on the floor stronger and better dancers by calling different variations of choreography than what they typically know or are used to.

Here is a nice sequence that has simple square dance figures for the choreography. The Tag the Line Face Right leads to a little different Wheel & Deal but that’s what makes it more interesting!

CALLING TIP! Use singing calls with music selections from modern country, jazz, and rock melodies as well as traditional tunes to provide a lot of variety at your dance!

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Pass Thru Trade By
Right and Left Thru
Veer Left
Couples Circulate
Tag the Line Face Right
Wheel & Deal
Swing Corner & Promenade

Enjoy using this with your dancers!

See you out at the 64th National Square Dance Convention June 24-27 in Springfield, Massachusetts !

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 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.

Cincinnati National Square Dance Convention in 2017

Square Dancing at Cincinnati National Square Dance Convention

 

Here’s some information about the 66th National Square Dance Convention coming to Cincinnati in 2017 on Yahoo News .

The National Square Dance Convention will take place June 21st – June 24th, 2017 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in 2017 as a major event for the year in the state of Ohio. “Cincinnati – Your 2017 Destination Vacation”

The Duke Energy Convention Center will provide a great amount of area for square dancing with 750,000 total square feet and is backed by several great hotels that total more than 3,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the center.

The City of Cincinnati has a very thorough bus system. You may contact the Metro System by calling (513) 621-4455. Of course there are taxi and other ground transportation options available.

2,500 parking spaces are located in close proximity of the center, whether you choose to use private flat parking lots, metered street spaces, or locally managed parking garages. The garages offer direct entry into the Duke Energy Convention Center via Cincinnati’s Skywalk System. Further, there are several parking lots or parking garages located around the Duke Energy Convention Center . For more details about the Duke Energy Convention Center parking systems contact these numbers:

Central Parking: (513)345-4461
Systems Parking: (513) 684-9341

The 66th National Square Dance Convention provides two ATMs in the convention center. They are both located on Level 1 near the main entrance (Fifth Street and Elm Street) and in the Fifth Street Concourse near Hall B.

If you are flying in to the convention, The Dayton International Airport (DAY) is 66 miles north of the Duke Energy Convention Center. The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport – CVG is just 13 miles away.

The Greater Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau is a great resource for more information about available restaurants and dining in the downtown area of the “Queen City”

There will be lots of dancing and, of course, square dance calling at the “national.” Hope to see you there! Enjoy the event.

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 dancing and contributing to the ongoing promotion and the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.