“Pop! Goes The Weasel!” Evolution of a Nursery Rhyme in Square Dance

“Pop! Goes The Weasel!” A Traditional Square Dance Song

I remember dancing to a fantastic traditional square dance standard in 1973 when I was in square dance classes that worked around the nursery rhyme, “Pop! Goes The Weasel!” I never gave the meaning of the lyrics of the song much thought when we were dancing, but it sure was a lot of fun because the tempo of the song would intermittently speed up and slow down adding to the physical drama of dancing the tune. Obviously, the square dance caller enjoyed presenting this piece just for the sheer unadulterated fun that it produced for the dancers in struggling to keep up with the more frantic tempos as they would rise and swell like a rogue wave rolling in on a beach. And it was dramatic fun! Great memories.

As it turns out, there is quite a bit of long and detailed history behind this catchy classic musical piece that started out as an English ditty. It also has some mystery as to its origin. The imagery that is presented by the title itself first creates a striking visual portrayal of a weasel “popping” his head up out of a hole in the ground and then once again disappearing, as these kinds of animals behave in this manner naturally. Thinking upon the meaning of “Pop! Goes the Weasel!”, the overall gist is that the short and apparent opportunity is “here today and gone tomorrow” such as a weasel disappearing from view and all of the lines in the rhyme verses end with this similar repeating thematic idea.

Due to the bouncy and fast rhythmic beat and meter that the rhyme carries, this simple English tune most likely made its start as an orally repeated word of mouth chant/tune that was passed down from several generations and not just as a rhyme that was put to music later. “Pop! Goes The Weasel!” has an uncertain origin without an author and without a starting date of creation.

But the song has a historical background and an intimate reference of the unknown original author’s (or multiple author’s) most likely personal observations or accounts of poverty, drinking, pawning, and tailoring in the 17th century in London. The one verse that shows the rhyme has both relevance of a historical place and a common social behavior is pointed out here:

Up and down the London road
In and out of the Eagle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop! Goes the weasel!

 

This verse describes a night out at a music hall and one of the earliest night pubs called the Eagle tavern, located on the corner of City Road and Shepherdess Walk in Hackney, North London. The Eagle was an old pub which was rebuilt as a music hall in 1825 and existed many years before then. For many in London this was a popular stop and diversion. But drinking at the popular tavern cost money – so one needs money to have a night on the town. “Popping” in those times meant to pawn something – pop is the British slang for this. A “weasel” was also Cockney rhyming slang which originated in London, the original derivation being “weasel and stoat,” meaning a winter coat. During those times it was quite normal for even the poor to own a suit, which they wore as their “Sunday Best.” Hocking items for a short term until money became available was a necessary manner in the times of Victorian England.

This simple nonsensical rhyme that at first appears to have no specific intention or purpose starts to come to light once it is revealed that the reason for pawnbroking is to go out on a night on the town despite poverty wages and hardship in London:

A penny for a spool of thread
A penny for a needle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop! Goes the weasel!

 

This particular rhyme verse and most of the following verses have a lot of reference to tailoring, cobbling, and hat making and the expenses that were necessary to survive in the workforce during the beginning of the apparel revolution.  Further, some of the lines in the verses indicate addictive behavior of these drunken cobblers and London hatters, part of the working class in London at the time of the seventeen hundreds. Our modern society of today would name them as drug addicts and “compulsive drunks.” And here’s the explanation.

Hatmakers worked with a highly toxic substance called mercuric nitrate, which was used in the manufacture of hats. Hatters commonly suffered from “hatter’s shakes,” a form of nerve damage which manifested its symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease. This came to be known as “Mad Hatter’s Syndrome.”  We see this similar disorder in painters who handle toxic solvents and thinners for too many years. Hatters could have been mad in either or both of the “angry” or “insane” mannerisms with aggressive tendencies and they possibly were delusional, and further, many had many behavioral problems that they had developed as a result of the occupation of hat making.

Mad hatters most certainly were crafters that dealt with attempting to maintain rationality with their condition and, as a result, were plain grumpy, in some kind of pain, and were involuntary victims through toxic chemical exposure – drug addicts as a result of their trade. They occasionally were short of funds and they pawned or “popped” their weasel – a weasel being a sewing tool used in the textile trade – so that they would be able to purchase liquor and pursue other cavorting.

Garments were created by first using a tailor’s flat iron, a “dead weasel” which was a hatter’s tool, a spinner’s wheel used for measuring in spinning yarn. A part of the sewing, or weaving, trade, this tool counted the amount of yarn that had been spun, essential in the process of the manufacture of many linens and other clothing, such as a coat for which the weasel was used to spin. Using a weasel allowed the spinning craftsman to not have to count the revolutions of the wheel. Forty revolutions and the machine would make a loud popping sound. This was some early automated industrial technology, indeed.

Round and round the cobbler’s bench
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey thought ’twas all in fun
Pop! Goes the weasel!

 

The overall explanation of the meaning of “Pop! Goes the Weasel!” is a logical and well supported account. But there seems to be more to this song than that. The above verse has the lyricist describing the fight between temptations  of drinking and chasing after playhouse girls soliciting sex – of lamenting over too little time at the work bench and too much time and money out and about carousing. This set of verse continues about the matter in the verse below:

Every night when I go out
The monkey’s on the table
Take a stick and knock it off
Pop! Goes the weasel!

 

This verse is a bit more obscure than the first two – a “monkey” is slang for a playhouse girl or a prostitute. All of the verses that involve the word monkey are verses referring to prostitution. The monkey is on the table, possibly meaning the street where street walkers solicited their business. “Knocking off a stick” was also old London slang for having sex or seducing someone. All of the verses that deal with the monkey are referring to cavorting in Victorian London. This person wants to go out and have a “grand old time.” And that will take some money, so  it will require that the hatter/tailor/weaver put his trade at risk when he pawns his occupational tools for habitual alcohol and sex! Pawn that spinning wheel!  “Pop! Goes the Weasel!”

Half a pound of tuppenny rice
Half a pound of treacle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop! goes the weasel!

 

This commonly is one of the first verses recited in the rhyme. It describes some of the ingredients to make inexpensive meals from food available during this time.  Rice and treacle – a syrup used in all sorts of foods including rice pudding – would have been a popular and much less costly dish to prepare for the poor that lived outside the walls of London and many of these working class Londoners would have worked in the textile industry. The point is, if you were a tailor, a hatter, or cobbler and you have no money, you most likely needed to stretch your dollar on your food budget and you might even be pawning something to make it through the week. So “pop” goes the weasel!

I’ve no time to plead and pine
I’ve no time to wheedle
Kiss me quick and then I’m gone
Pop! Goes the weasel!

 

All of these lyrics in this rhyming ditty circulated quickly throughout Victorian London. I believe this song was so popular for several reasons.

First, the melody and the fast and driving up-beat tempo were very catchy. This is one of those melodies that can repeat in one’s head over and over like a stuck phonograph record.

Second, the subject content dealt with drinking and cavorting. Amazingly, people enjoy talking about these kinds of subjects because they border on the “taboo” of society. Talking about, singing about, and of course doing these activities were a grand escape for many in this harsh industrial environment at this time. These activities removed many workers from the reality of slaving away at the textile mills in nearby London in the late sixteen and seventeen hundreds and all could associate with that, and, indeed, many would hang out at the local pub.

Third, the act of pawning was something that was commonplace in London with the existence of “pop” shops that were also based there. Many could fully relate to pawning, cavorting, drinking. These activities were part of life in the seventeen hundreds and eighteen hundreds in London.

Ultimately, the deep message within this infectious ditty is that a fun night on the town is well worth a week of low wages, schlocky cuisine and miserable living conditions. In short, it was how many dealt with their working class reality.

Other lyrics were devised over time that gained currency in the sweat shop textile industry conditions in old working class London:

My mother taught me how to sew
And how to thread the needle
Every time my finger slips
Pop! goes the weasel!

You may try to sew and sew
And never make something regal
So roll it up and let it go
Pop! goes the weasel!

 

The first recognized written announcement of this gingerly paced dance tune was in 1850, once it had migrated to the United States, and the article was entitled “Pop Goes the Weasel for Fun and Frolic.” The publication referred to this as an “Old English dance lately revived” and there were quite a few articles both in the United States nationally, as well in Great Britain and its provinces, that indicate this song was hugely popular in the 1850’s on a very large social scale.

This new “country dance” was even formally endorsed by Queen Victoria herself according to an English advertisement in 1854. The thing about this song is the only lyrics that were published in the music was the “Pop! Goes the Weasel!” line. There were no words initially printed because the song was obviously a bit risque, and since the lyrics were at least a hundred years old and people simply did not understand the Cockney rhyming slang that was in the lyrics, they were left off.

And without published lyrics, then this led to more creation of new verses in the “New World.” This English song and its melody became widely accepted in America as a party style song as well as a popular fiddle tune, and was even performed in the minstrel shows.

“Pop! Goes the Weasel!” as a song was a means by which many virtuoso and country fiddlers used to display their skill on the instrument. American fiddlers in the South in during the mid-nineteenth century and on through a great amount of the early 1900’s played the piece as a trick music piece to showcase their playing at contests. It was well established to start the song with the violin held in a normal playing position and then upon reaching the word ‘Pop’ in the tune to pluck the E string and shift the violin to a radically different position quickly (such as behind the back or above the head) and without difficulty in perfect timing with the meter of the music. The objective was to put on a visual performance that would bring out the loudest applause from the spectators. Early music stars!

The tune was very popular during the American Civil War in both the blue and grey camps and in the years after the war toward the late eighteen hundreds it had evolved into a children’s rhyming game similar to musical chairs by the beginning of the twentieth century.

In America, the words were changed and altered (some of the American people out there misunderstood the original lyrics and the original meaning became diluted). Here are some of the most popular verses that emerged once the song’s meaning of the weasel became more widely known nationally as the small animal that burrowed in the ground. The song became a dancing and musical sensation and it continued to grow:

All around the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey stopped to pull up his sock
Pop! goes the weasel!

All around the chicken coop
The possum chased the weasel
And after him in double haste
Pop! goes the weasel!

Jimmy’s got the whooping cough
And Timmy’s got the measles
That’s the way the story goes
Pop! goes the weasel!

My son and I went to the fair
We saw a lot of people
We spent a lot of money there
Pop! goes the weasel!

 

Indeed, “Pop! Goes the Weasel”! became a popular dance at parties as well as a nursery rhyme and children’s game as years passed. The changed meaning and added lyrics of the 6/8 jig became a very popular traditional square dance as well. Many people did not know of the deep origin of the meaning of the song. But it did not matter any longer.

Related:  Essential List Of Traditional Square Dance Music

Traditional square dance embraced the song because of the quick tempo and its catchy melody. The following is one of the most frequently used traditional set of calls and this square dance version has lasted throughout the years of traditional dance:

Pop! Goes the Weasel! (Square Dance Calls)

Opening/Introduction:

Allemande Left with the Corners all
Grand Right and Left go round the hall
Meet Your Partner and Promenade
Give her a glass of lemonade
Promenade Eight ’til you get straight
Pop! Goes the Weasel!

First Main Figure:

The First ol’ Lady Out to the Right
And don’t you dare to blunder
You Circle Three Hands round and round
And Pop the Lady under
The Lady Moves on, the Gent Goes Right
You Circle round like thunder
Double Three Hands round and round
Pop Them Both on under

Then She Goes On, the Gent Goes On
Now is it any wonder?
That after Double Three Hands Round
You Pop them Both on under
The Lady Comes Back, the Gent Goes On
It’s more than easy, it’s easier
Circle Four Hands round and round
Pop Them Both on under

Second Break Figure:

Allemande Left with the Corners all
Grand Right and Left go round the hall
Meet Your Partner and Promenade
Give her a glass of lemonade
Promenade Eight ’til you get straight
Pop! Goes the Weasel!

Second Main Figure:

The Second ol’ Lady Out to the Right
And don’t you dare to blunder
You Circle Three Hands round and round
And Pop the Lady under
The Lady Moves on, the Gent Goes Right
You Circle round like thunder
Double Three Hands round and round
Pop Them Both on under

Then She Goes On, the Gent Goes On
Now is it any wonder?
That after Double Three Hands Round
You Pop them Both on under
The Lady Comes Back, the Gent Goes On
It’s more than easy, it’s easier
Circle Four Hands round and round
Pop Them Both on under

Third Break Figure:

Allemande Left with the Corners all
Grand Right and Left go round the hall
Meet Your Partner and Promenade
Give her a glass of lemonade
Promenade Eight ’til you get straight
Pop! Goes the Weasel!

Third Main Figure:

The Third ol’ Lady Out to the Right
And don’t you dare to blunder
You Circle Three Hands round and round
And Pop the Lady under
The Lady Moves on, the Gent Goes Right
You Circle round like thunder
Double Three Hands round and round
Pop Them Both on under

Then She Goes On, the Gent Goes On
Now is it any wonder?
That after Double Three Hands Round
You Pop them Both on under
The Lady Comes Back, the Gent Goes On
It’s more than easy, it’s easier
Circle Four Hands round and round
Pop Them Both on under

Fourth Break Figure:

Allemande Left with the Corners all
Grand Right and Left go round the hall
Meet Your Partner and Promenade
Give her a glass of lemonade
Promenade Eight ’til you get straight
Pop! Goes the Weasel!

Fourth Main Figure:

The Fourth ol’ Lady Out to the Right
And don’t you dare to blunder
You Circle Three Hands round and round
And Pop the Lady under
The Lady Moves on, the Gent Goes Right
You Circle round like thunder
Double Three Hands round and round
Pop Them Both on under

Then She Goes On, the Gent Goes On
Now is it any wonder?
That after Double Three Hands Round
You Pop them Both on under
The Lady Comes Back, the Gent Goes On
It’s more than easy, it’s easier
Circle Four Hands round and round
Pop Them Both on under

Breakdown of Calls

Here is a short description of the mechanics of the choreography in the singing call which is repeated four times. Each of the four sequences are color coded to see the beginning and end of each break. The Break Figures do not change the sequence of dancers and interrupt the rotational Main Figures.

Related:  Mechanics of Square Dancing Singing Calls

Break Figure:

Everyone does an Allemande Left with their Corner, then execute a Right and Left Grand. When they meet their Partner, all Promenade home. This is a prequel to each of the four repeated Main Figures each time.

Main Figure:

Couple One Lady Leads out to the Right, joins hands with Couple Number Two and “Circle up 3” clockwise once around and a half more. Lady One now is looking toward Couple Two.

Couple Two raises their inside hands and they make an arch and Lady One ducks through the arch, releases hands and walks to the Right and Faces Couple Three where the “Circle up 3” clockwise once around and a half is executed once more. Lady One now has her back to Couple Three.

At the same time, Gentleman number One will Lead out to the right and Circle Up 3 with Couple Two clockwise once and a half. Both Couples Two and Three make an arch and Lady One ducks through the arch, releases hands and walks to the Right and Faces Couple Four as Gentleman One dives through his arch and faces Couple Three.

Lady One facing Couple Four and Gentleman One facing Couple Three will each Circle 3 around once and a half, the couples each make an arch, and Lady One will step through 2 steps and Turn Around and wait for Gentleman One to duck through his arch with Couple Three and walk out to face couple Four. Then Lady one will step forward to the right and join her Partner facing Couple Four.

Couples One and Four, facing, will Circle up 4 Once and a Half  clockwise. Couple Four will make an arch and Couple One will duck through the arch and go back to their home position, Gentleman One backing up slightly as Lady One walks while turning to face the center of the set to end in a perfectly squared fashion at the Home position.

All dancers repeat the movements for the other three Main Figures, but changing the Active persons with Sequence 2, 3 and 4, respectively in order of the Couples 2,3, and 4.

It’s a Wrap!

Of all four above sequences comprised, which are almost the same each in choreography, although other dancers will take turns being the active couples, they all rely on very basic calls that can be taught easily and quickly. Using the Circle Up 3 and Circle Up 4 makes the dance a little more whirl in motion and nice fun, and the song makes for great interaction for dancers of all ages. Try this as a sing-along with everyone singing the “weasel tag.”

Related: Singalong Pointers For The Square Dance Caller

Everyone can relate to this old tune that is a nursery rhyme set to an up-tempo beat in a square dance setting. It was a great match then and it still is today.

Fun and enjoyment is the very essence of “Pop Goes The Weasel.” Consider giving it a try when you call a square dance party. Take everyone back in time through a classic square dance song.

 

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.

 

 

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~Beckoning Challenge Program Of Modern Square Dancing~

Challenge Square Dancing – A Special Niche

Challenge square dancing is a lot of fun and it is different than traditional square dance and even modern square dance style dancing. It is a small, specialized interest in the square dance activity.  The entire central point of this more specialized group of dancers (that are found in not large numbers) is to successfully complete the square dance calls at this much, much higher level of difficulty.

But the dancing is not focused in the sense of participating in a competitive situation that encourages fighting or to ultimately decide which dancers are superior in terms of their ability or proficiency. Rather, the focus is on cooperation in the execution of more mentally challenging choreography than what is the normal degree of difficulty in square dance.

Watch and see…you will be amazed at the complexity that this niche of modern square dance can offer and how involved and tightly knit the interaction is between the dancers!

How It Works-

In modern western square dance the choreography is based upon learning a dancing vocabulary starting with “Circle Left” and plateauing for most people at less than a hundred calls, commonly referred to as the Mainstream program of square dance. The dancers in this square dance video are able to dance nearly a thousand calls and much more than that!

Concepts, variations of calls, and square dance formations that are much more uncommon than anyone would first realize are used by the caller to provide high interest and present difficult “dancing puzzles” that need to be solved.

There are absolutely no memorized traffic patterns for their feet to shuffle, rather the task of the square dance caller is to combine the calls together in an involved and challenging delivery that the dancers respond to as a team of eight persons in “real time.” What is intriguing is the dancers all know and are quite familiar with the basic mechanics of the square dance calls, they mostly have never heard any of the choreographic sequences of the calls assembled in these particular routines before. And they particularly did not know what was going to be called next.

 

Challenge Square Dancing Groups and Gatherings

Challenge Clubs

All Challenge level dancing meets weekly in groups that are socially joined a bit differently than the typical square dance club. For clubs at lower levels there is more interaction between the local clubs because there are more clubs and usually more dancers in those Mainstream and PLUS clubs to interact socially.

For this reason there are fewer dancers and callers at the higher levels of square dancing, therefore, there are only a few areas in the country that have Challenge level clubs with a high level choreographic program and with a capable caller getting together on a weekly basis.

Advanced and Challenge Tape Groups

Dancers sometimes form a small group that will meet regularly to dance and learn higher levels to pre-recorded live square dance Challenge level dancing. These are private and often small social groups that meet weekly to hone their dancing skills and focus on increasing their proficiency at the hihger levels of modern square dance.

Local and Regional Dances

It is common to see local Advanced and Challenge clubs to offer and promote hihger level events suited for dancers within this niche. These are organized with the goal to support Challenge dancing and to bring together more dancers on a special basis with a special square dance caller who will draw interest for all who attend the event.
Generally, state square dance festivals and regional special dances centered on Mainstream dancing offer a limited Advanced program, and Challenge dancing is almost never seen at these kinds of events. These often feature callers from other areas than the dancers normally dance to.

National Challenge Events

At all National Square Dance Conventions and most large festivals there is Challenge dancing on the program, however, most of the calling and dancing is only at the C-1 level.

National, International & World Events

The best and highest attended Challenge event is the entirely Challenge level programmed weekend for all levels of dancing at the Academy for Advanced and Challenge Enthusiasts (AACE). Assembled for Challenge dancers annually, this event emphasizes programs with dedicated dancing sessions for all levels of Challenge – C-1 – C-2 – C-3A – C-3B – C-4. The event accommodates some A-2 dancing on the program as well.

The larger overall dance event, the National Square Dance Convention, provides a program for Challenge and all of the levels of Challenge are danced within one hall that houses rotating levels throughout the day’s program.

The International PLUS – Advanced – Challenge Convention (IPAC) hosted in Europe is programmed for multi-level high level square dancing. The event happens every other year and is well attended.

The International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs (IAGSDC) offers a full program of Challenge dancing at their festivals and conventions and many local gay clubs dance several levels within their program.

 

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.

 

 

Square Dance Calling: How to Engage

Create a Festive and Positive Environment at the Square Dances that You Call

If you want to be well remembered and really get the square dancers at your event engaged, you need to make your square dance calling presentation fun and enjoyable. Without coming off as old-fashioned, corny and, even worse, not projecting a sense of trying too hard and appearing overly eager to please your group of dancers., being dynamic and engaging could take a little work on your behalf. And if you follow some simple guidelines, then you will do a lot better!

A good performance at a dance or event lacks getting stressed out. This leads to an end result of failing to perform all that well. Luckily, calling a great square dance is something that can be practiced and perfected. Focusing on being interesting is a great start, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun night to your square dance crowd.

Start Off Right

At the beginning of the night, you are new to the entire square dance club. There is little rapport, no trust in your ability as you have not called yet, and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the dancers that have come know you personally, the style of your calling will be a little foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the dance floor right at the beginning. The first tip is all about connecting and feeling the dancers out on their abilities and strengths in terms of choreography. You want to engage, it doesn’t matter what you particularly do, you just need to connect with everyone on a warm and personal level. Laughter, calling a fun little quip on a Flutterwheel, whatever you can do to get all of the dancers out of that initial feeling of indifference with you. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers to start a night’s dance, but generally speaking, the most successful callers utilize one of these tactics:

  • Surprise the entire dance floor
  • Provide a few simple yet unexpected square dance get outs
  • Drop a bombastic statement after squaring up the dancers
  • Say an interesting and fun anecdote
  • Tell a short joke
  • Open up with a short childhood story that has a humorous ending
  • Quote a famous person and elaborate on it from some personal experience
  • Use an interesting or inspirational bit of nostalgia
  • Mention something significant about a recent sports team or recent social event

Just remember if you use an engaging tactic that you need to keep whatever you do short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction. Strive to keep things light and consistent. Famous speakers throughout all of history have known the importance of keeping their words short and simple and in projecting well thought out sentences packed with focused meaning. To be effective, you must not meander or carry on for too long and lose the attention of the dancers. They came to dance! Allow them to do so, and on a grand scale!

Build a Choreographic Program

Ease the dancers into more involved square dance choreography by focusing on building upon modules that you can combine and then make those more involved. Important choreographic ideas need to be presented with a constant and smooth presentation throughout the night’s program. Once you’re done warming up the crowd with the initial first tip, you can ease them into important choreographic ideas that you will be presenting. This begins with tip number two. Keep the same consistent presentation style in your calling all night. You need to have a specific structure that you won’t deviate from too much at any given point. Everything will go easier if you just keep things interesting and engaging and efficiently creating an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone present is key.

Focus On Excitement

From an entertaining viewpoint, if you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there throughout the entire evening. A good game plan consists of several important singing calls that need to be performed well. This means working up a few singing calls that you are able to engage well with and perform well in terms of singing and entertaining.

Avoid Lengthy Announcements

With the club announcements there is a strong tendency to lose the audience fairly quickly, and after 3-4 minutes it certainly can become a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting or standing and listening to lengthy talk, some of the items will become watered down and the core details will leave the dancers in the audience with little information to take away from the whole announcement time. To avoid rambling, direct all dancers to the flyers displayed on the tables nearby for more complete details on upcoming dance events and let everyone get back to dancing. Truth is, if your flyer is good, then they will see it and want to attend your future dance.

Create a strong structure for your program. Start with the ice breaker, introduce basic and simple choreography concepts at the beginning, elaborate on lesser used various choreographic ideas (like some ideas from the Circulate and Tag the Line families of calls) add interesting and fresh combinations of those ideas, use those ideas in singing call choreographic figures, and leave your dancers at the end of the night with a positive and “good feeling” takeaway message. Ideally, everything you call needs to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are reading an exciting novel chapter by chapter.

Related:  Singing Call Choreography

Use Short and Effective Square Dance Modules

Sometimes you will lose the dancers somewhat in more involved choreography, calls that are used less, and more creative and different abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel everyone back in by calling some good, old-fashioned and simple, basic choreography. Incorporate a sing-along singing call that engages everyone and eases any tension that might have crept into the air from too much difficult choreography.

Make short choreographic sequences that are easier to resolve to the corner and most people are more than familiar with. By making choreography look simpler, not only will you help your dancers get a better understanding of the dance calls by enabling them to visualize the figures more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you and them.

Related:  Square Dance Choreography Methods with Dancers

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation of square dance calling, one that is both memorable and fun. It takes a lot of work and practice. And dedication.

Be sure to work on your square dance calling skills daily and feel free to call me at any time. I will be glad to help!

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.

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

Modern Western Square Dance: What Really is Traditional?

In the midst of the proliferation of modern western square dancing starting in the late 1940’s there became a point at which everything changed dramatically. Many call this change the Chicken Plucker revolution and the growth in the activity was phenomenally huge. At one point there were at least 6 million square dancers in the activity and many countless persons who were exposed to square dance at parties or viewing square dance on television or in the media back in the heyday.

Square dance callers realized nationally that choreographic sequences which were used at square dance parties (one-night stands) could and should be expanded to include variations and creative and different approaches. Over time, it became apparent that major changes in choreography, musical content, and calling styles were progressing with new groups that bred a more sophisticated way of enjoying this popular dance form.

Even the need for square dance caller training became quite apparent by this time. Square dancing needed to become more stabilized and standardized, and so it did. Dancing levels were established and variations in formations and traffic patterns and methods of calling a square dance came to light.

Because of this period of extreme growth, callers began to exchange ideas and improvise new figures and spontaneity was intermingled with memorized sets of commands that ultimately led to more intermingling. Sophistication. Dancers moved more simultaneously. Square dance had made tremendous strides in less than 30 year’s time!

Musically, all of the songs evolved right along with all other forms of music as everything in our society progressed and grew. This was a much simpler time when the days seemed to be much more carefree and endless. Square dancing was a great fit for this period in the American culture, where people, honestly, just got together to enjoy one another in company in a friendly social setting without discussing political viewpoints.

At the end of the day, more than anything else, square dancing has always been about people dancing and socializing in an atmosphere of music and experiencing fun together. Within America developed a unique social dance from the root of centuries-old European folk and formal dance and evolved into an international activity that is enjoyed in many parts of the world. Square Dance has grown and developed over time in order to fit the needs of the dancers. The changes within this changing dance art form tell a fascinating story with a rich heritage which also directs the light to a bright future.

All based upon people enjoying the company of others.

To learn about the advantages that the square dance activity has to offer, check into attending a square dance class in your area. There are traditional square dance and modern western square dance groups in your neck of the woods and you can indulge into something that is socially gratifying and musically delightful!

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 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.

7 Original Choreography Get Outs For Modern Square Dance Callers

Sometimes square dance callers need outside stimuli to inspire them to write and create new and outside ideas when it comes to innovating new choreographic ideas. Additionally, using choreographic checkers or revamping old ideas are great ways to create choreography, however, the critical bedrock of knowing what all the dancers will enjoy most is the most basic and common ground to work from. As long as we know and keep focused on this approach, then all choreography at all dances will be stronger, more interesting, and better for the activity on a broader scope both nationally and universally!

Here are seven original and unique Mainstream square dance choreography get outs that resolve any module that starts either from the classic Box 1-4 or 1p2p (zero) Line bringing the square to the corner with an Allemande Left or to the partner for a Right and Left Grand. The fourth get out module ends with a surprise Promenade back Home. Utilize these original Mainstream level ideas in your program for some highly compelling ideas for square dance:

1p-2p Lines:
Pass the Ocean
Swing Thru
Girls Trade
Right and Left Grand

Box 1-4:
Touch a Quarter
Girls Run
Reverse Flutterwheel
Sweep a Quarter
Pass Thru
Right and Left Grand

1p-2p Lines:
Right and Left Thru
Flutterwheel
Pass the Ocean
Boys Cross Fold
Pass Thru
Allemande Left

1p-2p Lines:
Pass Thru
Wheel and Deal
Centers Left Touch a Quarter
Same 4 Walk & Dodge
Same 4 Wheel Around
Same 4 Lead Left
Veer Right
Promenade Home

1p-2p Lines:
Center 4 Only Left Hand Star
Everyone Right and Left Grand

1p-2p Lines:
Pass Thru
Tag the Line Face Out
Centers Run
New Centers Allemande Left
Everybody Right and Left Grand

Feel free to call me at anytime you might have a question, I will be there for you 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 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.

Original Plus Level Singing Call Figures Using Diamond Formations

Who does not love a diamond, the most precious and bedazzling gemstone of all? Of all modern western square dance calls on the PLUS dance list, Diamonds probably are the most fun. The concept of Diamond Circulate is an easy one to grasp, yet it can lead to many unique and engaging snips of interesting choreography.

Following is a trio of neat PLUS level singing call figures that implement Diamond Circulate. The one common denominator that two of these figures have is the Boys Hinge to set the Diamond Formation up. The second figure uses a Flip the Diamond with the Boys “Flipping” to the center of Parallel Ocean Waves. This is followed up with a Swing Thru. I recommend that all square dance callers expose this combination of calls to the dance floor before you use the figure in a singing call as this is not a “plain vanilla” combination for most dancers. Fun and different PLUS square dance calling!

 

CALLING TIP! Keep all of your square dance choreography to your email or scan and store them in Onedrive or Dropbox to make convenient access when you are traveling. This makes this resource more accessible for you!

 

Heads (Sides) Touch a Quarter &
Boys Run
Square Thru 2 Hands
Partner Trade
Dixie Style to Wave
Boys Hinge
Girls Turn Back
Diamond Circulate
Girls Cast Right Three Quarters
Boys Fold
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

 

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Step to Wave
Girls Run
Boys Hinge
Diamond Circulate
Flip the Diamond
Swing Thru
Recycle
Swing Thru
Boys Trade
Girls Turn Back & Promenade Home

 

Heads (Sides) Lead Right
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Girls Cast Right Three Quarters
Diamond Circulate
Flip the Diamond
Girls Trade
Explode the Wave
Partner Trade & Roll
Turn Thru
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

 

For more PLUS level square dance singing call figures go to https://shaunwerkelesquaredancecalleraugustrecords.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/square-dance-calling-chasing-down-plus-level-singing-call-figures/

Square dancing allows many persons of all ages to meet and make new friends within a social environment that is safe, festive and musical.

Now is the time to check into square dance lessons for any and all that you know. September is National Square Dance Month and traditionally this is the time to join up with others in a square dance class.

Make contact with a square dance club where the fun commences with the very first night and it is a wonderful way to create a social exchange with others. There are even local special dances and regional festivals and national square dance events, such as the annual National Square Dance Convention !

This fall season make some new friends and enjoy all that square dancing offers.

Check out an activity that allows you to put aside the stress and pressures of today’s often too fast-paced world.

If you are interested in getting into square dancing and you are interested in finding out more, call me for more information!

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 coaching 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.

Progressive Mainstream Singing Call Figures: All Eight Circulate

Advocate for some progress as a modern square dance caller who is expected to entertain your square dance! And make it a high priority to better connect your square dancers with vibrant progressive singing call figures! For a basic outlook on square dance calling, nationally most square dance callers have a tendency to get too comfortable calling the same sequences every time they call. This can create a repetitive problem if you only call locally, the dance program of singing call figures will sag in fresh and original ideas and the choreography can be all too predictable.

There has never been a better time to change things up with a new singing call sequence or two to make the interest high so that the dancers cannot anticipate what is coming next and it provides opportunities to spring new and creative ideas in choreography on all.

Here are four All Eight Circulate sequences that are not all that hard but since All Eight Circulate is not called nearly enough this is a great set of calls to incorporate into a singing call:

CALLING TIP! Hoedown calls offer the opportunity to introduce new and creative ideas in choreography for the dancers. Use this to chance to level the dance floor to the same plateau and strengthen dancers of all abilities at your dance!

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Hands
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Couples Circulate
Wheel & Deal
DoSaDo to an Ocean Wave
All 8 Circulate
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Hands
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Couples Circulate
Chain Down the Line
Pass the Ocean
All 8 Circulate
Swing Corner & Promenade

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Touch a Quarter
Those Boys Run
Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Single Hinge Girls Trade
All 8 Circulate
Swing Corner & Promenade

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Touch a Quarter
Those Boys Run
Right & Left Thru
Square Thru 2 Hands
Partner Trade
Pass the Ocean
All 8 Circulate
Swing Corner & Promenade

Enjoy using this with your square dancers!

 

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.

Effective Goal Strategies For Square Dance Callers

Square Dance Calling: Make The Most Of Your Goals!

One strong focus for square dance callers to develop their abilities is to look for opportunities to improve within their personal boundaries of proficiency at various square dance events, whether that dance is a club based one, or a nationally recognized event.  Improving in your calling takes a deep commitment and much research with hours 0f practice in many different areas and working with an experienced square dance caller teacher is essential to becoming a successful caller.

Informational posts such as in this square dance resource that have been written very recently will set an understanding and a foundation for calling. In order to develop your own improvement on a personal level consider asking yourself this set of questions that will enable you to analyze your strengths and weaknesses as an entertainer and instructor in square dance:

  • How would you describe your square dance calling progress?
  • What are the most important skills you’ve learned so far?
  • What have been your most notable calling experiences?
  • What is your favorite part of calling? Your least favorite?
  • What is the one future task or type of project you would like to do more frequently in the square dance activity?
  • What do you perceive as being something you do really well when you call?
  • What are you recognized or complimented for most often?
  • What are your unique talents and capabilities?
  • Which of your successes in square dance are you most proud?
  • For what do most dancers come to you for help?

Below is a working goal outline that I have composed for modern western square dance callers because not having goals in place will make you stagnate and leaves you without a plan for improvement:

Set Achievable Goals For Yourself.

Realistic and effective goals push you to achieve greatness and also remain possible in terms of expectations. As you begin to create achievable goals for improving your square dance calling, you will begin to understand the value that this can provide both short term and long term. Achievable goals need to (be):

Begin:

  • Define your precise goal with a desirable outcome.
  • Set a goal plan that includes enough detail to be entirely effective. Make sure that it is simple and easy enough for success to occur. This can be as simple as you wish, or as involved as you can handle realistically. Which brings us to being…

Realistic:

  • Include a description of your expected result or behavior.
  • Upon accomplishment make an ending that you can see with tangible evidence of completion before you even start.
  • Evidence of your goal achievement must allow for your own objective evaluation of its quality.
  • Could other callers and dancers easily see the results of completing the goal? You will need a subjective opinion and evaluation to surmise the end result that you want.

Focused:

  • Always set goals that describe a set schedule that is focused on what you want to accomplish. There should be a clear path to the your strategy, your goals and all of your objectives. By doing this you will be optimally focused on a particular area, whether that is choreography, music, teaching, or any other specialized area in modern square dance.
  • Support for any goal, including square dance calling, needs to be available and accessible. Mentoring and coaching helps to create a focused and effective answer to your expectations.

Attainment:

  • As stated in the Focused attribute, your goals should not be too grand or too small, but they should be challenging and push you to improve. Look at what it will take to achieve your end result as a caller and how that will affect square dancing as a bigger picture.
  • Gather any knowledge and skills required to move your abilities forward and ask yourself whether you will need support from a coach or mentor? Make certain that you will have sufficient resources and time given everything you are honed upon doing. If your goal is too lofty, you may not be able to achieve it.
  • Conversely, ensure that your goal is going to be sufficiently challenging. Keep in mind that more simple goals are easier to attain and usually take less time to reach.

Scheduling:

  • Set a specific date by which you expect to succeed in your achievement.
  • Is there a short term accomplishment that leads to a larger and more complete goal? Create a detailed breakdown in order to make that happen. Ensure the timeframe you encapsulate for  your calling goal coincides with the performance period for which you are planning to make your goal a success.
  • Ask yourself if your time schedule for your goal is realistic and will it be attainable within the amount of time you had in mind? You might have to adjust this to allow for a longer timespan to accomplish your goal. For example, if you wanted to learn how to call Advanced level square dancing, then you would have to learn to dance the choreography first, then continue on with learning to call at that level. This goal would take a while to accomplish, so you would need to schedule this end result out for about a year or two.

Education Schooling and Coaching:

  • If continued development is a priority for you, search for experienced callers that have a strong focus on effective improvement and provide the opportunity to let you grow within your square dance calling abilities. Attending a square dance caller school is a great way to establish your goals and recognize your weaknesses – and put together a working plan to succeed.
  • A square dance calling coach will provide information and a plan regarding their focus on your development – you can also get feedback and direction that allows you to succeed!

 

Call with any question you might have regarding square dance calling, I would be glad to help you!

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.

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.