6 Keys to Becoming a Master of Square Dance Calling

Six Ways to Achieve Square Dance Calling Proficiency

I believe there would be little argument that there is a right way to learn something and there is a wrong way. If you strive to be more accomplished and successful then what do you focus on?  Actually, that is not audaciously ambitious enough — want to be the very best? Who doesn’t?

So here is the best advice I can give any modern western square dance caller. Many have said that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything, but truthfully, if you align your practice and learning with the way your brain is naturally wired to learn, combine that with some good sense, then you can be more proficient in your learning and improvement approach. The time you spend is crucial, yet you can get to square dance mastery faster — much faster — by practicing the correct and effective way. You can accomplish this by following these seven steps:

1) Push Yourself Outside of Your Comfort Zone

It has been proven that everyone learns best when they are pushing their limits. Stretching your abilities and boundaries of difficulty is a key component to maximizing your learning threshold. Step outside of your comfort zone. Make it hard. When a person struggles with something is when advancement will happen. When you struggle, this is when you will see more improvement. The more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the faster you can improve and learn anything.

Strive to spend a very high quality ten minutes practicing a new choreography figure than practicing a mediocre overused figure. By doing this, you learn something new that is more on the edge of your ability, and now you have added to your arsenal a new and more interesting choreographic sequence for your dance group. You want to practice your calling where you are on the edge of your capability and you make mistakes, failing in your timing and presentation, and then realizing those mistakes and correcting them.

More on the best way for you to practice here.

https://shaunwerkelesquaredancecalleraugustrecords.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/modern-square-dance-calling-how-to-practice-efficiently/

2) Maximize Your Uncomfortable Success Rate

You want to be successful only 60 to 80 percent of the time when training to be a better caller. That’s a maximized sweet spot for improvement in almost anything.
This is why and what typically happens:

When learning is too hard, many will quit. When something is too easy….then we often quit then, too.

Because of this paradigm, always strive to stay in that 60 to 80 percent zone. Make it a challenge. If you learn too little and everything you learn is too easy, then you definitely are not pushing your capabilities. If you are not succeeding much then change things by easing up a little bit because flailing is not good, either.  Are you succeeding 90 percent of the time? That’s too easy. You want to constantly be pushing, all the while adjusting the environment for improvement so that you’re succeeding 60 to 80 percent of the time.

One quick thing about practice. Do not ever overpractice. You will harm your vocal chords and then you will have to rest them for a while, perhaps as long as a month to 2 months, if you strain your voice. Just make sure that you are consistently pushing other elements of the square dance calling craft that you can improve on without overdriving your vocal chords, like studying choreography. Which brings us to the next guideline for mastery.

3) Set Time For Study Then Followed By Effective Execution

Think about improving as a pie cut into thirds. Cut a third of a piece for studying and learning choreography. The other two-thirds of your pie is the time you want to be actually calling. Practicing. Pushing yourself.

So get your focus on two-thirds practice time. Study only what you need to. Whatever it is you want to learn for the week,reach for being the best at it, be doing it. The closer your practice is to the real thing, calling at an actual dance , the faster you learn to master square dance calling. Your improvement will evolve by doing things like focused and hard practice, not by hearing, reading or talking about how to call.

It’s much better to spend about two thirds of your time analyzing and testing yourself in a practice session rather than spending lots of time absorbing and studying . Many situations will force the average caller to adapt to the situation anyway. Dancing levels are different not only at every dance, but sometimes even by every tip danced. You will need to be ready to adapt your program and your choreography and by using the rule of two thirds. If you want to, say, memorize a bunch of choreography, you would be better off focusing the other two-thirds of your time working on practicing calling the choreography and the mechanics and the creative possibilities that you might have to change at a moment’s notice at a dance. I recommend that you spend more time testing yourself on choreographic knowledge than memorization.

4) Find a Role Model Square Dance Caller

Really watching the best do what they excel at is one of the most powerful things you can do to reach mastery at just about anything. Learning by watching is motivational, inspirational and it is how we have learned since the dawn of modern man. Man is built to learn. By studying the best in the art of square dance calling, then we will strive more and concentrate and focus to be the best in performance, programming, and overall better in every way.

When we watch someone we want to become and be like and we have a really intensely centered idea of where we want to be, it unleashes a tremendous amount of energy that is creative and inspirational. It sounds very basic, but spending time studying every word that a great square dance caller presents in a night’s dance can be one of the most powerful things you do.

5) Create Yourself a Caller’s Notebook

Many famous persons throughout history have kept a diary or journal to propel their studies and improvement. Today, top performers in many walks of life will track their progress, set goals for improvement, and learn from and improve by using a simple tracking tool like a notebook.

Keep two notebooks. One for your practice and performance and another with choreography that you are learning or need reference to. The road to improvement requires a map or two, and keeping a couple of notebooks that you can write down what you accomplished this week and/or what you tried to do, where you made mistakes and what things you displayed notable improvement in is important to advancing your skills. Use a notebook to capture and record information. Use it to track your progress. The power of the notebook is underrated and underused and I could not imagine not using this extremely helpful tool.

6) Attend a Square Dance Calling School

There are many benefits in studying at a caller school. Learning and improvement will boost your confidence and lead to eventual mastery. Education is the process of facilitating learning. Knowledge, skills, good practice techniques, and positive habits of a group of callers are transmitted to other people looking to learn how to square dance call.

Discussion, teaching, training, getting positive feedback and coaching leads to a better method of improvement and it helps you boost your own overall personal development. Overall, attendance at a top square dance caller school and acquiring a certified education will have a positive and powerful impact upon your ability and carry you to a  higher level on your way to mastery. Learn proficiency, professionalism, and learn how to be more musical. Learn how to be an entertainer! Learn how to be a choreographer. Learn how to package yourself as a competent and confident and experienced and knowledgeable caller!

Commit to Achieving Square Dance Caller Mastery

Everything in life requires a commitment. To what extent you go to is the difference. Skill and commitment have a tied relationship. The more committed anyone is to something then this leads to so much higher levels in success and proficiency, and this is the difference.

Merely committing to the long haul will have huge effects. Committing to practice and study can push abilities off the charts, and that is the difference maker. It takes time to master square dance calling, and that commitment combined with the right temperament will always advance you to a higher place supported by all of the above concentrated activities. This correct combination will make all of the hard work and focus worthwhile. You can push your capabilities off the charts. Commit to the long haul.

Don’t give up.

Reach. Get out on the edge of your ability. Get into your 60-80 percent discomfort zone and reach past that.

Sadly, none of us were born as an expert at anything. But you can become one with practice and time. Expect to spend a few years of hard work to reach a level of mastery in square dance calling. Start now. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Have a Great Day! Contact me if you have a question about square dance calling!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

 

 

Mission Statement: The purpose of this post is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The coaching information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller training, education, and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.

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Modern Western Square Dance: Building Variety In Singing Call Figures

Square dancing has a long heritage and legacy that is still evolving to this day, much like all music and dance. Since both of these elemental traditions are combined to call a dance, using square dance choreography that is in the “classic square dance” meme will always be a home run when incorporated within  your program.

Further,  two different ideas can recombine to produce a new and innovative idea involving elements of each choreographic parent idea. As a modern western square dance caller, you can present simple square dance singing call music and along with that build the choreography up in difficulty as the dance progresses and push the dancer’s ability up as the night unfolds. You can present both new and old music and new and old choreography and build a great progression in choreographic material with the hoedown patter portions of each tip. This  is the best manner for making singing calls the most interesting and your overall program the most entertaining.

Below are a few singing call figures that will help in making modern western square dance calling a Mainstream level dancing interesting and engaging. Changing the choreography as you do a singing call by slightly altering the same choreography figure is a great way to offer great variety throughout your program without getting super complicated. Another great aside is the dancers will have to listen more carefully and they will not be able to anticipate each calling sequence.

Make sure you practice these with a couple of different singing call songs so you can help yourself build an appealing and potent presentation of the calls. Three of the four figures start out the same but they all end differently. These make for some nice dancing and gives special practice time to the dance floor by offering Half Sashay and Circle Four Halfway as choreography options. Both calls Half Sashay and Circle Four (to a Line) are Basic calls that have strong and deep roots in the traditional square dance arena:

 

CALLING TIP! Change the choreography in your singing calls to strengthen dancing ability and provide high interest in the overall program that you present!

Heads (Sides) Right and Left Thru
Half Sashay
Star Thru
Circle Four Halfway
Swing Thru
Spin the Top
Square Thru Three Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

Heads (Sides) Touch a Quarter
Those Boys Run
Circle Four Halfway
Touch a Quarter
Walk & Dodge
Wheel & Deal
Zoom
Centers Pass Thru
Star Thru
Pass Thru
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

Heads (Sides) Right and Left Thru
Half Sashay
Star Thru
Circle Four Halfway
Veer Left
Bend the Line
Reverse Flutterwheel
Sweep a Quarter
Veer Right & Promenade

 

Heads (Sides) Right and Left Thru
Half Sashay
Star Thru
Circle Four Halfway
Star Thru
Half Sashay
Pass Thru
Girls Fold
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

I personally like to use Circle Four Halfway and Circle Four Three Quarters as a nice change from the traditionally based Circle Four to a Line and verily, it adds a little spice to the night choreographically.

If you do call a workshop tip within your night’s program, working in a couple of singing call figures that apply the choreographic ideas that were taught and then the reinforcement of that is a superb approach to rounding off the workshop!

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 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.

Modern Square Dance Calling: How To Formulate Creative Choreography

How To Develop & Use Unique Square Dance Choreography

Select an Idea

Square Dance Caller Education SchoolAs a modern western square dance caller looking for new choreographic ideas, inspiration can come from anywhere. Get an idea from the Mainstream, PLUS, or Advanced list of calls and use that as a start. Even if you are calling a Mainstream dance you can use a creative choreographic snippet from another list. For example, use a Diamond formation at the Mainstream level without calling a Diamond Circulate or try to directionalize the dancers through a call. My prior post, Best Guide for Creating an Original Square Dance Choreography Sequence gives a great set of general guidelines to follow when you want to be a little more creative in your role as square dance caller. I recommend that you read that pointer post and apply those foundation of ideas to this procedure outlined here on creating square dance choreography.

Whether you choose to use an idea from an old set list of calls or you try something new, as long as you spend time formulating the square dance choreography sequence and focus upon a smooth mixture of interesting calls, and then when you call, give clear directions to the dancers. Success is in following the procedure as it is described below.

Set Up the Position for the Sequence

Using choreography checkers is best for developing creative choreography ideas and writing the material that you will use. To analyze the choreographic example I will give you, start with two facing couples in a zero box facing the corner (Box 1-4) and have them step to an Ocean Wave. This is the start of the creative choreography sequence.

Let’s take a look. You are square dance calling a Mainstream dance and you want to use something with Hinge and incorporate individual turning directions for the dancers. Hinges are universally not called enough so anything that you can call using this figure is a good idea. And by using an individual turning direction (Right, Left, In and Out) for dancers to execute encourages them to listen to simple directions from you. So this is the heart of the creative idea that builds the sequence:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

Single Hinge
Girls Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Right
Bend the Line

 

Implement Sequence

Use the idea

Start with the dancers doing a Single Hinge and then the Girls Fold behind the Men. Now have the dancers do a Double Pass Thru. Then have the Dancers individually Face to the Right. Then have the dancers Bend The Line. I am sure that many of you modern square dance callers will recognize the similarity of mechanics of this call. It is very close to being a Linear Cycle from the PLUS level list and although this is not an exact duplication of the description of the call, it is very similar.

So the “directions” that you give are simple and include directional words and the dancers get it. By doing this, you have provided something new and fresh and interesting for all.

Quick Get Out

Resolve the square

First work on resolving the dancers’ sequence by getting into a normal formation that the dancers are comfortable with, then resolve the sequence of dancers and apply a get out. This is essential to the success of the square dance choreography. Returning the dancers to a normal position – either a box, line or static square quickly allows for a lot more success for the floor and if there are a lot of lost dancers they will have a chance to regroup and continue on with the rest of the floor.

In this case, if you just do a Slide Thru, then you will have resolved the sequence to a zero box once more. A simple Allemande Left will return all of the dancers back to their home positions. Or…

…quick get out/continue teaching or calling:

Pass the Ocean
returns dancers to a Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

 

Expand On Variations

Take the original idea and add to it

…and incorporate it into another sequence of calls. Create a few variations. For example, if you were using the ladies as the active component to initialize the unique choreographic idea then change that to the men as the active part.

 

Variation #1 adding and changing the sequence by adding more calls:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

Single Hinge
Scootback
Boys Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Right
Bend the Line

…and then add the Get Out:

Pass Thru
Girls Run
Single Hinge
(returns dancers to the Zero Box Ocean Wave)

 

Variation #2 adding and changing the sequence by adding more calls:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

Single Hinge
Split Circulate
Boys Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Left
Bend the Line

…and then add the Get Out:

Pass the Ocean
Recycle
(returns dancers to the Zero Box)

 

Variation #3 using same sexes working together:

Box 1-4 (Zero Box Ocean Wave)

Set up the variation sequence:

Single Hinge
Scootback
Centers Trade

Begin the sequence variation:
Single Hinge
The Ones Facing Out Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Right
Bend the Line

…and then add the Get Out:

Star Thru
California Twirl
Centers Right & Left Thru
Step to a Wave and Extend
Girls Trade
(returns dancers to a Zero Box Ocean Wave)

 

Incorporate Your Idea Further

Use the Choreographic Idea in a Singing Call Figure

…and allow the dancers to dance the sequence of calls. Let the whole floor dance the new sequence in a singing call that allows them to relax and simply dance the creative choreography you have created and enjoy:

Heads Touch a Quarter
Boys Run
Right and Left Thru
Step to an Ocean Wave
Single Hinge
Girls Fold
Double Pass Thru
Everyone Face Right
Bend the Line
Square Thru Three Quarters
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Overall, the process takes a little thought, creativity, and work. Spend some time with a choreographic idea and you can take your square dance calling and the dancer’s potential for more fun and even let them learn some too!

 

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

As mentioned before, here is the information for the square dance caller school that I will be conducting on April 30 and May 1, 2016 from 12:00 to 3:00 each day. See the ad flyer above and please call if you have any questions!

 

 

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.

Six Great Plus Get Outs for the Modern Western Square Dance Caller

Modern western square dance calling generally is something we have to “pick up” from the local callers around us. Sure, a lot can be learned from various written sources and literature on the subject, nevertheless, the most common way to learn the craft of calling is by exposure to other callers. Unfortunately, unless we are lucky enough to have stellar square dance callers in our local area, we can often pick up bad habits. Be careful who you learn from and what it is you are learning from that person, even if they happen to be a top talented square dance caller.

I’ve made it my business to learn a thing or two about square dance over the years, and I’ll share a few great Plus Level choreography get outs with you today. These are strong and effective choreographic sequences that will work for resolving the square and bring a smile upon the faces of the dancers. These progressively become more difficult as the list goes down the page:

Box 1-4 Wave:
Boys Circulate
Swing Thru
Acey Ducey
Girls Go Twice
Right and Left Grand

Box 1-4:
Right & Left Thru
Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Single Hinge
Fan the Top
Spin the Top
Acey Ducey
Right and Left Grand

Box 1-4:
Right & Left Thru
Touch a Quarter
Girls Run
Load the Boat
Pass Thru
Right and Left Grand

1p-2p Lines:
Reverse Flutterwheel
Star Thru
Veer Left
Crossfire
Girls Peel Off
Boys Extend & Trade
Girls Circulate
Boys Scootback
Left Allemande

1p-2p Lines:
Pass the Ocean
Girls Run
Crossfire
All Eight Circulate
Girls Peel Off
Left Allemande

Box 1-4 Wave:
Boys Circulate
Explode the Wave
Wheel Deal
Zoom & Spread
Ends Load the Boat
Centers Touch a Quarter
Centers Walk & Dodge
Left Allemande

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

 
Mission Statement: The purpose of this post is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller education training and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.

Square Dance Caller: Engage With Dynamic Singing Call Figures

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

If you are prepared, and prepared in the right manner, you will have a ton of choreography for the dance that is not too difficult and you will implement it in a way that is interesting and keeps everyone smiling!

That being said, here is a duo of Mainstream singing call figures that you can use that are not the “usual” thing. And they are pretty basic in dancing level incorporating Walk and Dodge, Single Hinge and Recycle.

Enjoy!

CALLING TIP! Spend some time creating directional commands and practicing the delivery of those commands to aid the dancers through more involved choreography so that they will have more success and enjoyment!

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Sides Rollaway
Swing Thru
Boys Run Right
Pass the Ocean
Recycle
Square Thru Three Hands
Trade By
Swing Corner and Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Box the Gnat
Slide Thru
Slide Thru again
Pass the Ocean
Swing Thru
Single Hinge
Girls Walk – Boys Dodge
U-Turn Back
Square Thru Three Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

 

Modern Western and Traditional square dancing at the very basic level can intermingle harmoniously with your corporate function,  barbeque , wedding, or church or community event. Shaun Werkele is a square dance caller who entertains in all levels of square dancing from the very basic Mainstream calls on through the Challenge (C-1) dance level. Shaun tours locally in Colorado and to nearby areas outside of the Colorado region such as Nebraska, Kansas, Utah, and Oklahoma to call for your group.

Make square dancing a major part of your event or festival plans and see how easy and fun a square dance party can be!

303-250-4735

 

 

 

Mission Statement: The purpose of this post is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller education training and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.

Square Dance Calling: Chasing Down PLUS Level Singing Call Figures

As square dance callers, I feel that it is our obligation to create different square dance sequences that keep everything  interesting. This is a dynamic that many callers take for granted. Moving the dancers through different combinations so that they do not know what to expect a good amount of the time is the best way to ensure that you are calling a great dance . Now this is different choreography, not necessarily hard in terms of positioning or difficulty of calls. So strive to call more interesting singing call figures and more fun will follow for dancing and the people dancing will thank you! Always incorporate different choreography in your hoedown portion of the tip to ensure dancing success on the execution of that same different choreography in the singing call.

Here is a nice pair of Plus singing call figures that you can use that both implement a Chase Right followed up with a Cast by the Right Three Quarters or the Single Hinge. These sequences deviate from the norm, however, they are not extremely hard. Just different! I like using Cast Three Quarters and Single Hinges in Ocean Waves, it moves people around quickly and re-aligns the line/wave formations in squares quickly. I have included in parenthesis some directional commands to aid the dancing of these two sets of calls.

Enjoy!

CALLING TIP! Your basic goal as a caller is to cue your dancers through the various figures and floor patterns smoothly and rhythmically, particularly if the choreography is challenging and unique!

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Sides Rollaway
Swing Thru
Boys Run Right
Pass Thru
Chase Right (when you meet this Girl)
Cast Right Three Quarters
Split Circulate
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Sides Rollaway
Swing Thru
Boys Run Right
Pass Thru
Chase Right (when you meet this Girl)
Single Hinge
Scootback
Walk & Dodge
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Again, as always, you need to use the foregoing singing call figures in your patter calling portion of the dancing tip to guarantee great success for the dancers. Part of learning to call is integrating your choreography into your entire square dance tip that you call. As you become more experienced, you will develop the facility to program choreography, or at least those ideas centered around your calls, in order to meet the needs of your dance group.

Modern Western square dancing at the very basic level can integrate seamlessly with your corporate function, party, wedding, or community event. Shaun Werkele calls all levels of square dancing from the basic 10-20 calls through the Challenge (C-1) level of dance. Shaun can travel locally to your area outside of the Colorado region to call for your group.

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

303-250-4735

 

 

 

Mission Statement: The purpose of this post is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The information provided here serves as a source for square dance caller education training and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.

Square Dance Singing Calls That You Can Split On!

Yes, that is split as in “Split the Couple” the square dance call, not spit. Although you may end up spitting on your microphone occasionally!

When you perform a singing call, there are two different approaches that you should use when you deliver the choreography that you call. You can either sing the calls substituting those words for the lyrics along with the melody or you can cue the words in time with the music.

For more information on improving timing when square dance calling go to: timing and metering when delivering your square dance calls .

Below is a great basic singing call sequence that brings together some really easy Mainstream level basic moves including the “Split 2” and “Around One.” These are actually 2 separate calls that are used in combination almost all of the time. Not difficult, but it sure beats the Do Sa Do when you feel the need to offer variety. Calling different figures in singing calls does not necessarily mean that you, as a modern western square dance caller have to call more difficult figures, it means you just need to present different choreographic sequences in a more interesting and fun manner!

CALLING TIP! Occasionally use a singing call that you can have the dancers join you in the singing of the chorus. This type of “singalong” audience participation always increases the dancer’s enjoyment!

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Split 2 Around 1 To A Line
Pass Thru
U Turn Back
Right & Left Thru
Rollaway Half Sashay
Touch a Quarter
Boys Run
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

 

Or you can try….

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Split 2 Around 1 To A Line
Touch a Quarter
Boys Run
Right & Left Thru
Pass to the Center
Square Thru Three Quarter
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

 

If you are in the local vicinity of Colorado, See you at the state festival, “Cut the Diamond” 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Colorado State Square Dance Festival from June 12 through June 14, 2015 at the Crown Plaza DIA  5500 East 40th Avenue, Denver Colorado, 80239! There will be all levels of dancing and fun up through the Mainstream Level – Plus Level – Advance Level .

See you there!
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.

Colorado Modern Western Square Dance Caller Doing FISH Dance

On Thursday May 7, 2015 the luck will be with all the fishermen and square dancers! At the Rockytops Denver Colorado square dance club there will be a donation dance to benefit the Broomfield FISH Food Bank with a donation taken from all dancers that attend the event.

This will be a very fun event with lots of themed plans for food and fun worked into the program! Looking forward to lots of great square dancing, as well!
And this is a great way to donate to a cause that needs all the local support it can get! And there is one fantastic side benefit to being involved in a “benefit” type of dance. It benefits YOU, because you get to enjoy feeling good about yourself in helping others.
Here is the flyer (click on it to enlarge):

Colorado Rockytops Square Dance Fisherman's Luck Promo Flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION on preferred food items to donate at this dance go to

Healthy Food List:
http://broomfieldfish.org/1163-2/

Hope to see you at what promises to be a great local Denver square dance event ! If you have a question, feel free to call me!

Best Regards,

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

Square Dance Calling: Providing Musical Variety

As our world continues to advance, the changes that occur in the musical realm also continue to evolve. Technology is one aspect that will always progress, and this has a huge impact on a traditionally based activity such as square dancing. Many sources for a modern western square dance caller are available today, and with the advent of the internet and smartphones, Ipods, laptop computers, and hololens, the possibilities for a creative person have expanded a lot. The bottom line is, there are many more resources for musical choices than yesteryear. Additionally, there are much more choices and styles of dance music that can be used and not just the music that is specially made for square dance calling .

For example, today anyone can download a huge variety of music from a variety of websites. This availability allows for you, as  a caller, to easily offer different musical genres to your square dance audience. This is a great thing, however, there are cautionary guidelines that must be kept in mind so that your offering of different music is effective.

As you select music, keep in mind that the songs that you present need to be suitable and appropriate for the audience. If you use music that is rock driven, do not use too much. On the other hand, given the roots of country and bluegrass music in square dancing, an entire night of the “two-beat” genre of music is a great way to fail in offering musical variety to your dancers. The same with fast and slow songs. Too many slow songs on singing calls is not good, and an entire night of fast square dance singing calls is not good either. Pay attention to how professional entertainers put together their song lists in their performances. The variety they offer in a set is a good model to set your dance program to. Pace your dance and spend some time thinking about what you want to present musically, and in what order will be best for the night of dance.

Stay in a modern and fresh musical styling in your program, make sure that you use new square dance music releases, but also put a little traditional and older songs in your night of dance. I recommend at least one tune for a singing call that is a either a “square dance classic” or an old vinyl record that you have recorded that you put in your set of songs for the dance. I am a huge fan of the old 1950’s, 1960’s square dance records . Many of these were recorded with a live band with little or no overdubs, and many times the level of the musician’s performances on these recordings were top-notch when they were pressed on vinyl.

One thing to be careful about is using music that has background vocals in the mix of the song. While the beat might be great, if the vocals in the background are too loud and distracting, then the music should not be used as a square dance music choice. The dancers hearing the calls is the MOST IMPORTANT thing when you call a dance. Remember, this is a square dance. Great choreography and the dancers actually making it through those sequences of calls that you give them is the number one concern you need to have.

So, use a modern approach to square dance calling and pay attention to market trends in both the square dance music industry, and the normal, everyday musical alternatives that are out there!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

 

Disclaimer:The purpose of this site is to create a greater visibility of the square dance activity for future dance population growth on a national and local level. The information provided here serves as a source for square dance calling education and perspectives on dance. Future articles will be developed to improve the programs of square dancing and how those learning to square dance call can help contribute to the preservation of both modern western square dancing and traditional square dancing and to aid in the growth of the square dance activity.<\small>

Mainstream Square Dance Calling: Singing Call Figures and What You Need to Know

I had a great opportunity to learn square dance calling from a local popular caller when I was fourteen years old. Dave Kenney, who was the president of the Denver Square Dance Caller’s Association 1975-77, taught me quite a lot about choreography, either directly or indirectly. Dave taught and called for quite a few clubs in the Denver area, and he taught the advanced and challenge levels of square dancing in the Denver Colorado area . I learned a lot about moving dancers around within a square.

Additionally, I learned to develop a great visualization of more than one dancer in the position in the square from a “mental image” that I draw from when I create choreography. By developing this ability, I can write choreography in my head, and I write quite a few figures for singing calls without moving what is referred to as “square dance caller’s checkers,” a tool that can be used to aid in the creation of square dance choreography. What is great about this ability is I usually start calling and I “sight call” the dancers in my head while I practice to a new singing call. This takes a lot of practice, so work on visualizing more than one dancer in a set of four dancers for starters.

Creating choreography with square dance checkers is still the best, and I recommend that you check anything you write in your head if you try this mental image method to create singing call figures. Once in a while, your written figure might be wrong, and it definitely is better to find that out yourself than when you are actually calling the dance!

Here is a great basic modern square dance singing call choreography figure incorporating two nice elements that provide a little more variety for the dance floor. The square dance figure progresses the ladies around the square just as normal, but the sequence uses a Pass the Ocean and an Extend (the Tag) to start things out. Changing things up by using figures like the one below breaks the monotony and predictability of starting singing call figures with “Heads Square Thru 4.”

Keep in mind that square dance calls in a singing call figure other than starting with a Square Thru Four make for a much more interesting square dance ! If you are a caller and you need help with something, or you have a question, please feel free to contact me as a resource for learning to square dance call, whether you have a question, or you need an opinion of a qualified calling coach!

CALLING TIP! Consider the abilities and the dance level of the local area club and adjust the choreography accordingly.

Heads (Sides) Pass the Ocean
Ladies Trade
Extend (the Tag)
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Boys Circulate
Bend The Line
Square Thru Three Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Feel free to contact Shaun Werkele square dance caller for your club or group. Shaun is booking for both national and local square dance events in 2016,2017, 2018, and 2019. Call to find out about a specific time that you are considering to fill with a unique caller who calls to your local square dance club in Denver Colorado or any other areas across the nation that matches the style and level of dancing that your group is most comfortable with.

Square dancing at your group event can add a personal touch that is unique and fun. Feel free to call to make sure you schedule a modern western square dance caller who will provide a ton of fun and high energy entertainment that you will enjoy!

The best way to make reservations or book for a club dance is to call

Shaun Werkele at (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 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.