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.

Advertisements

Modern Western Square Dance: The 25 Alive Choreographic Challenge!

Ruts in Square Dance ChoreographyCaught in a routine of square dance calling the same old sequences of calls or combinations of calls in your program for your dances? Being stuck in a rut is hard to overcome. If you think about it, a rut is a deep crevice that has been worn by overuse. It can be very difficult to jump out of a rut and make it back onto a more productive path for yourself as a square dance caller and this can apply to the dancers, as well!

The best way to break out of it and reach a better place where it will be possible to make progress – in providing more variety and interest – is to take a good look at what you call all the time. There are choreographic sequences that many DANCERS know what is going to be called next, and some dancers anticipate to the point that they stop listening to your calls because they have your modern western square dance calling boring routine down stone dead cold.

Now that is a deep rut indeed!

Overused combinations of calls will always lead the square dance activity down the same old path with the same old rut! Anticipation! Uninteresting and worn out sequences and combinations of calls. Dancer boredom!

Bring it to an end now.

This is the proposed challenge that I present to you as the entertaining caller that you strive to be: the five minute choreographic challenge!

Below are 25 square dance calls that have always turned into a broken record when followed up with the most anticipated sequences that have shown to be…RUTS! Although it may be a little difficult to change all calls, you can change some of the classic and highly anticipated combinations of square dance choreography. But you will have to do a couple of things to allow for dancer success on the floor.

One thing for sure is you will have to allow for a little recovery time if some of the dancers have anticipated the normal expected calls or newer dancers who never were taught very many choreographic possibilities for the calls. Another thing is you may have to occasionally use some key words to prompt the square dancers to get through any new combinations of calls than what they are used to doing. A little known secret that I will share with you is when you use directional key words between unusual combinations of calls this will both give the dancers directional help in addition to supplying the dance floor a little more time to execute the dance moves you present.

I highly recommend that you use your square dance choreographic checkers  on some of the more involved calls. Additionally, spend a minute or two thinking about body flow and what you would follow up the new combinations with. Shoot for five new ideas for every call on this list in twenty five minutes time. Then spend some more time writing out full choreographic module figures that work with your dance program to complete your focus on each call for your challenge. Make this your choreography study project a part of your practice routine.

This is a great booster whether you want to add creative and original sequences to your sets of square dance modules, or add to your arsenal of ideas that you have as a mental image list, or even ideas to incorporate into your sight calling:

  1. Flutterwheel
  2. Veer Left
  3. Walk Around the Left Hand Lady
  4. Tag the Line
  5. Swing Thru
  6. Square Thru
  7. Couples Circulate
  8. Touch a Quarter (from a facing couples box)
  9. Spin the Top
  10. Reverse Flutterwheel
  11. Walk & Dodge
  12. Wheel & Deal
  13. Pass Thru (from facing lines)
  14. Pass Thru (from a facing couples box)
  15. Lead Right
  16. Spin Chain Thru
  17. Scoot Back
  18. Double Pass Thru
  19. Ferris Wheel
  20. Half Tag the Line
  21. Pass the Ocean
  22. (Put) Centers In
  23. Recycle
  24. Touch a Quarter (from facing lines)
  25. Right and Left Grand

This will be an effective mental challenge for you and you will get some new choreography that will break your own bad habits of the “same old same old”…and some dancers can break their habits of anticipating and everyone will enjoy the dancing a lot more!

Related:  One Hour Singing Call Challenge

Write these on recipe cards or store them on your computer for easy use. Let the challenge begin! And good luck!

Call if you are interested in attending my three hour training session for beginning square dance callers in Westminster, CO on May 21. See the flyer on this link for more information:

https://shaunwerkelesquaredancecalleraugustrecords.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/basics-how-to-teach-square-dancing/

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 Western Square Dance Caller Teaching Guidelines

A great deal of square dancers who are interested in square dance choreography become callers or consider becoming callers because they are fascinated and intrigued by choreography. This is a good platform to build off of. However, not many modern western square dance callers are trained to teach choreography to persons in classes learning to dance. Teaching is an important part of actual calling, but the approaches of teaching square dance is often neglected. One reason is the focus is on actually learning to call a dance as opposed to working on a complete overall program of square dance calling.

So the objective standpoint of a person learning to call is to understand the framework of teaching and why great square dance teachers are so vital to the square dance activity. The first thing to take a look at to understand teaching is to understand learning. There are several learning styles, but the four basic types are:

  • Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.

As a square dance caller, you will need to first determine your learning style preference and then examine how you actually teach. If you learn well aurally, then you will be a better fit for teaching square dancing to students in classes and to dancers at dance functions. The reason for this is square dance is a listening experience first, and a dancing experience second. Most teaching for square dance works in this manner.

Verbal communication is the most effective way to present choreography and its definitions and corresponding formations and descriptions. To be a good teacher you need to refine your communication skills and know the calls well – the mechanics, starting and ending positions, explain the changes in positions and formations, and be great at combining the calls together well in choreographic sequences that flow.

Further, visual learning is another huge part of the process in a square dance class. The dancers can see the formations and how to perform some calls when they are simply watching the active persons in their square perform the new calls. After a teaching tip is completed, many students in a class will ask questions about how to execute some call that they have just been exposed to. The best approach in this situation is to ask a few experienced dancers to demonstrate the call and allow visual learning to occur along with reviewing the definition and mechanics involved. This is a strong and robust visualization for many beginners and it is extremely effective.

Another effective tool for teaching dancers is supplying the dancers with a modern square dance instruction booklet. These will be a great help in understanding descriptions and the pictures of dancers performing the calls provide a great visual reference. By using visual methods in addition to aural learning, new dancers will succeed a lot more and have a much better understanding of the choreography. Reinforcement of the calls on a list is a great way to show the dancers their progress and measure their comprehension of the calls and formations, figures and basic mechanics of square dance.

Always present new calls in a class with a complete description of the mechanics of the call along with a detailed and complete definition. As a new caller teacher, you will need to make a list of many choreographic possibilities to teach your square dance students. Start with the basic formations from which to dance the call and build upon that with different variations and beginning and ending positions. Formations are the same. Introduce with the most simple formations and expand into more involved ones. For example, the Static Square is the first one taught. One of the last formations taught at Mainstream level dancing is the Tidal Wave and Tidal 2-Faced Line.

Put some thought into figures and arrangements that you will teach so that the dancers learn optimally. One approach is to teach and present the calls in a way that the students will hear the calls being used by other callers once they graduate from class. Build upon that and then add variations as the dancers progress in understanding the choreography.

Aside from the above pointers, newer callers can also listen to teaching presentations by attending an ongoing square dance class with an established caller. Weekly. The learning opportunities are great when you are able to study the teaching approaches that an experienced caller can show you. Just be particular about who you learn from and how their approach to teaching works. Observe and take notes if you feel the need to. A good caller teacher can give you good teaching habits. Here is some great information on  Creating Square Dance Choreography to give you some ideas on understanding choreography creation.

Most people teach in the same manner that they have a propensity to learn. Whatever learning style they prefer is how they will convey their perception of an idea. Teaching students and expanding their potential by drawing from all of the learning styles is your best bet, and you need to be analytical in studying the mannerisms and habits and methods that your mentor caller uses during the class sessions. By observing, you will see why calls are taught in a particular order, the struggles the dancers have in learning certain moves, and how to effectively reach the students in the class with proper wording and strong teaching skills.

Ask questions of established callers who teach and look for good advice. The best way to learn how to teach is to be offered the chance to teach a specific call on several sessions at an ongoing class and then receive critical feedback from the caller-teacher. This is necessary to travel down the road to improvement. Check into this article on creating choreography:

https://shaunwerkelesquaredancecalleraugustrecords.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/best-guide-for-creating-a-unique-square-dance-choreography-sequence/

Analyze the methods that you observe and apply those approaches to what you want to be as a teacher. Practice ways to teach a particular call when you arrive at a good understanding of what is involved in both learning for the dancers and teaching for you, as a caller. Record yourself teaching a call. Analyze your teaching method and verbal approach. Did you give a clear description and instruction for the call you were teaching? Teach a call or two at a class with an experienced caller so that you get experience and advice on how to improve. Ask the more experienced caller if he can allow you to do this.

Keep in mind that every student in a square dance class will learn differently than you did. Everyone learns differently and you will need to accommodate for those differences. Understand the definitions and mechanics and different possibilities for the various calls that you teach or eventually may teach. Analyze your teaching methods. Use different teaching perspectives and approaches as mentioned above to allow for many learning styles for your classes that you will teach. Great teaching is vital and essential to dancer’s success and enjoyment in the activity!

Lastly, attend a square dance caller school to get more help in all areas of the art of square dance calling! I am offering a free class on May 21,2017 for a beginner’s ground level 3 hour session. Call for more details.

Please feel free to contact me if you are learning to square dance call and you have a question or need some help!

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 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.

Basics: How to Teach Square Dancing

How to Teach Some of the Most Basic Square Dancing Calls

Traditional and modern western square dancing have a universal appeal which encompasses all ages and levels of ability and social commitment. Teaching square dance to young children, teenagers, adults, senior citizens, and even some handicapped groups continually draws unique interest and social interplay to this great activity. One thing that is attractive about all dancing is it gives insecure persons an opportunity to shed their inhibitions and the opportunity to derive enormous satisfaction from interacting with others in a friendly setting.

Every local square dance caller has their own way of calling a dance and just about every caller will add short rhythmic lines to add excitement to a square dance. The dancers’ challenge is to listen for the dancing directions within the patter and then the entire square will act as a team and execute the square dance calls.

Following is a short outline for teaching the most basic set-up of the “squared set.” This is taught the first few minutes of any square dance party or any beginner class. It is imperative that all directions be simple in description and extremely clear so as not to confuse anyone learning for the first time.

Both modern style and traditional square dance follow these fundamental teaching instructions:

  • The basic setup for square dance is the “squared set” which is comprised of four couples, making a total of eight dancers, who stand within the formation of a ten foot by ten foot square, each couple taking a side, or position facing inward, toward the center, to create a square shaped figure on the floor. Each couple has their backs parallel to one of the four walls in the room.
  • Within the “Set” each Lady stands on her dancing partner’s right side.
  • The First Couple is facing toward the back of the hall and have their backs to the caller platform.
  • The Second Couple is on their right, the Third position is opposite to the couple in the first position, and the Fourth on the First Couple’s left hand side.
  • First and Third Couples are identified as the “Head Couples” (1 and 3) and the Second and Fourth are “Side Couples” (2 and 4).
  • For every man’s position the Man’s “Corner” or “Corner Lady” is the woman on his left. The Lady’s “Corner” or “Corner Man” is the man on her right.
  • The “Home” position is the traditionally established location on the squared set of eight persons that everyone ideally returns to at the end of any directed sequence that the dancers move through. Tell the dancers they are standing at the “Home” position, which is the starting and finishing position of all square dance figures at all levels of dance.

Basic Square Dance Terms:

Set – Four couples comprise a set. Each couple stands on the side of an imaginary square.

Couple – Two dancers side by side, each comprising half of a traditional pairing that historically has matched a man standing on the left side with a woman directly to the right. There are four couples in a Set.

Partner – In a square set, Partners stand side by side, the Ladies (Women or Girls) to the right of the Men (also called Gentlemen, Gents, or Boys)

Corner – The Gentlemen’s Left- hand Lady is the lady standing on his left, or his Corner Lady. The Corner Man is the Gentleman standing directly to the right of the lady. Both terms Corner and Left Hand Lady mean the same thing and these two gender based position identities are directed in the perspective of the Gentlemen in the square.

Opposite Lady (or Gent) – The lady or man standing directly opposite a dancer’s position, as in the case of Gentleman number one  and Lady number three.

Home – The station at which all couples occupy at the beginning of a square dance set of calls.

Left Hand Couple – The couple in a set standing one station to the left of a designated couple in a squared set. For example, Couple 4 is the Left Hand couple in relation to Couple 1.

Right Hand Couple – This is a couple standing one position to the right of a designated couple in a set. For instance, Couple 2 is the Right Hand Couple to Couple 1.

Right Hand Lady (or Gent) – The lady or man that is occupying the position to the right in a squared set. For example, Lady 2 is the Right Hand Lady of Gentleman 1 in a Set.

Teaching Techniques

Worldwide, throughout the years of this activity’s progress, all modern western square dance callers have developed their own method of calling a complete dance. At the heart of this approach is the selection of choreographic ideas for both hoedown patter calls and singing call figures.

When teaching, all of the focus should be on the featured call that is being taught at that particular moment in the session, and not just repetition of the call should be instilled, but also the new dancers need exposure and clear explanations and familiarization of different basic dancing positions and variations of that call along with formation awareness.

The primary mindset as a square dance caller is to direct every student dancer through various positions and combinations of choreographic calls smoothly, rhythmically, and in an energetic and entertaining manner. To accomplish this all callers, whether they call modern square dance or traditional square dance, need to provide to the dance floor succinct and concise explanations of how the mechanics of a new call should be delivered without complicated and confusing words.

The process is simply:

  1. Teach the starting position (and formation)
  2. Describe the action – what specifically happens as the call is executed
  3. Explain the change in relationship of positioning
  4. Tell the dancers what their specific individual instructions will be throughout the call
  5. Give the dancers a visual understanding of their ending position of the call
  6. Devise different variations that show the dancers other possibilities that the call offers

The ultimate goal for the caller to convey to the learning dancers is that they understand the basic movement of the call and to know that there are other choreographic possibilities for almost every call ever written. By learning the rule, rather than the most common traffic patterns that are called, all dancers will be much stronger and confident in their dancing and they will be able to apply this to many different positions.

At the end of the teaching session for the new call, announce that if dancers have questions regarding the call to come seek you, their teacher, for more help. This allows any new and/or confused and struggling dancers another opportunity to get questions answered and for you to teach a different and more “hands-on” direct approach for the new dance move and how to dance it successfully.

Command Calls

The most basic square dance calling approach is to use the “command call.” This is when the caller simply gives the call, then waits for the proper number of beats of music until the next command is given to the dance floor. It is calling at it’s very simplest, stripped down and lacking any extra wording whatsoever. Command calls can accompany either hoedown music or the singing call portion of a square dance tip. Tracking the number of beats is absolutely essential to the timing of this style of square dance calling where the rhythm is so prominent and drives the dancing.

Command calling is most prevalent in the Advanced and Challenge levels of modern western square dancing where it is used to keep the calls simple and direct.

Patter Calls

Once dancers have a fundamental understanding of the new call, and they have been walked through the call enough times to feel physically and mentally relaxed with the new square dance call, square dance callers can make simple command calls more interesting by adding “patter.” The best way to describe patter calling is, along with the command the caller delivers, there will be added clever words to either provide more description of the mechanics of the call, or simply to dress up and help fill the silences that come between commands. This usually is rhythmic and directive at the same time. You can read more about how to approach directing dancers through creative sequences in this informative article:

Related: How to Formulate Square Dance Choreography

The best way to teach new dancers how to get through a combination of calls when they are confused as to where to move to on the dance floor is to advise them to watch other dancers within the square. Advise them to combine this approach by staying in place, not panicking, and then wait for the next call. By teaching dancers this method of recovery, they will better be able to dance in harmony together and they will succeed in completing more involved square dance choreography.

Rhythm

Of course, directing the dancers with well timed patter that works in rhythm with the music is a cornerstone of great square dance calling, and to not provide musical phrasing that is in synchronization with the beats (working in 4/4 time or 2-beat) will only alienate the dancers and you will not be guiding the dancers by the musical beat of the song. Work on using rhythmic and effective patter words in your practice sessions and everyone at all classes and regular dances will benefit from you doing so.

Spend some time and productive thought into preparing for teaching at classes, parties, or even local club dances. You can read more about the choreography process here:

Related: Rules for Writing Choreography for Square Dance Classes

Have a great teaching session!

If you need a square dance caller to teach for your gathering, please keep me in mind. If you need help in improvement in your square dance calling, please contact me. I will make your group’s event plans fun with an entertaining square dance party!

Thanks,

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

I will be offering a short and condensed beginning caller class on May 21, 2017 for a special three hour session focusing on customizing your calling style, singing call performance tips, and a one hour choreography session. See the ad flyer below. Please call for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Great And Original Choreography For Square Dance Singing Calls

Modern western square dance callers begin every dance by testing the capabilities of every dancer in every square, for everyone who has come through the door at every dance has an established dancing level. The primary objective is to present choreography that “breaks the ice.”  Additionally, this beginning part of the dance sets the pace for the rest of the evening on a social level – to get everyone out and mix, mingle and commence the gathering of fun with others. The ultimate goal is to straddle a line between dancing fun and engagement and you are feeling the waters in terms of everyone’s dancing ability – all of this while still providing choreographic interest for all. More involved and unique modern square dance choreography is something that should be presented more into the second tip of the night and expanded further on through the night’s program.

Below is a nice foursome of original and interesting Mainstream square dance singing call sequences that you can start using after the first
tip of the evening.

Just a little different from the normal run-of-the-mill figures that are used by most callers. I encourage you to use figures that will put a little challenge into your dancing program and this will be a great move – to instill originality and improve the dance ability on the floor.

 

CALLING TIP! Be prepared to either increase or decrease the level of difficulty at any dance by studying many choreographic possibilities ahead of time. Having ideas ahead of time will make it easier to adapt your choreographic program as you need to.

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Star Thru
Pass Thru
Step to an Ocean Wave – Girls Trade
Girls Run
Half Tag (the Line)
Scootback
Split Circulate Twice
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Right & Left Thru
Star Thru
Double Pass Thru
First Couple go Left
Next Couple go Right
Pass the Ocean
Recycle
Star Thru
Slide Thru
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Lead Right
Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Scootback
Walk & Dodge
Partner Trade
Pass the Ocean
Boys Circulate & Girls Trade
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Pass the Ocean
Those Girls Trade
Extend the Tag
Girls Trade
Recycle
Veer Left
Boys Circulate & Girls Trade
Half Tag the Line
Scootback
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

These figures are NOT difficult in positioning, however, they are NOT normal everyday singing call figures, either…and they are NOT predictable. These will strengthen any group of dancers in listening better and dancing more of the calls that do not get called as often as they should.

Try these out, they will come in handy when you have a dance with a bunch of really sharp dancers who are looking a little bored. You will also find that this choreography cannot be anticipated and therefore will be suitable for growth in all dancer’s capabilities long-term and that’s everywhere you might gig at any Mainstream level dance!

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.

Square Dance Calling: Groovy Mainstream Singing Call Figures

“What say, you, we go out on the town and swing, baby? Yeah! Groovy!” If Austin Powers were a square dancer, he would be a most memorable and cool one, getting about in that groovy way that only he would exude with such flashy style!

Modern square dancing offers a chance to get out and mix and mingle and have a lot of fun with others, and part of the commitment all western square dance callers have is to expand on making the dancing engaging and interesting. Unique square dance choreography is an effective manner by which many callers use to their advantage to provide dancers with different combinations to provide an entertaining and great dance. Of course, you will always want to work on interesting patterns for your hoedown portion, and that being said, here are a couple of ideas for singing call figures that offer groovy success for the square dancers, baby!   Try on some of this choreography in the singing calls in your night’s program.

Below is a nice foursome of Mainstream square dance singing call figures that emphasize using the call Circulate, however, they are not extremely hard. Just a little different from the usual sequences that are used by most. Because square dance callers do not use Circulates enough in their programs. Particularly, using All Eight Circulate throughout the night will be a great move on your behalf for this reason alone!

So groovy, baby!

CALLING TIP! Your primary goal as a caller is to instruct smoothly and rhythmically, employing square dance choreography that is challenging and unique!

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Lead Right
Swing Thru
Boys Run Right
Couples Circulate
Chain Down the Line
Pass the Ocean
Boys Circulate
Girls Trade
Boys Run & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 & Sides Rollaway
Swing Thru
Boys Run Right
Pass the Ocean
Girls Trade
All Eight Circulate
Swing Thru
Boys Trade
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Lead Right
Swing Thru
Spin the Top
Recycle
Pass the Ocean
Boys Circulate
Swing Thru
Boys Trade
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Pass the Ocean
Those Girls Trade
Extend the Tag
Recycle
Veer Left
Boys Circulate & Girls Trade
Bend the Line
Square Thru Three Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

I hope these singing call figures will help you in your patter calling portion of the dancing tip and they are a great success for the dancers. For square dance callers a huge part of calling is integrating great choreography into your night’s dance. Over time, you will develop the knack to program choreography and all of those ideas that are centered around your calls will fulfill the needs of your square dance dance group.

Modern Western square dancing at the simplest level can work effectively with your wedding, corporate function, party, or community event. Shaun Werkele calls many levels of square dance from the very basic 10-20 calls through the Challenge (C-1) level of dancing. Shaun will travel locally to your area outside of the Colorado Front Range to call for your get together!

Call  Shaun Werkele to make square dancing part of your special event plans and set your group up for a fun and unique square dance party!

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.

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.

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.

Alluring Square Dance Singing Call Sequences

Alluring – the state or ability of being attractive – is a simple definition with an involved and broad scope of meaning. Beautiful. Appealing Fascinating. Singing call figures that can be alluring to the caller might not be the best for the dancers to enjoy the most. Choreography that is too involved is NOT always the best to use because of dancer breakdowns on the floor that put off overall dancer success. So alluring choreography is really set by the dancers in their level of success, not you, the square dance caller. So keep that in mind when you use your singing call figures, and consequently, even hoedown choreography.

You should always encourage square dancers to dance only at their comfort level so that they are reasonably at ease and relaxed while they dance. Perhaps the ultimate golden rule in square dance calling is make sure that you use your discretion when deciding how much the dance floor as a whole can take on in regard to square dance choreography. This is one of the hardest things to do well as a square dance caller.

The following square dance singing call figures implement attractive and alluring ideas that make for enjoyable dancing. These all use the always fun and simple Zoom call in the choreography and all three are Mainstream figure sequences:

CALLING TIP! Arrive early enough to comfortably set up your sound system for the square dance and call the round dance cuer scheduled to determine if you will need to bring any other equipment for the dance.

Heads (Sides)  Square Thru 3 Hands
Separate Around One to a Line
Forward & Back
Star Thru
Zoom
Centers Right & Left Thru
Veer Left & Veer Right
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Or try this Zoom variation….

Heads (Sides) Square Thru 4 Hands
Right & Left Thru
Veer left
Couples Circulate
Ferris Wheel
Zoom
Centers Square Thru 3 Hands
Slide Thru Square Thru 3 Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

And another Zoom sequence…

Heads (Sides) Touch a Quarter
Those Boys Run
Right & Left Thru
Veer Left
Couples Circulate
Bend The Line
Pass Thru
Wheel & Deal
Zoom
Centers Square Thru 3 Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

As always, feel free to call me if you have a square dance calling question or anything else I can help you with!

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.

Left Handed Choreography For Square Dance Singing Calls

Modern Western square dance callers can fall into a repetitive routine quite easily and this can be on several levels. The same choreography. Same songs. Same ideas. Over and over… so… break that slumpy rut! Remember, if you make an effort to try something different then you are way ahead of the caller napping on the couch.

Using choreography and moves that present more challenging figures on the dance tip portion for the singing call can be a way to break that predictable rut that the dancers have been put in. After all, the caller decides what to call and then the dancers follow that. So please put some thought into your square dance programming for the night’s dance and provide a few moments with some harder and more intricate choreography. Accompany that different choreography with slower and smoother types of music can encourage a more enjoyable evening.

This always works best for me, and it will for anyone who reaches out and embraces some different and interesting square dance moves. Which brings us to a few more involved choreographic sequences that work in singing calls.

The following square dance singing call figures implement an uncommon Left hand set-up configuration and they use Left handed square dance calls. The best way to call this type of set-up is to call it a “Scootback and work with your Left Hand.” By telling the dancers and aid them in understanding this left handed variation better it helps with their success when using this type of choreography.

Keep in mind that this style of square dance choreography (dancing by definition, or DBD) needs to be incorporated into your choreography as you call in the hoedown style patter calling beforehand. Dancer success depends on this. I use these exact sequences when I call these “Left Hand Scootback” sequences in the patter portion and make “Left Hand Scootback” the focus of the entire tip with use of the figure sequence in the singing call:

CALLING TIP! Keep a clear perspective of what each dancer’s ABILITY is and ultimately what they came for – FUN!

Heads (Sides) Star Thru
And Square Thru Three Hands
Left Touch a Quarter
Scootback  (Left)
Single Hinge
Boys Trade
Boys Run
Wheel & Deal
Pass Thru
U Turn Back
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Or try this variation….

Heads (Sides) Slide Thru
Square Thru Three Hands
Left Touch a Quarter
Scootback  (Left)
Scootback (Left)
Single Hinge
Girls Trade
Girls Run
Wheel & Deal
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

In order to use these sequences at the Mainstream level you will have to workshop the figures with directional cues to lessen confusion. Check out this post for how to use directional instructions in your square dance calling: https://shaunwerkelesquaredancecalleraugustrecords.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/call-square-dancers-through-involved-mainstreamplus-choreography-formations/

Left hand figures are great for improving dancing strength, they can be relatively simple, and they add variety to your dance program for the night!

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.