Plug-In Picasso: Square Dance Calling More Creatively

Learning to Square Dance Call on an Effective Creative Plateau

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

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

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

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

Related:  Panoramic Aspects of Square Dance Calling

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

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

Box 1-4 (Zero Box)

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

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

Related:  Seven Square Dance Calling Get-Outs

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

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

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

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

Take their ideas and carry the torch a little further!

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

 

Best Regards,

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

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

 

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

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5 Methods You Probably Are Not Using With Your Choreographic Checkers

Original Approaches For Square Dance Choreography Checkers

Square Dance Caller Choreography CheckersAll square dance callers, whether traditional or modern, use choreography to entertain and involve all of the dancers on the dance floor. If you think about a great dance show like Dancing With The Stars, why is it so great to watch? What makes it entertaining? Well practiced and interesting dance choreography! This applies just as well to square dance.

When creating new and different square dance choreography, the canonical approach, or to be precise, conforming to already established patterns or rules needs to be “turned off.” To be more fresh and creative with your square dance caller checkers you will have to leave old set rules of authority behind and ignore the typical standard that has been followed in all square dance calling which has always conformed to an accepted rule or procedure.

Consider using some of the following original methods to reach a higher place for yourself in choreography creation:

Reverse The Path

Find the end result you want and retrace your moves until you have reverse written the start of the sequence. For instance, if you want a precise get out, then start at the end result you want the square to end on, like a Right and Left Grand, and work all of the checkers backward with calls that take you back to where you want the sequence to begin.

Make the Module March

Use your checkers to write modules. Consider the power that you can create by analyzing every possible board position that can be placed into a giant choreographic tree and when connected together, each possible move acting as a string to another board position in the square. Those positions lead to a union of original and highly creative call ideas. Conversion modules. Zero module writing. Equivalent modules. Checkers can make this happen in a huge way!

Great Get Outs

Most great square dance get outs start out using square dance checkers. Look to old ideas for inspiration if you must, but use the checkers to create better and more interesting get outs that are original in substance and choreography that helps to instill interest and excitement for the dance floor. Keep in mind that get outs do not have to be hard and complicated, and just because you use the checkers to conceive a new idea does not mean that your choreography needs to be involved and difficult. Strive for fun ideas and visualize the dancers when you put together choreographic ideas

Turn The Card

Create a list of cards with one call on each card. Then shuffle the cards, draw three from the deck and write a choreographic sequence from that. This approach just requires that you create combinations of calls that connect the three calls together in a seamless yet interesting way. Zero modules work best for this method of creating choreography, yet I recommend that you write transitional and equivalent modules as well. This is a powerful method to break old overused choreography combinations and put new creative ideas forward.

Proper Flow

Follow the rules of smooth flow when you write figures with your checkers. Essential elements such as hand usage in the combinations of calls that you will deliver need to be relatively seamless and overall body flow should be smooth and gliding. Always keep this in mind because proper styling is highly important and it will enhance the quality of your dance from a choreographic standpoint and the enjoyable level for the square dancers.

Create Effective Ideas…

There are a few different ways to resolve a sequence with checkers. Just determine which ideas are the strongest and best for what you are trying to accomplish.

It is important also to remember that checkers are simply choreographic constructs, but if you create a sequence that is in the right direction with interesting ideas and great body flow, then everyone at the dance will cast a glimmering glance that you may be powerfully brilliant!

Have a Great Day! Contact me if you need a square dance caller coach!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

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

Square Dance Caller: Five Unique Mainstream Get Outs

One way for square dance callers to advance in their abilities is to look for opportunities to collaborate in calling with other callers of all levels of proficiency at many different square dance events, whether that event is a local one, or a nationally recognized one.  Calling to learn skills is good, but you still need to practice on many different areas with a square dance caller teacher to become an accomplished caller.

Sources like posts on this square dance website that have been published very recently will provide many current outlooks and understandings of square dancing and its past. If you use additional sources that might have been published sometime in the last decade, it is important to know what changes have evolved in the activity and what criticisms have been made about the earlier information and its approach to the topic, whether that is choreography, square dance music, or even equipment. Nevertheless, the “modern approach” is going to be the most effective in improving the art of square dance calling.

Below are five unique Mainstream level square dance choreography get outs that I have composed for  modern western square dance and all of these figures offer powerful and solid choreographic combinations that resolve the order of dancers in the square. Using these kinds of get outs will add to your effectiveness as a square dance caller and the dancers will enjoy them as well:

Box 1-4
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Bend the Line
Right & Left Thru
Pass Thru
Tag the Line Face Right
Ferris Wheel
Right and Left Grand

Box 1-4:
Right & Left Thru
Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Walk and Dodge
U Turn Back
Square Thru – on the Fourth Hand
Left Allemande

Box 1-4:
Right & Left Thru
Touch a Quarter
Split Circulate
Walk & Dodge
Bend the Line
Left Allemande

1p-2p Lines:
Reverse Flutterwheel
Dixie Style to a Wave
Boys Circulate
Left Allemande

1p-2p Lines:
Pass the Ocean
Girls Run
Bend the Line
Touch a Quarter
All Eight Circulate
Girls Turn Around
Left Allemande

Call with any question you might have, I would be glad to help!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

Shaun Werkele returned to square dancing in 2014. He works hard at bringing exciting square dance entertainment to parties and social events.  Shaun ensures that you and your guests experience a level of fun and dance that surpasses all! He is passionate about square dancing and about creating a one of a kind event that your guests will always remember.  Call for booking details  for 2016 today!

 

 
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.