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.