Entertaining With The Colour Of Music

Music naturally affects people in a certain way. It paints a tapestry in life comprised of certain colours. And all songs can evoke strong emotions in different people. As square dance callers we can be the musical agent in allowing others in joining particular types of music with particular colours.

As colours, songs are a device to evoke a strong emotional response or inspire many in lots of different ways. Do you have a favorite song that captures the essence of, say, 2018? As simple as it sounds, scientists have found that listening to particularly uplifting or conversely, sad music, changes the way we perceive the world.

Music and mood are intrinsically linked. Modern studies continue to manifest how these influences work at a neural level. Science has proven that the music we listen to engages a wide range of internal systems that reflect our inner thoughts, perception and emotions.

I would go so far as to say that all people use music to change their mood in a day, project a mood to others that might be within earshot of a piece of music, or even connect a crowd of people like, well, square dancers.

Dark and dull to bright and vivid, music has the power to paint many colours because of the emotional capabilities of a set of notes. And the instruments that convey the melody can be in a mix of emotions from sad to happy. And sad songs do not always translate as unhappy to all listeners. Parts of many sad songs will have a bright and positive melody line that offsets the minor-tinged lines and often the lyrics in songs can be both sad and happy at the same time.

Dancing to Music Holds the Power to Treat Depression!

Dancing offers a therapeutic opportunity to emotionally boost mood in a cathartic way which affects all who participate. I witness this all the time at square dances. Why does it happen? Because music carries emotional content that touches our mix of emotions. Memories often are tied with songs like we are replaying a soundtrack of our lives.

Everyone everywhere uses music to boost their mood and manage their overall feelings at the moment and in life on a larger scale.

Under the right circumstances, music and dance is healthy to all ages simply because of the emotional content and how the act of dancing improves their mood. Because music is effective for treating depression and it helps to deal with the stress and anxiety related to treating coronary heart disease. Add to that element dancing and you have an outstanding combination in improving your life!

As square dance callers we are the agent to provide these benefits and entertain at the same time. To me, I feel that makes this a great responsibility and honored place to be-calling for fun and allowing others to benefit in many different ways.

Square dancing is a social network that offers so much. If you are interested in best finding out, look to contact someone locally. There are many clubs throughout and nationally there are organizations that can help you if you need help getting information on groups and opportunities to partake in this great and wholesome activity.

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 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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For the Square Dance Caller: Build Compelling Choreography

The process of creating square dance singing call figures begins in finding within yourself a new recipe, and sometimes that entails taking the same old figures that have been the basis for square dancing for the past several decades and expanding that foundation into something new, fresh, and innovative. Writing creative square dance choreography that is of an effective quality in terms of both dancing interest and being memorable really rests on a bit of control.

What? It seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? Artistry in a systematic way. But the truth is, if you use some organization and good time management, you can be creative in many aspects of square dance calling just as many people who create in other arenas of the world and in life in general. You can plug into your creative potential by focusing on these optimized methods of writing square dance figures that can be powerful and then watch what happens on the dance floor as you present your efficacious combinations.

To create singing call choreography start things out with this simple method:

Generate as Many Great Choreographic Ideas as You Can

Start with a particular call or combination of a few calls you want to promote as a new dancing idea that you want to focus on and build up the figure from there. If you cannot think of an idea then think about something that you might have danced that was called by another caller lately. Or attend a class that a local caller is teaching and see if something that is being taught might spawn an idea or two for you that will work in creating something new and different. Get your hands on some old vinyl square dance records and look over the written choreography for each song for a choreographic nugget that you can mine into something great.

Make Something Out of Your Choreographic Ideas

The key thing here is callers need to envision a choreographic idea and then carry that idea through to fit in the big picture of what they are aiming to create. For individual dance programs and more. Only then can they create something that the dancers find interesting and is relevant in the big picture of square dancing overall. Shoot for creating as you are inspired and take from that inspiration to make something out of your ideas that will make anticipation a minimal thing in your program while the dancers are moving through the figures.

Choose Your Best Choreographic Ideas

The best ideas are really what you decide to choose from your list of square dance calls that you have created. Choose by looking for choreographic ideas that are astoundingly simple at first and focus on finding a powerful combination of square dance calls that will triumph over your group as you call. Use fractions of calls or variations of the most basic calls and leverage some creativity from those ideas.

Explore Uncharted Ideas

This is where you have to change your mental thinking patterns. Writing choreography, like many creative processes, takes a focus period and a rest period before you realize great ideas. And then they will come to you. For instance try fractions of calls or variations of just about any call that can be executed and you are on your way to putting something together that will keep interest high and anticipation low among the dancers.

Write Singing Call Figure Cards and Keep Ideas in a Notebook

Chronically consumed by ideas? Sometimes… Sometimes not. Usually new ideas come in spurts and so this is the time you use a caller notebook to manage your choreography. Being organized requires that you document and manage your choreography so that it is accessible for both practice time and at dances. Make your notes readable at a glance so that you can remember your ideas and command the calling of the dance comfortably. Larger lettering is good. Generally, any sequence that you write should not exceed the space of a card, and that is skipping spaces. This seems to be the ideal length of time that a sequence of calls should be before resolution of the square to the Corner Lady and Promenading in sequence to the Home Position.

Apply the Rules of Good Body Flow and Timing

The most important elements of a great singing call figure definitely counts on smooth mechanics in the execution of the moves and being able to dance those figures in time to the music. Generally, the dancers need more beats of music to perform the calls as opposed to less. The timing of the calls needs to be danceable – another aspect that you need to consider when you direct the dancers through your calls is the timing on the delivery of the calls. Your calling (delivery of the commands) must be given before the dancers are finished completing the call that they are dancing through at that moment. By doing so you will eliminate “stop and go” dancing and encourage nice smooth dancing to the music for the dancers. Body flow and delivering the calls in spot on timing combined with interesting choreography is the cornerstone of great square dance calling!

Related:  Write Your Own Square Dance Choreography

Manage your time by setting aside creative sessions. Schedule them so that they happen. Time to reach inside of yourself and find your square dance caller creative choreography water well and draw from that spring!

As someone who cares deeply about the state of square dancing, I give you the highest regards and wish you the best in your square dance calling endeavors!

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.

66th National Square Dance Convention 2017

66th National Square Dance Convention June 21-24, 2017 Cincinnati, Ohio

66th_national_square_dance_convention_2017

The Square Dance Is On!
The National Square Dance Convention is here again in Cincinnati June 21 through June 24 in downtown Cincinnati at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

The Duke Energy Convention Center  is located at 525 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio where the venue is adjoined to the city’s Skywalk  system, providing quick and easy access.

Below is the app you will want to get to find dining, shopping, entertainment and other Cincinnati information. A notable feature on this app is you can take advantage of location services, dubbed ‘near me’ which supplies you with tons of easily accessible information on the the best Downtown Cincinnati has to offer. You can view requested features in list form or via the interactive map, making navigation very simple.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/downtown-cincinnati/id453077225

Complimentary public wireless internet is offered in the Espresso Café at the main entry of the center and in limited spots on the second and third levels. For a daily fee, wireless internet is also available in other parts of the Duke Energy Convention Center. Secure wireless connections and networking options are in place for all telecommunications for this event.


No outside food or beverages are are allowed in the Duke Energy Convention Center. Food options are available within the center. PNC Bank ATMs are available in the convention center on Level 1 at the main entrance (Fifth Street and Elm Street) and in the Fifth Street Concourse (Hall B).

Within the center there are ample choices for food samplings distributed throughout the entire facility. The majority of the food outlets are located on the main level (Level 1). Some of the food offerings are listed below:

Espresso Café (Entrance Lobby)   Coffee and pastries

Black Angus (Hall A)   Serving great tasting burgers, salads and fries

La Rosa’s Pizza (Hall A)  Serves 7 inch personal pizzas

Skyline Chili (Hall A) Chili sandwiches, deli, soup, salads

Caliente (Hall A)  Fresh Mexican cuisine, burrito bowls and nachos

Panini Bistro (Hall B)  Gourmet premium sandwiches made-to-order

Cincy Fresh (Hall C)  Classic concession fast food, hotdogs, hamburgers

Additionally, there are many great restaurants and places to dine in the downtown area and you can find more information on Cincinnati dining on this link.


The Downtown Cincinnati Parking Lot Map has more information about available parking for square dancers in the vicinity around the Duke Energy Convention Center and the downtown area. Parking garages and parking lots are located north and south of the convention center. Many lots are close and convenient to this event and there is good access to and from I-75 on 6th and 5th Streets and other major roadways from there. Elm, Vine, Walnut and Main are the principle streets north and south and street metered parking is available in the nearby downtown area. Rates vary according to different time limits and vicinity parking rates vary throughout the downtown area as well. See here.

Street Parking Rates Downtown Cincinnati


Helpful Driving Directions
How to get into downtown Cincinnati from major highways
Heading Northbound:
On I-71/75: take the Second Street exit immediately after the bridge. Turn north and drive up Elm, Vine or Main streets.  On I-471: simply take the Sixth Street exit.
Heading Southbound:
On I-71: take the Third Street exit that begins before Lytle Tunnel. Turn north and drive up Elm, Vine or Main Streets.  On I-75: take the 7th Street exit (on the right) or the 5th Street exit (on the left). Keep straight after light at the end of ramp.
Heading Eastbound:
On U.S. 50: take the Second Street exit. Turn north up Elm, Vine or Main Streets. Or exit Fifth Street.
Heading Westbound:
On U.S. 50 (Columbia Parkway): take the Third Street exit. Turn north up Elm, Vine or Main Streets. Or exit Sixth Street.

A special note on major road construction: the Third Street off-ramp from I-71 southbound will be closed for one year beginning July 20, 2016. Traffic will be detoured as follows: Gilbert to East Eighth to Sycamore to Third to I-71 South

The City of Cincinnati has a very integrated and complete bus system. For schedules and fare information go to:

http://www.go-metro.com/

For more transportation information call (513) 621-4455.


For general entrance into this national square dance event, please use the main entry facing both Elm Street and 5th Street. There is a Cincinnati Destination Kiosk available for local restaurant information and nearby local attractions. Additionally, there is shielded Skywalk access from the sides of the building. All flooring in the dance halls will be the removable hardwood that can be reused at future National Square Dance Conventions.

Housing is available at these premium downtown hotels:

Magnificent Millennium Hotel Cincinnati

Hyatt Regency

Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Hampton Inn & Suites-Cincinnati Downtown

Homewood Suites by Hilton Cincinnati-Downtown

The Westin

The Skywalk access is available from the first three hotels above and the adjacent large parking garage. All outlying hotels have rooms available, however, some are requiring a 4 day stay on reservations. Early arrivals, before Wednesday, June 21, 2017, need to advance book for those nights.


Check out the Cincinnati Zoo on 3400 Vine Street with a great variety of animals and it is one of the top zoos nationally. It has a modern and clean appearance, and is easy to park and walk. All of the exhibits offer up-close visual opportunities for the entire family.

Make a visit to see the Cincinnati Reds at the majestic Great American Ball Park with Art Center. Recognized nationally and internationally as a world-class sports venue in the heart of the the US, this venue offers great promotions, great varieties of all kinds of cuisine and drink, and all can find something great and exciting at a Red’s game. There is plenty of room to roam outside the actual game and ticket prices are available at all levels. You won’t want to miss this much fun at any other ballpark!

Smale Riverfront Park has become a renovated centerpiece of downtown Cincinnati and it offers a great variety of enjoyment along this beautiful waterfront park with an antique carousel, unique children’s playground areas, water features that provide lots of fun in beautiful weather. Connecting paths lead to other parks, fun swings and benches galore to sit upon and offer a visual escape for a few minutes or a few hours while taking in the scenic views along the Ohio Riverfront. This area has been improved a great deal from the riverfront that many knew from 10 years ago with an interactive and artful layout that is both whimsical and relaxing. It celebrates the history of downtown Cincinnati, and offers simple and outdoorsy entertainment for all ages.

The Cincinnati Art Museum holds an impressive collection primarily representing artists of both contemporary and classical art, from European painting to native American pottery. This nice sized museum has some of the best collections of American paintings in the US. who have left their historic artistic heritage to the public. Free to all, however, the parking lot is not. Try visiting here, you will be glad you did! A great variety of work representing the past two hundred plus years. Have lunch at the Terrace Café.

With the American Sign Museum you can view hundreds of signs from the past. See signs from places from your childhood in a nostalgic trip to a time long forgotten. This must-see stop is a wonderland for those who like to trace their history through a true slice of Americana. For the young and old, or just those young at heart, you’ll love this place for the historic and educational insights. Signs both big and small, those from bygone eras and so many that everyone will know. Try the guided tour!

Check out the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. This cultural and educational center is highly interesting with details about the history of slavery in the United States, worldwide, and enlightenment about the sex trade. Tons of accurate historical information with pictures, videos and descriptions all relating to graphic and realistic portrayals of the slavery and freedom movement. This is a tribute to those who overcame oppression and the content is not suitable for younger audiences. This museum is in the banks area near the river close to downtown. There are many good restaurants in the area to stop for a bite to eat.

Shopping is aplenty throughout Cincinnati. There are plenty of specialty shops, antique stores, restaurants, clothing stores, and more than 200 retail businesses all highlight the general area around downtown. Spend a little time in the downtown area and experience life in the Midwest, loaded with restaurants, local events and enjoyable modern shopping.


The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is only 13 miles away from the national convention venue.

The Dayton International Airport (DAY) is just 66 miles north of downtown Cincinnati.


Check out a local square dance club or two while you are in town, either before the convention or after! This fun-filled and family focused annual square dance festival will be fully loaded with fantastic, energetic fun, education for square dance callers and square dancers alike, plenty of things to do, entertainment for all, and, of course, the reason to go in the first place. Square dancing!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

Expectations in Square Dancing?

What do you think is expected from you as the square dance caller at a dance? Probably a lot more than you had initially realized. What do you expect of yourself as a caller, too? Expectations in square dancing completely set the bar for everything a square dance caller needs to stay focused on. So ponder upon some of the following ideas:

The Dancer’s Viewpoint

Reflecting upon a dancer’s perspective, expectations of you, as a caller, is someone who is perceived as knowing how to entertain with personality, showmanship, calling skills, and even humor. These also are some of the main ingredients to making a dance memorable. I like to think of myself as a successful entertainer with tons of hours of entertaining under his belt. I also have learned a lot about being a showman and how to respect my audience – in delivering interesting choreography, making engaging moments with the dancers, and always staying focused on delivering a professional performance. These are all virtues that every caller should strive for and every dancer expects these kinds of qualities at every dance they attend.

Being Organized and Focused

Based on the dancer’s needs, expectations and circumstances they will give you recommendations to other clubs. If you are dealing with an organizer of a special event, the same goes for that contact and the possibility of a referral. Remember that you, as an entertainer, handle all the preparations regarding negotiations, contracts and all other details with the club or event planner for the square dance event. In order for the total overall successful accomplishment of the event from start to finish you will have to be fully prepared. Spend time on your program, choreography, polishing up your performances and repertoire of songs.

Setting a Starting Point

Meeting expectations involves two things – motivation and choice – if you expect something that you want to happen, then you will choose the particular goals and activities to best achieve what you want as a successful outcome. This is so true of anyone who is a student caller looking for sources of motivation and choosing what to do (or not do) in their pursuit of advancing their square dance calling proficiency, and eventually, mastery and success in reaching their intended result. Set goals and focus on exceeding them. Like making your weak choreographic ideas stronger and your overall program better and more engaging.

Square Dance Caller Coach

The square dance coach’s overall role is to promote the growth and development of the beginning student caller and to improve learning and advancement of calling abilities and proficiency. When a new coach is hired, they will give a full study program and will be expected to impact learning in an extreme and effective manner at the very start, thereby initiating a period of apprenticeship for the new square dance caller student to benefit from. A really great coach will not only be knowledgeable, they will understand the expectations of the student within that new caller’s perspective.

Expect Some Self Reflection…

So set aside the program and the choreography for a minute and spend a little time thinking about the dancer’s expectations. Your expectations. If you are learning to call, what your square dance caller coach’s expectations are of you. Focus on your role and meet those expectations by being prepared to EXCEED all of those expectations.

Then you will develop stronger relations with everyone you deal with in the square dance realm, everyday!

Your end goal as a square dance caller is to always exceed dancer’s expectations, deliver a memorable and entertaining dance and make the persons who hired you look like a bunch of winners.

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 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.

 

 

 

Classic Square Dance Singing Call Figures

Modern Western square dance has a deep rooted background that is based upon tradition. At a dance, the ultimate goal is to have a great time with friends. Dancing it up on the dance floor. There definitely is a time for dancing where the dancers do not need to think too much in terms of choreography, and this happens when faster paced song numbers that bring excitement – when all of a sudden everyone hears it – the song everyone can’t resist – is used in your program. The song the dancers just HAVE to dance to. Their feet really have no choice in the matter!

Classic songs that have a timeless quality are the perfect vehicle for using classic square dance singing call figures. Traditional songs in square dancing lend themselves well to dancing because of nostalgic reasons that take baby boomers back in time and many millennials might be familiar with some of these old square dance songs. Certainly, all persons will want to participate in an old tradition of dancing and participating in a sing-along in unison.

This is a perfect time to use some classic choreography that the dancers are already familiar with so they can really cut loose. And they might even know what is going to be called next. But that’s OK this time. A classic high energy singing call is a perfect time to instill the dancers with simpler choreography sequences to ensure overall success.

Below are four classic singing call figures that make for almost mindless dancing – just what is needed to jazz up a sing-along or a classic traditional song, or just a faster paced or highly energetic piece of square dance music. These are nothing ground-breaking or unique, they simply have withstood the years and have lasting worth and for that reason are classics.

So let the dancers Have. The. Time. Of. Their. Lives!

CALLING TIP! Check with the square dance club officers about their group’s ability level and whether or not they want star tips during the dance to help in making your program plan.

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Square Thru 4 Hands
Swing Thru
Boys Run Right
Ferris Wheel
Centers Square Thru Three Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Do Sa Do
Swing Thru
Boys Run Right
Bend the Line
Flutterwheel
Slide Thru
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Square Thru
Right & Left Thru
Do Sa Do
Pass Thru
Trade By
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Heads (Sides) Square Thru
Do Sa Do
Swing Thru
Spin the Top
Right & Left Thru
Square Thru Three Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

Simple and lively and enjoyable! Relax yourself and the dancers with these four classic sequences and happy 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 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.

Modern Western Square Dance: What Really is Traditional?

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

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

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

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

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

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

All based upon people enjoying the company of others.

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

Best Regards,

Shaun Werkele 

303-250-4735

 

 

 

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

Original Plus Level Singing Call Figures Using Diamond Formations

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day!

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

 

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

Progressive Mainstream Singing Call Figures: All Eight Circulate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy using this with your square dancers!

 

Shaun Werkele

303-250-4735

 

 

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

Teaching Square Dance Classes With Music Appreciation

Teaching Music Appreciation in Square Dance Classes

If you are a modern western square dance caller, I promise you take for granted the full power of teaching square dance classes. This is why you do. So much is accomplished in the set of classes that a person attends, classes not only teach the student new calls, the classes allow all to practice previously learned calls from earlier sessions. Other dancers can show students the choreography and simple dance steps that are questioned during rest breaks at class sessions in addition to calling instruction.  

The foundation of learning square dance: some basic steps based upon mechanical movements such as forearm turns, stars, and hand-shake pull-bys and formations such as Lines, Ocean Waves, and Circles of dancers – these are the basics to approach to teaching square dance for every caller. In order for the square dance caller to be optimal in his teaching some preparation needs to be put into what should be taught, when those figures will be taught, and what order is best in effectively accomplishing the instruction of the lists of calls required for a dancer to graduate.

But there are other things that need to be discussed in square dance classes other than choreography…

Teaching square dancing should also entail some music appreciation. If you think about it, square dance is about music and dancing first, everything else is second place to that. So building upon music appreciation is a superb approach to teaching square dance. And by adding the teaching of music appreciation along with learning some basic steps and formations works very well together. Set aside time in classes to teach about the history of square dance and provide a beginning foundation about square dance music and that is danced to.

The modern square dance “tip” is mostly composed of a two part combination of hoedown patter calls and singing calls to popular music. This gives you as a caller two opportunities to provide the history of a particular traditional song, or perhaps you select a song that is classically influenced. Yes, indeed, there are songs that harmonically and historically draw from musical periods in our past, or have a background in different genres of music, such as the jazz age, classic rock and roll, or even today’s techno-pop dance music.

As a caller and teacher, you need to enlighten your students and give them some brief history of square dancing and it’s evolution and growth.  It is your responsibility to expose your dancers to some old fashioned “pickers.” Fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin are all grass roots of the square dance sound and you can point out details in the music when you teach. Before you call a song, give a little information about the instrumentation that is featured on the record. Most people will not know the difference between a guitar and a mandolin, but if you point out what they are going to hear, then they can grow in their understanding of music.

By doing two things, first provide music that the dancers can appreciate, and second, teach them to develop their ear to better identify instruments, styles of music, and even song pieces by their musical period, then they are learning more than just square dance choreography.

Students will grow in their understanding of music as they listen to what you program. As students become dancers, they will develop their ear to identify instruments, musical pieces, and musical periods by their sound. If you use music terminology then everyone will also learn music terminology and they might even start to use a musical language  to accurately discuss square dance music.

Best Wishes,

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.

Singing Calls: Making Minor Changes…

Modern western square dance callers will all make mistakes at their dances!….and dancers will make them too! Both calling and dancing can be challenging and amazingly hard at times due to the unexpected choreography of the caller. Throw in a collection of square dancers that have a varied range of abilities and everything can become jumbled… difficult for the dancers to complete all of the choreography and even harder for the caller to keep everyone moving, but the great thing about square dancing is recovering from those occasional mistakes is often part of the fun. In fact, making mistakes is proof that everyone is trying and learning!

When calling, a discrete judgment needs to be made about various square dance movements and how much the dance floor can handle as far as difficulty is concerned. Mistakes are OK, but if the dancers falter too much, the “dancing lesson” becomes almost miserable, and you have become the “funinator” and respect for you as a caller will become diminished. Since we are all very human in nature, we, as dancers, might simply blame the caller in our mistakes. And momentum and energy can be lost due to squares breaking down on the dance floor.

This is a very thin line to walk for a caller, providing great overall interest in the choreography that is presented while at the same time keeping everyone smiling and happy and dancing.

Singing calls, however, do not always permit the dancers much time to recover from involved choreography. Generally, basic and more simplistic choreography in singing call figures are the better ones to use in your square dance calling program. As a caller, you can encourage proficient dancing by offering different twists in your patter part of the hoedown and then follow that up with a themed quad of sequences in the singing call figures. What I am saying is you can improve your program with a stronger formula for calling and dancing success by working on new ideas first, in the hoedown part of the tip, and then following that up with those same choreographic ideas, or perhaps similar ones that are on the simpler side of things in the singing call figures.

Here are four figures that provide minor changes on the overused and cliched “Heads Promenade Halfway…Square Thru Four Hands” that will offer both strengthening dancer ability and some good variety in choreography at the same time:

 

CALLING TIP! Focus on using many different square dance calls throughout the entire night. This will make the interest high so that the dancers cannot anticipate what is next!

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Walk in Square Thru 4 Hands
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Ferris Wheel
Square Thru 3 Hands
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Walk in Square Thru 4 Hands
Swing Thru & Girls Turn Around
Wheel & Deal
DoSaDo
Pass Thru
Trade By
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Walk in Square Thru 4 Hands
Swing Thru
Boys Run
Ferris Wheel
Centers Touch a Quarter
Box Circulate
Box Circulate
Swing Corner & Promenade Home

 

Heads (Sides) Promenade Halfway
Walk in Square Thru 3 Hands
Separate & Walk Around 2
Eight & Back
Bend the Line
Touch a Quarter
Boys Run Right
Swing Corner & Promenade

 

The last sequence poses the most difficulty and it has a Bend the Line with Facing Lines that are Half Sashayed. This could be a little more difficult as this is not called very often in this choreographic position.

Give these a try in your evening’s dance and let the dancers learn a little and enjoy a lot!

Best Wishes,

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.