How is your club doing? Growing? Having a great time each dance night? Financially sound? Supporting other clubs, area association and state association? Feel welcome each dance night? Feel part of the gang at the club? Attractive dance facility? (PDF document)
Ever danced in a square that suddenly broke down? Ever wish there was a way to fix things and keep on dancing with the rest of the hall? Take heart - this article illustrates several different ways to keep on dancing!
The issue of unsolicited helping while square dancing is very complex. The net gain from helping a square (the gains from getting more material minus the loss due to ill will and bad feelings) may not be as large as you think.
When we were introduced to BASIC level square dancing, we were presented with a list of the "10 Basic Rules of Square Dancing Etiquette" which included items like "Always use a deodorant" and "Don't drink before attending a dance."
After many years of dancing, we have additional items to add to the list, based on observations of behavior that is questionable.
Being a club angel: what's in it for you? Some of the answers in this article may surprise you. (Keep in mind that even students with only a couple of months under their belts, can benefit from angelling a new Basic class.) There have been excellent articles on how to angel, and on appropriate behavior for both angels and students in a square dance class. Rather than discuss how to angel, let’s examine why it’s important for dancers to angel.
Many new dancers are reluctant to attend the annual IAGSDC Convention because they don't know what to expect. This article was written just for them. (Or for any dancer who hasn't attended an IAGSDC Convention before.) This version of the Guide adds photos. Enjoy!
There is a desperate need to increase the number of square dancers, particularly younger dancers. Though this proposal was formulated with the San Diego County area in mind, the suggestions in this article would be appropriate elsewhere.
The first attempt to provide some standardization of square dance terminology was undertaken by the late Bob Osgood who was the editor of Square Dance magazine (known as Sets in Order). For more than a year in the late 1960's Bob assembled a group of leading callers from around North America and asked them to identify the calls that new dancers should be taught. This Gold Ribbon Committee finally agreed on a list that was published in the December 1968 issue of the magazine. It was a list of 50 terms that became widely known and accepted as the SIO 50 Basics.
Very few people realize just how much the Rocky Mountain Square Dance Camp has done in training, inspiring, and encouraging many of our country's leading Square Dance callers and Round Dance instructors. More than one ambitious callers today have had their careers launched by having been given the chance to serve on the staff of the Rocky Mountain Square Dance Camp.
In squares of eight across the country, Americans from senior-citizen age on down are linking arms, sashaying, and "do-si-doing" themselves to longer, healthier, and happier lives. They're having a blast and also lowering their risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, age-related memory loss, osteoporosis, and depression.
Many have been worried about the decline of square dancing since the
mid-1980's. Over time people have proposed many solutions, some of
which actually work. Clark Baker recommends studying to
understand how society has changed, how we can recruit in this new
era, and how we may wish to change our product.
Square dancing needs a resumption of caller leadership to teach new dancers and provide a choreographically easy enough dance environment for those new dancers to succeed. From our leadership, we must have a love and passion for square dancing. In addition, we need to restore a mutual respect for each other, as well.
We need to be able to motivate dancers as to the importance of recruiting, and the necessity of being patient and understanding with the new dancers we do teach.
Patter music can be less structured than singing call music, giving a much larger range of music from which to choose. Often our patter music is more drab and boring than our singing call music. Sometimes this is necessary so that the dancers won't get distracted by the music. However, sometimes it is nice to let accomplished dancers dance to a good piece of music. Music from outside the normal square dance arena is another way of providing variety, getting away from boom-chuck, certain instrumentation, and other constraints we impose upon ourselves.
Today's square dance activity is suffering form a great many more negative opinions than positive attitudes. Jerry asks callers, dancers, and even organizations to do some hard thinking about their current attitudes and what positive changes we all can make for the good of square dancing.
A square dance caller makes many decisions while performing his job. Some of these decisions are easy and obvious, especially to experienced callers. Others are not so easy, and different callers may make different decisions when presented with identical situations. Usually the results of a decision are minor, or can be easily fixed. Occasionally the decision has far reaching consequences.
Standard applications are those combinations of calls and formations that are most frequently called, and which give a high dancer success rate. When a caller goes beyond this basic 'norm', dancers tend to break down because they are given unfamiliar positions from which to do the call. This article focuses on those Extended Applications, how and when to use them while keeping them fun and attainable.
I have always felt that there are more than a few types of gimmicks. However I have never taken the time to collect and analyze the various types. Making a presentation on this subject at the 2005 Callerlab meeting has forced me to collect my thoughts and write this paper.
This talk will focus on my experiences in working with 7th graders, teaching a progressive series of classes, leading to a school-wide performance. Areas covered include crowd control, choreography, teaching techniques, handling reluctant dancers, dealing with attitude, a core vocabulary of calls and skills, teaching words, and learning speed.
We end with a quick walkthru of calls that look good in exhibition (Stars, Allemande Thar, Grand Square, Dip And Dive, Heel & Toe, Star Promenade & Butterfly Whirl) which you could use in any ONS. Finally we dance the routine to phrased calling.
Teaching is one of the most important jobs of any caller. We should be prepared to undertake this task each time we pick up our microphone. Teaching can be as formal as a regular class or workshop situation or as informal as a discussion of a particular move or concept over coffee after a dance. Teaching people to dance is not only one of our most important skills, it is also one of the most difficult.
As a caller ... what do you do when only 6 dancers show up? Get trashy! This article, on how to choreograph and call for 6 dancers plus two wheeled garbage cans, first appeared in the GCA "Call Sheet" Newsletter.
There are limits to what the human mind can do.
Studying those limits---and how people cope with
them---can tell us much about what makes square
dancing easy or hard: The closer a call or sequence
comes to pushing those limits. the harder it
is to perform. Looking at how people cope with
their limits can tell us much about how people learn
square dancing. and thus provide guidance for setting
up teaching orders and plateau progressions.
Duets are a great tool to be used by callers, if two callers are compatible with each other, however a danger exists when two callers are non - compatible. Nothing sounds worse than to listen to two callers trying to work with each other - and can't.
This workshop focuses on doing certain calls from unusual setups. The calls I use are Acey
Deucey, Horseshoe Turn, Load the Boat, and Pass and Roll. The first three of these calls
are interesting because they have different parts for the centers and ends. Often, both the
centers' and ends' parts can be done from several different setups. This gives us quite a
variety of overall starting setups for the call.
This paper presents asymmetric (or non-symmetric) choreography: what it is, how to get into it, how to resolve from it and how, when and why to use it. It gives lots of examples and hints on how to keep it simple. This paper was originally written for Advanced and Challenge callers, and contains some references to calls on these programs. Presented at Callerlab 2010 and 2011.
Hexagons are a method of having six couples dance from a six-sided "at home" formation. Clark Baker independently found that it was possible to have a Hexagon dancing in the back of the hall while the caller was calling to standard squares. There are several key differences in Clark's method versus my method. Because of that, I've started calling his version "East Coast" and this method "West Coast."
Square dancing is usually danced by 4 couples who start each sequence in a square formation. This paper describes how 6 couples can start each sequence in a hexagon formation, and dance the same choreography with the same timing as the usual square. Certain dancers will enjoy this twist on square dancing.
Recently the definitions committee has been faced with updating the definition of Shakedown. Looking at some of the issues and decisions faced while changing Shakedown will give you some insight into the definitions business in general. In writing definitions we generally want to document how the call works today without allowing applications which violate the "sense" or "essence" of the call.
There are times when we want to use Two Couple Calling as a programming or showmanship tool. There are other times when we may have less than two full squares and we want to get as many dancing as we can. This paper provides insight on how to effectively utilize this type of calling and includes some of the pitfalls as well.
A zero is a call or sequence of calls that ends with the same setup it started from; in other words, an equivalent to no call at all, formation-wise.
Equivalents are two calls or sequences of calls that start with the same setup and end with the same setup.
Orlo gives us some examples in this article.
When should you learn a new dance level?
More specifically, when should you move up to Advanced or Challenge?
This article talks about what you can reasonably expect if you decide to move up to Advanced or Challenge dancing.
So you're thinking about taking Challenge lessons. You will find Challenge square dancing to be intellectually challenging and stimulating. It can be done and done well. And it is fun to dance at the Challenge levels.
The Once Removed concept is one of the hardest and least understood concepts in Challenge square dancing.
This paper provides an explanation of this concept for most of us. This will be done by showing sample calls with some discussions of the nuances of the examples including discussion of the strategy to be used for the call.
Clark Baker's definitive work on Challenge Dancing written in 1978. Including discussions on Naming Conventions, Setups and Formations, Descriptive Terminology, Concepts, Extensions and Variations, Calls and more.
SCATTER is a motion-based concept where the leaders in a wave (or line) who would normally flip over into their partner's space, dance to the spot that the other lead would normally flip into and adopt the identity of that dancer.
Round Dancing is couples ballroom dancing. The name Round
Dancing is derived from the circle formed by dancing couples.
Rhythms & patterns are the same as International Ballroom,
Exhibition & Studio dance. This book is written for Round
Dancing. Terms & descriptions of other dance forms are included.
Have you ever heard a new sound effect for a call, and wondered where it came from? More importantly, have you ever wondered HOW a new sound effect is created? This article traces a sound effect as it evolved from its first use into its now-popular usage all over the world.
Barstool Dancing is an after party or hallway gimmick that I have been using to entertain square dancers for many years. I don't remember who invented it. It's really just the Anchor Concept from C4 called to a mini-square with the same dancer anchored for every call.
Assume that you know how to square dance. Not only that, but that you are good at it. Perhaps you have already learned some Advanced and Challenge dancing. Perhaps you are even a little bored at the current dance, weekend, festival, or convention. Or perhaps you just want a slight change to make things interesting. What you need is a square game -- something you or your square can do while the caller is calling to the rest of the folks.