by Debi Bliss

Step on the beat of the music ....
Though we are much different than your average dancing we still strive to take one step on each downbeat of the music. Calls have a specific "timing". That means there is "x" number of beats/steps to complete a call. If you take one step per beat you will find that you will have an easier time in accomplishing each call.

Keeping the square smaller ....
It's easy for a square to get out of control. If you step on the beat of the music and don't take long, lunging steps, you will automatically keep your square smaller but there are other things that are helpful.

When promenading home the men should "spiral" inward so that their elbows are almost touching. This is a great help to the ladies - those that have the shorter legs and are trying to cover more distance.

Breath with the square. When Heads Promenade or any movement where two couples have to travel around the outside, the other two couples should move in so that the outside couples do not have as far to travel. Just be sure to "breath out" if that couple has to come into the center of the square.

Keep moving....
There are times when some couples are inactive and it is easier for the inactive couples to get started again if they are not standing totally still. Small little steps in place, or a small (very small) step forward and back, anything to keep the beat of the music will help you get started easier when it's now your turn to be active.

Callers "stack" calls ....
Callers give the call before you get to the spot where you start the call. This is so that your feet do not stop between calls. But another thing a caller may do (especially in singing calls) is stack a few calls together so that he can get in some of the words to the song. It's not that many, maybe two or three, but you need to remember to finish one call before starting the next. Say them in your head as you complete each one and don't try to rush them.

Are you feeling rushed? .....
I just told you not to rush calls but there are a few times that you just have to. Maybe the square took a little too long on another call and now you need to make up a few beats.

There are a few calls that you can omit if you are feeling rushed and need to catch up. We only give a couple here but when you are more experienced at various positions you will likely find a few of your own.

DOSADO is one call you can simply not do. You end up right back where you started, looking at the same person. Sometimes this may startle the person you are supposed to do the Dosado with so be sure to help this other person. sometimes a simple "wait" will do, or if you have time you can say, "we don't have to do this call."

PROMENADE is a call where everyone is getting used to hearing "short". The rule is that if you are only a few steps from home you are supposed to promenade ALL the way around. It is also the norm that the Number One man is the leader of the set and the one that calls "short" but if you are feeling rushed and need the extra time to recover you can also call "short". If you watch the more experienced dancers you might see a cute little movement where the man takes his partner in a short promenade out of the square and then back in. This works nicely too. Watch for it and learn!

SWING before a Promenade is easily left out.

Those are the easiest calls to catch up some time -- and probably the only ones I should recommend. You will learn other tricks as you dance and watch others.

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