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.
Beat Mathfortytwo.wsby Clark Bakerreprinted from Clark Baker (A Workshop presented at Callerlab 2009)
This workshop will start with a brief review of timing. Next we will discuss a methodology for measuring how many beats a call takes and use this methodology on a few calls to see if it gets the same answer as our existing timing charts. Finally we will see if "beat math" really works. Can we simply stick calls together, adding up their beats, and expect the sequence to dance in that many beats? If not, how are we supposed to use our timing numbers?
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.
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.
Following some discussion on the square dance caller's e-mail list regarding what rights the author of a square dance call may or may not have, Clark Baker's writes his opinion.
Phrase Crazefortytwo.wsby Clark Bakerreprinted from Clark Baker (a workshop presented at the 2010 CALLERLAB Convention)
This workshop will explore the relationship of patter and singing calling to the musical phrase. We start with a brief definition of terms, and move into some dancing. Does a style of delivery in which the caller gives the dancers the first beat in a phrase better? How often can a skilled caller "hit the phrase"? How can you acquire this skill? What are some examples of strongly phrased music. This will be a laboratory in which we are counting on you, as dancers, to help determine which variables really matter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.