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Other Questions 
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    I am the president of a square dance club. I am looking for information about the different types of dress attire. Up until about two months ago, I always thought that Proper and Traditional dress was the same thing as well as most of the club members in our small club.

    I quickly looked over the web site and probably overlooked where you have the attire, clothing descriptions. I have the USDA booklet and really don't say exactly what is proper. Traditional would be like what we saw at Nationals and at most dances in our area Casual would be more for theme dances. But I can't find anything on proper. Would you be able to help me out or point me in a direction. Thank you so much.

    Here's some information on Square Dance Attire:

    A lot of articles at USDA (United Square Dancers of America):

    last modified: 12-August-2020   
    Badge supplier
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    I've been looking to find a supplier of fun dangles and badges with no success. Any leads?

    Try Kent Carter
    R&J Fial International Inc
    5760 Camino Real
    Riverside CA 92509-5327
    fax 951-727-0652

    last modified: 06-March-2007   
    Century Club
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    Do you know where I could purchase some "Century Club" books from?

    CENTURY CLUB, "Merit Badge of Distinction",
    P. O. Box 57, Westfield, MA 01086 (413) 848-2243
    $2.75 plus $1.00 postage

    last modified: 24-December-2012   
    Clip Art
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    My mother and her fiance met while square/round dancing, and I am in charge of making their wedding favors. was looking for the square dance logo as a jpg file. Can you help me?

    Several pages of Square Dance Clip Art can be found at and Both have clipart available and I do believe they are public domain.

    last modified: 26-July-2006   
    Difference between Squares and Rounds
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    Perhaps you can define the difference between Square and Round dancing aside from what might be the obvious - its shape.

    A square consists of 4 couples in a rectangular formation. Movements are done working with the 8 dancers in the square. Music is almost always 2/4 or 4/4 music with about 128 beats per minute.

    Round dancing consists of one or more couples, dancing in a circle. Round dancing is similar to ballroom dancing except that dances are cued. Round dancers do foxtrots, waltzes, two-steps, rumbas, jive, etc.

    In (Modern Western) Square Dancing, a caller gives the commands, which the dancers must execute. The caller gives them in whatever order he chooses. The dancers do not know what is coming next.

    In Round Dancing, a cuer delivers a pre-choreographed dance for each piece of music. The choreo for that music is the same each time.

    last modified: 26-March-2007   
    Dress codes
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    Some members of our club are not coming back to dance because several men do not wear long sleeve shirts. Are long sleeves mandatory international or just in local clubs? When can we wear short sleeves? At 113* outside for 2 weeks now and the air not working up to par and fans all over the room and forced to dance in the basement and etc., several just will not wear long sleeves. I noticed that some women have wet arms, too. Maybe everyone should wear long sleeves on HOT nights. ?????

    While we empathize with the situation you describe, it is really not our place as an individual caller/wife team to decide what's best for your club. Our personal opinion is that if you are losing dancers, the club needs to address the problem and try to resolve it to the majority's satisfaction. We would venture to say that no dress code is mandatory in terms of global or international standards. Dress codes are imposed by individual clubs, associations, and individual dance events (like conventions/festivals) where the organizers or leaders deem it "necessary". If the requirement begins to erode our already shaky foundation of dancers, it is our opinion that the "necessity" should be revisited.

    last modified: 06-March-2007   
    Hands Up vs. Hands Down
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    It seems that there are two ways to hold hands in waves, hands up (plus and below) and hands down (advanced and up). I've heard that the hands up way of dancing started in the 70s and has taken over. Do you know if this is true? What can you tell me about these two hand holds. And if given the choice of teaching hands up or hands down, which would you prefer? Why?

    Sounds like a hornet's nest to me.

    What you're taught is what most people feel comfortable with.

    I prefer hands down.

    1. It's more comfortable in the long run. Think about it... we don't shake hands when we meet someone with hands up.
    2. It makes handholds consistent. Rather than having one style for waves, one style for couples, one style for turn thru (e.g., scoot back), keeping your hands about waist high at all times avoids you having to raise and lower hands for calls. At advanced and challenge where there's often a series of short quick calls, not having to constantly raise and lower your hands makes it easier to dance a call such as (e.g., from right-hand waves: a right & left thru).
    3. On one of my first trips to Europe, many years ago, for a C2-level weekend, I was asked by the organizer to introduce the hands-down styling. The organizer had been to challenge dances in the states, and these dances are all hands down. In any case, I tried to introduce this styling to the floor, and was met with incredibly stiff resistance (i.e., this is the way we always dance here; who are you to tell us how to dance; it's the callerlab approved styling; it's the way I was taught,; etc). One person, in particular, a caller, absolutely refused to do it (stubborn Germans!). Eventually, a compromise was reached, and we tried the styling for a few tips. Today, all challenge dances in Europe are hands down, and the stubborn caller also dances that way.
    4. Over the years, the hand height used in my local plus club has drifted downward, as the average age has increased. They now dance primarily hands down.

    last modified: 15-May-2016   
    Heads from a Squared Set
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    Issue: From a squared set, when the Heads are asked to do a call, when do they work to spots and when do they end in the center?

    I have a strong opinion about this, which may contradict how computer programs such as SD do this.

    From a Squared set, if the Heads are asked to do the call, they end in the middle ONLY if the call requires them to work with the other Head Couple. That is, if the call is a 1-dancer call, or a 2-dancer call that does not require them to work with the opposite, they do not move into the middle. I.e., Heads Partner Tag or Heads 1/4 Right ends in an "O".

    Also, I dislike calls from a Squared Set such as "Heads Once Removed Split Square Thru" since I believe they are illegal. I'd rather prefer the caller to say "Heads move in (or Press Ahead)" followed by the call.

    last modified: 19-May-2007   
    Hire a caller
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    My family lived in South Dakota for 10 years when I was young. I have fond memories of a square dance in high school: a bunch of high school sophomores taught to dance (well, to some degree) by the caller over the course of the evening. We had a great time.

    I found your website while looking for callers in my parents' neck of the woods. If you have the time, could you answer the following?

    1. Do callers routinely call small(er) events, like family reunions (I'm guessing around 50-70 people)?
    2. Do callers usually have their own music and sound system?
    3. How much should I expect to spend to hire a caller?

    Events such as family reunions come under the square dance category typically referred to as "One night stands". Dancers attending these events are not expected to know anything about square dancing. The caller teaches several easy figures, keeps the dancers moving and entertained, and gives a general introduction to square dancing and associated dance forms.

    Callers almost always have their own music and sound equipment. This typically consists of a speaker, amplifier, microphone, and music, often on 45rpm records, but nowadays on CD, MP3, and mini-disks.

    The cost of a caller depends on what you want. Do you want the caller just to call a few tips (10 or 15 minutes each), or do you want the caller to call the whole evening and/or afternoon? You need to negotiate with the caller and tell him/her what you'd like. The price depends upon many factors. For example, how many people are you expecting? How far does the caller have to travel to get to the event? Is alcohol involved? (square dancing events typically do NOT involve alcohol) What age group? What kind of facilities? Outdoors? Dance floor?

    For a one-or-two-hour dance session, expect to pay between $100 and $250.

    last modified: 25-July-2006   
    Historical information
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    I'm a writer, working on a book about Kansas (where I grew up). I'd like to know what some of the typical songs would have been for square dancing in the 1870's. Can you tell me, or tell me the best place to look?

    I suggest you try contacting

    Jim Mayo,


    Cal Campbell,

    List of 50 Calls
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    I've heard callerlab (?) has developed a new list of 50 calls attempting to make a lower level to get people into square dancing. Is this list on the web somewhere?

    In 2005, CALLERLAB adopted the Program Policy Initiative.

    This initiative is intended to encourage callers, clubs, associations, and others to experiment with different ways to introduce square dancing to the general public, and report their results to the CALLERLAB office. In 2006, the Program Policy Statement was published:

    There is no “new” list, but an encouragement from Callerlab to experiment with “less” than MS to introduce people to square dancing. The Callerlab Condensed Teaching Order was recently revised in June 2015 and can be found here:

    The Basic program still has approximately 50 calls on it and Mainstream adds another 17 to that.

    I hope this is what you're looking for.

    last modified: 15-May-2016   
    National Caller
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    I like your site-lots of good info but, I'm searching for and answer to a simple question? What exactly is a 'National Caller"? Is there some kind of special requirement, degree, task or educational level that one must meet?

    A national caller regularly travels around the country (or world) for square dance calling. A national caller has bookings in several states and often travels by air.

    There is no degree or educational level requirements.

    last modified: 02-September-2010   
    Scholarships, awards, dangles...
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    Since you and Vic have the most comprehensive website in the world, I hope you can help me. I'm looking for 3 comprehensive lists:

    1. Square dance scholarships available for High School students
    2. Square Dance special awards, i.e. Friendship Award
    3. Available dangles and requirements, i.e. purple heart when dancing with 3 callers, etc.

    Do you have any idea where I might begin to research such items?? I would appreciate any assistance. Thank you!

    1.  Square dance scholarships available for High School students

    Many scholarships are state or regional, rather than national. I'm sure I will miss a lot of them, but I've listed a number of URLs below. Some of these don't show current information, but if you seek out those responsible for the past awards, they may help lead you to current ones.

    2.  Square Dance special awards, i.e. Friendship Award

    These are fewer and farther between. Very hard to find. Mostly regional or club-specific. Many for callers, not dancers.

    3.  Available dangles and requirements, i.e. purple heart when dancing with 3 callers, etc.

    Dangles are easy. Check out these sites:

    last modified: 15-May-2016   
    Sewing patterns
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    I can't seem to find patterns for sewing of square dance clothes for women. I haven't found one website that will give a site for those of us that sew, I found 1 kwik-sew pattern which I have purchased but would like another style. I've been square dancing for 1 year and am trying to learn plus calls.


    More resources may be listed at

    last modified: 21-May-2007   
    "Rope The Cow" and "Brand The Calf"
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    I'm directing the musical "meet me in saint louis" and in the show is the song "skip to my lou" square dance and I'd like to be true to the dance and moves for authenticity. Please could you enlighten me on the moves for "rope the cow" and "brand the calf"? I hope you can help many thanks for your time in reading this.

    There are no such calls that I know of, and I can not find any reference to them anywhere either. My guess is they're just folksy-sounding names intended to please the audience.

    I did find a 'patter saying' in our Patter Sayings database, see

    This is probably what you've got. It's just a rhyme said while dancers are executing a movement. This is usually done while the dancers are dancing a time-consuming movement such as 'Promenade':

    Rope the cow, brand the calf,
    Swing your honey once and a half

    last modified: 03-September-2010   

If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to E-mail Vic at
30-September-2023 13:23:10
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