Nuts And Bolts (book)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document Kip Garvey (kip@kipgarvey.com) 5 March, 2017 Book

This 190 page book by one of the legendary figures in MWSD presents an analysis of choreographic structure for modern western square dance callers and dancers. With over 50 years experience as a professional square dance caller, Kip presents the principles of calling current day square dance for readers interested in understanding underlying concepts and technique with emphasis on the technical aspects of choreography. This deep dive into choreographic theory is loaded with graphic illustrations and many Getout, Conversion and Transition call modules. It is a text that should be in every caller’s library.

Click on the “Book” link to the left to see more information and purchase online.


Enticing New Callers

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Arlene Kaspik (amkaspik@comcast.net), Janice Cha (Janice.cha@sbcglobal.net) July 30, 2016

Here is a report from Arlene M. Kaspik about the New Callers Seminar that took place during the ILLINOIS SD CONVENTION, July 30, 2016, in Itasca. We are so incredibly thrilled by the potential new callers in our midst. Way to go, Arlene! – Janice (Illinois 2016 SD Convention co-chair). You can read the full report below.

Several callers asked me to provide a follow-up report on the new callers seminar held just prior to the Illinois State Square Dance Convention. Here it is!

For the past few years Barry Johnson and I hosted a 1 hour or 90 minute session/chat “So You Think You Might Want to Become a Caller” as part of the Illinois State Convention. We had a dream of expanding it in to a seminar that included microphone time as well as just talking about what it takes to become a caller and opportunities for caller schools. It is our belief that for the activity to continue we not only need new dancers, we need new callers as well. This year that dream became a reality.

We had absolutely no budget for the event. The room(s) were included in the convention committee’s negotiations. Other than that, the panelists donated their time and I donated the cost of reproducing a packet of information for the participants. The packet included a list of “full-fledged caller schools coming up in the next couple of months, information on formation and arrangements, basic information on CRAMS, how to find and purchase square dance music, and the usual materials found in a beginner’s packet.

Presenters were all Illinois callers who donated their time: Bob Asp, Curt Braffet, Barry Johnson and Ozzie Pearl. Our goal was to reach out to really new callers and talented dancers that we tho ugh might make good callers. Janice Cha and Bobby Poyner helped a great deal with publicity. Word of mouth and personal invitation were al so tactics in attracting attendees. I had hoped for 6 potential new callers – maybe 8. By the time convention rolled around we had 18 participants and about 75% of them had never picked up a microphone before. Exactly the audience we had hoped for and larger than I imagined in my wildest dreams.

In the morning and, for a short time after lunch, there were presentations on software and technology, music, showmanship and an introduction to choreography and resolving a square from a corner box. The bulk of the afternoon provided each participant with the opportunity to pick up a microphone, move dancers around and resolve a square. About 10 days prior to convention I received a phone call from the convention chair asking me if I was open to the idea of a “new callers open mic” from 10 until 11 am on Sunday morning. I eagerly agreed to promote the concept at the seminar. I had hoped that 5 or 6 of the attendees would sign up for a slot and I made the assumption that the presenters and I could fill in any holes in the schedule. Eleven freshly minted callers signed up to call on Sunday morning and they called to a packed room. As a matter of fact, other rooms on the same floor of the hotel came to the open mic room to steal dancers for their floor. Passers by would hear the joy and enthusiasm and poke their heads in to see what was happening. Most of them stayed to dance a bit.

Even though the information packet had some short, easy sequences for the new callers to use, they all wrote their own choreography and used it with a high success rate. Some chose to track me down to read through their choreography but most of them did not. AND they were amazing!

I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of this one-day seminar. It did exactly what we hoped it would do: Give potential new callers a taste of what it’s like to call. The workshop also attracted exactly the type of person we were hoping to reach. OK, 1 or 2 were a more seasoned but most of them were truly first time callers.

At the Illinois Callers’ Association meeting on Sunday morning, the group began a discussion of “where do we go from here” and “how do we build on this success.” Several callers agreed to mentor the attendees in their area. We are also looking at expanding this concept in 2018. More on that as it unfolds!



Tim Marriner’s Caller Education Page

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Tim Marriner Website

Tim Marriner was a CALLERLAB Accredited Caller Coach who created and published a large quantity of caller educational material over the years. Tim generously made this wealth of informative articles available for free download in PDF format. Sadly, Tim died suddenly in 2016, depriving square dancing of one of its most knowledgeable and articulate advocates.


Taminations

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Brad Christie (brad@bradchristie.com) Website

This site contains a tool that allows viewers to watch an animation of a call being performed, often from a variety of starting formations. It provides an excellent educational tool to assist both dancers and callers in understanding the action of calls. It covers calls for programs from Basic to C3B. A mobile version of the tool is also available that can be operated offline on an Android or iPhone device.


2017 Caller Schools

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document CALLERLAB Home Office 2017-03-15 List of 2017 Schools

This document contains a listing of Caller Schools sponsored and staffed by CALLERLAB members for 2017. This listing is provided as a service to CALLERLAB members for information. This listing does not constitute endorsement of the listed schools in preference to any that may not be listed. Only schools that are reported to us are listed. For further information, please contact the school of your choice.


Caller Mentoring Guidelines

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document CALLERLAB Caller Training Committee (callertraining@callerlab.org) 2013-01-06 Full Document

This document was prepared by the Caller Training Committee to assist those callers who are mentoring newer callers. (See document abstract below)

If you are thinking of becoming a Mentor for a new caller, this booklet is designed to help a more experienced caller to work with a new caller. If a friend wants to learn to call, the experienced caller can just give them a record and help them learn a singing call. However, callers know that there is more to calling than memorizing a singing call. If the experienced caller wants to really help, they need to become a Mentor. This booklet will provide ideas for being a Mentor to a new caller. The committee expects that the Mentor will work with the student caller for a period of time that can be up to two years. The new caller would become more independent over that time, but could consult with the Mentor when needed.

A potential caller may get started by trying a singing call at an amateur night, by teaching square dancing in combination with called recordings, or by developing an interest in choreography. Most often the new/potential caller sings a singing call at a club dance and is encouraged by their dancer friends to continue learning to call. The new caller does not yet have a complete idea of the complexity of calling and needs guidance. As a Mentor, you can provide that help, but may yourself want some guidance. CALLERLAB’s Caller Training Committee hopes that you will be able to use this booklet as a framework.

First, if a new caller has successfully performed one or more singing calls, they should be encouraged to understand the complexities of learning more about calling. A recommended step would be to have the new caller buy the Starter Kit which is available from CALLERLAB at a cost of $25. This kit includes names and pictograms of formations, names and pictograms of arrangements, some definitions of common terms used by callers, the Standard Basic and Mainstreams Handbook, and copies of the call definitions. The information in this kit gives a new caller a sense of how complex calling can be. This kit is an excellent reference tool. You, as a Mentor, will be the person who can help the new caller use this tool.

Each section of this “Mentor’s Guide” talks about important skills or knowledge that a caller should have. There are also homework sheets and suggested exercises that the mentor caller can use to help the new caller.

CALLERLAB’s Caller Training Committee has tried to put the sections in a logical progression, but you may want to vary your approach. The order is not set in stone to be followed exactly. It is designed to be delivered at your discretion so that the student caller can build upon a foundation of knowledge and skills. The student
caller should not rush through the sections, but should take the time to master the skills in each chapter. The mentor needs to be able to advise the student caller that he/she needs more practice in a certain skill, and ask for completed homework that shows the skill is being mastered.

Calling is delivering commands to music with timing so that the dancers can move smoothly to the music and commands without stopping. Because music is so important, our first section is designed to introduce the student caller to music structure and help him/her deliver calls in a way that relates to the music.

Understanding the calls is mandatory to a caller’s delivery of smooth flowing patter. Too often a new caller wants to become a “sight caller” and rushes past needed skills to work on sight resolution. We, the committee members who are writing these guidelines, want to stress that without proper foundation knowledge of what the calls accomplish, a caller cannot become an effective “sight caller”.

Finally, please understand that members of the Caller Training Committee are interested in helping you to mentor a new caller. If you are confused by any of the content, please contact us through the CALLERLAB Home Office at 1-785-783-3665.

Thank you for becoming a Mentor.



Caller Drill Program

Article Type Submitter Date Links Description
Idea Barry Clasper (barry@clasper.ca) 2015-05-29 Callarama Program

One of the most difficult parts of learning to call is finding opportunities to practice with live dancers. Today’s computer technologies could compensate for some of that by providing a program to drill callers that are in the process of learning choreographic techniques that require them to quickly see patterns and make decisions about how to manipulate the square. The most obvious use would be to practice sight resolution techniques, but there are lots of others. Callarama is a program which accepts voice command input and executes the call with a display of animated dancers. As it exists today it is too slow to serve as a drill program, but (presumably) it could be tweaked to allow for that use. Perhaps CALLERLAB could approach the owner and offer to fund a specialized version of the program aimed at caller training.