Behind The Mike Newsletter

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Barry Wonson (bjwonson@gmail.com)

Behind The Mike Newsletter Archive

Behind The Mike is a newsletter for callers and cuers published out of Australia by Barry Wonson. It typically contains lots of material on choreography, music, teaching and other topics of value to callers and cuers.

Digital Music Information (from Barry Johnson)

Article Type Summary Author Last Update Description
Summary / Document Barry Clasper (barry@clasper.ca) 2018-06-27

In 2008 Barry Johnson wrote a suite of documents that take you through the ins and outs of digital music: how to connect equipment, where to get it, how to edit it, and how to manage it. The articles are listed below (click on title to view PDF):

Digital Music and Data Files
A general description of what digital music is, the terminology used, various formats, and how it works
Connecting Your Turntable
A description of how to connect your turntable to your laptop in order to digitize your existing music that resides on vinyl.
Making Music With Audacity
How to use the free Audacity music editing program to edit your digital music; including initial recording and noise removal, looping, cropping, tempo/pitch changes, etc.
Managing Dances With SqView
This document explains how to use the free SqView program to manage and play your digital music. SqView is geared especially to callers and cuers and contains many of the music management tools they particularly require.


Sustainable Square Dance Teaching Guide

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

CALLERLAB Sustainable Square Dance Committee (info@callerlab.org)

2018-07-01

SSD Teaching Guide

In 2016 CALLERLAB authorized the formation of the Sustainable Square Dance Committee and charged it with the task of developing materials to support callers interested in exploring the use of the experimental lesson system that has come to be known as Sustainable Square Dance. Earlier versions of this system have been in use in some areas for quite some time under the name Club 50.

This system is designed to create a 50 call entry program that can be taught quickly, roughly 12 weeks, and yet serve as a realistic destination program for long-term square dancers. While the idea of a shortened entry list is certainly not unique to this system, its design differs in providing a mechanism for keeping dancers in the entry program for at least 2 years, and in many cases, forever.

The publication of the SSD Teaching Guide represents the first deliverable to assist callers in using this system. It provides a lesson plan and sample choreography to help callers entertain dancers with a limited number of calls for a long period of time.


Goldwave Music Editing Software

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Goldwave Inc.

Website

Goldwave is a music recording and editing program. It permits recording from a variety of sources and producing a variety of sound file formats. It has features for pitch and tempo shifting, noise elimination (such as clicks and pops), cropping or extending recordings, adjusting bass/treble balances, and much more.


Audacity Audio Editor and Recorder Program

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Audacity Team

Website

Audacity is a free multi-track audio editing program that runs on several platforms including Windows, Linux, and MAC OS. It permits recording from a variety of sources and producing a variety of sound file formats. It has features for pitch and tempo shifting, noise elimination (such as clicks and pops), cropping or extending recordings, adjusting bass/treble balances, and much more.

CALLERLAB recently ran an education session on Audacity and you can find the handout here. The Audacity website contains full documentation under the HELP selection on the masthead.


Square Dance Rotation Program (SQROT)

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Vic Ceder (vic@ceder.net)

Website

The Square Rotation Program (SQROT) is used at a dance to assign dancers to squares. The objective is to ensure a thorough mixing of dancers such that each dancer dances with as many different people as possible. The program handles single dancers and can also manage special situations such as: students who should dance as much as possible and preferably mixed in with experienced dancers; dancers who need regular sitouts; dancers acting as angels; and couples who do not wish to be split up. Other features include support for dancers scanning in using barcodes, and access to square assignments using cellphones.


Ceder Square Dance System (CSDS)

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Vic Ceder (vic@ceder.net)

Website
Flyer

CSDS (Ceder Square Dance System) is a comprehensive program that incorporates under one roof all the facilities needed by square dance callers. The program allows the user to:

  • Write square dance choreography
  • Store and retrieve square dance sequences or modules
  • Store and retrieve getouts (resolves) and getins
  • Manipulate lists of square dance calls
  • Generate bitmap pictures of formations
  • Display sequences for calling from a laptop
  • Organize and play music files
  • Display cue sheets and lyrics for singing calls


SD – A Square Dance Caller’s Helper

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Bill Ackerman (wba@alum.mit.edu)

Website

Before computers, callers worked out choreography by moving “checkers”. A set of checkers had 8 pieces that represented the dancers, usually representing the gender and relationships of the dancers with shape and color coding. The caller then physically pushed the checkers through the motions of the calls to keep track of how the sequence worked. This process was time consuming and error prone. SD is a computer program that performs the same function which greatly speeds up the process of writing and dramatically reduces errors. The program is available free of charge from the website. It has both Windows and Linux versions.


SqView Music Management Program

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Thomas Bernhed (thomas@sqview.se)

Website

SqView is a music management program for callers, cuers and line dance leaders. It is specifically designed for the music management and performance needs of those groups. The program also displays lyrics, programlists, definitions and choreography. It is available from the website free of charge in both Windows and Android versions.


Callarama

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Reinhold Roedig (support@callarama.com)

Website

Callarama is a “checker mover” program to help callers work out choreography by showing animated figures moving in response to calls entered by the caller. Callarama has defined the standard for animated Square Dance Choreography since its introduction in 2004. The New Callarama 2 has been totally redesigned on the basis of Microsoft .Net Framework, supported by all Windows operating systems since XP.

Callarama can also run on a Mac if a Windows emulator, as for instance Parallels Desktop, is installed.

Callarama covers the Basic, Mainstream, Plus and Advance dance programs. The already extensive repertoire of 35,000+ animations is constantly expanded through free upgrades for all users.

Calls can be entered by selecting from a Call List, by clicking on Call Labels, by typing Shortcuts and by Voice. Speech Recognition is included and currently pre-configured for English and German (a user on a German language computer, calling in English with a German accent).

Calls are recorded in a Routine list that can be played forward and backward, similar to a movie player. Beats are indicated at each step. Routines can be edited, printed and saved for future use.

The Speed Dial is calibrated very accurately in BPM. It possible to synchronize calling or the replay of a routine with music played on another device.


Sustainable Square Dance (SSD) Alphabetical Call List

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Kurt Gollhardt (kurt@certek.com)

2018-03-23

SSD 50 Alphabetical Call List

Thanks to Kurt Gollhardt for producing this single page that alphabetically lists the calls used in the Sustainable Square Dance experimental lesson system. The sheet highlights the calls from the Mainstream list that are used in SSD 50 and also lists separately the Mainstream calls that are NOT used. For full information and sample choreography for the Sustainable Square Dance experimental lesson system you can view the SSD Teaching Guide


Jeff Priest’s Singing Call Figures for Teaching

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Jeff Priest (ask@canadiancallerscollege.com)

2011/2013

Singing Call Books

Jeff Priest has produced an outstanding set of books to assist callers teaching in the Basic through Plus programs. These books contain singing call figures which each feature only one call from the program being taught. This enables callers to teach the programs in whatever order they wish, and still use singing call figures that feature the call currently being taught. Follow the link for more information about these books and how to purchase them.


Community Dance Journals

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

CALLERLAB Committee for Community and Traditional Dance

Index of CD Journal Issues

The CD Journal (formally titled CDP Journal) is published several times a year by the Committee for Community and Traditional Dance (CCTD). The Community Dance Program Journal is aimed at providing material to support dance events for non-dancers: party nights, intro nights, demos, etc. The material uses a limited number of calls (about 24) and allows the engagement of people with no prior square dance experience. Each Journal edition documents a number of such dances and the CD Journal has been published since 1992.


SqView Installation and Use

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Richard Manning (rickmanning_sdcaller@yahoo.com)

2016-03-30

SqView Installation and Use

This document provides a step by step description of the installation and use of the SqView music management program. SqView may be downloaded for free at http://www.sqview.se


Digital Music Presentation (CALLERLAB 2018)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Richard Manning (rickmanning_sdcaller@yahoo.com)

2016-03-30

Digital Music 101

Digital Music 102

These handouts (Digital Music 101 and 102) were created for a presentation at the 2018 CALLERLAB Convention in Albuquerque.

  • Digital Music 101 deals with the Windows considerations for downloading your music, placing it in your PC’s file structure, and managing the physical files.
  • Digital Music 102 deals with editing your music files using Audacity, a free music editing program. Another article on Audacity may be found here.



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CALLERLAB Online Teaching Resource

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

CALLERLAB Choreographic Applications Committee (dwelch@eastlink.ca)

CALLERLAB Online Teaching Resource

The Choreographic Applications Committee has created this resource site to assist those who are teaching square dancers. Its intent is to collect in one place all the information about each call that teachers might need to teach students successfully.

The site is organized into sections according to the CALLERLAB programs. It is still a work in progress. Basic Part 1 and Basic Part 2 are ready for use. Mainstream and eventually Plus are planned.

For each call there are seven sections of information:

  1. the call definition
  2. standard applications
  3. call analysis information
  4. modules
  5. teaching tips
  6. extended applications
  7. other


Hilton Equipment Repair Service

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Dick Bull (hiltonrepair@comcast.net)

Hilton Equipment Repair

Dick Bull was the lead technician at Hilton Audio for over 25 years. He now operates an equipment repair service for Hilton products.


Caller’s Service and Supply

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Gary Coon (callersser@hotmail.com)

Website

The name says it all.
Specializing in the repair of all models of Hilton Audio equipment.
Also specializing in the sales and repair of Williams Sound hearing assistance systems


Landmark Hearing Assist System

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Landmark Audio Technologies (info@landmarkfm.com)

Landmark Hearing Assist

For dancers who have trouble hearing the calls over the music, Landmark Audio Technologies’ FM transmitters and receivers provide high-quality, cost-effective hearing assistance. During a dance, a Landmark FM Transmitter is connected directly into the existing sound system. The caller speaks as usual into a microphone. Each dancer hears with ear buds or a headset on their Landmark Audio FM350 Receiver. Each adjusts their own volume level.


Low Cost Hearing Assist System

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Gardner Patton

2006-01-01

Low Cost Hearing Assist

This article describes how to put together a low cost hearing assist system for dancers that have hearing issues.


So You Want To Be A Caller

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Paul Cote (paul@paulcotecaller.com)

2014-07-25

Paul’s Article

This article from Paul Cote provides an overview of what is involved in becoming a caller. If you’re thinking about learning to call, this article will give you some insight into what you’re signing up for.


Struggling Up The Cliff (on becoming a caller)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Tom Gray

July 2016

Alberta Chatter Article

This newsletter article from a new caller describes what it’s like trying to learn to call, and what support and resources would be useful to a new caller.


Hilton Audio

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Paul Cote (paul@hiltonaudio.com) Website

Hilton Audio has long been considered the gold standard for specialized sound equipment for square dance calling. Established in 1956 by Jim Hilton it has changed ownership a couple of times over the years and is now owned by Paul Cote of Houston, Texas. On the Hilton Audio site you can purchase amplifiers, speakers, microphones, and cables.


Call Me Crazy (Book)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document Kip Garvey (kip@kipgarvey.com) 10 October, 2017 Book

This 178 page book presents a Step By Step Process For Calling And Teaching Modern Western Square Dances. if you’ve ever thought you might like to be a square dance caller, this is the place to start. As a prerequisite, you should have considerable experience with modern western square dancing and be a fluent dancer through the Plus dancing program. This book is packed with valuable information and detailed lesson plans for conducting One Night Stands and new dancer learning programs. The author Kip Garvey is a world class square dance caller with over 55 years experience teaching square dancing and teaching aspiring square dance callers.

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


Lloyd Shaw Foundation

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource

Lloyd Shaw Foundation

Website

The Lloyd Shaw Foundation preserves and shares a diverse range of dance and music traditions with an inter-generational audience. We develop leadership in traditional dance and music forms, and sponsor events and scholarships to ensure their continuity. Through our archives housed at the University of Denver, and at our Dance Center in Albuquerque, NM, we retain important historical records that document the past and enable us to preserve the future of traditional American folk dance.


Sets In Order Archive

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Bob Osgood

1948-1985

SIO Archive Page

Click on the link to view a page pointing to digitized copies of complete editions of the Sets In Order magazine.

This page is a tribute to Bob and Becky Osgood. The Sets In Order magazines are one of their legacys that comprise in these pages the history of modern square dancing. Bob began publishing SIO in 1948 and the last issue was issued in December 1985, 444 issues.

This material is Copyright (C) by Bob Osgood, and his heirs and may not be reproduced in any form including digital transmission for commercial purposes. Short articles may be reprinted using credit: “Reprinted from [magazine] and magazine year and month. magazine should be replaced by the appropriate magazine name such as SQUARE DANCING Magazine, official magazine of The Sets in Order American Square Dance Society” or just “Sets In Order” for earlier issues. Please credit by-lined authors.


Using Hearing Assist System To Slave One Amp To Another

Article Type Submitter Date Links Description
Idea Wayne Weston (wtweston@satx.rr.com )

2017-04-08

Handout PDF

This handout from the CDLS session at the 2017 CALLERLAB convention explains how to slave one sound system to another using a hearing assist system. This avoids having to string long cables when sounding large rooms.


List of Sound Equipment For Square Dancing (CDLS 2017)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Bob Riggs (Bob@SDE-Co.com)

2017-04-08

Equipment List PDF

This 2-page document lists some of the commonly used sound equipment used for square dancing and where it may be obtained. It is a handout from a presentation at the Community Dance Leaders Seminar (CDLS) at the 2017 CALLERLAB convention.


Managing Dances With SqView

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document Barry Johnson (callerbear@gmail.com) 2010-04-01 Managing Dances with SqView PDF

This 27 page PDF document describes in detail how to install and use the SqView music management program on a laptop computer.

Document Abstract

Callers and cuers using laptop computers for their music will need to use some piece of software to play their music. There are a wide variety of choices for this software, and generally any will be sufficient for simply playing music. However, most dance leaders prefer to use software specifically designed for square and round dance leaders. One particular software program, SqView (pronounced “Square View”) has been growing in popularity, and is used by an estimated 75% of callers using computers. This paper discusses SqView – how to get it, how to use it, and how to fix some common problems you may encounter with the program.


CALLERLAB Program Documents

Article Type Author Last Update Description
Summary Barry Clasper (barry@clasper.ca) 2018-12-06

This summary points to the primary program-related documents that have been officially published by CALLERLAB. This includes program lists, call definitions, timing charts, lesson checklists, teaching tips, and other materials. Click on the appropriate button below to see a list of materials for the program indicated. Click on the name of the document to access it.

Program Document Tables (click to view)

Document Name Revision Date
Advanced List 2018-09-15
Advanced Definitions 2018-08-03
A1 Checklist 2016-12-21
A2 Checklist 2012-09-13
Advanced Timing Chart 2015-12-15
What Is Advanced Dancing Booklet 2014-09-15

Document Name Revision Date
C1 List 2018-09-22
C1 Definitions 2018-09-03
C2 List 2016-12-21
C2 Definitions 2018-09-03
C3A List 2017-07-22
C3A Definitions 2018-06-24
Challenge Teaching Orders 2012-02-10


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.


Standard Contract for a Calling Date

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document CALLERLAB 24 May 2009 Contract PDF

This PDF file contains a boilerplate standard contract you can use when arranging a calling date.


Stages Document from Women In Calling Committee

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document Women In Calling Committee of CALLERLAB, Deborah Carroll-Jones Chairperson July, 2008 “Stages” Document

This document was produced by the Women In Calling Committee to assist and inform women callers regarding issues that are unique to women callers.


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!



Beginner Dance Party Leaders Seminar – Presentations from 2014

Article Type Author Last Update Description
Summary

Presentation

Barry Clasper (barry@clasper.ca) January 2016

For many years, as a lead-in to the main convention, CALLERLAB has hosted a 1-1/2 day seminar focusing on how to call square dance parties for non-dancers. CALLERLAB has posted to YouTube videos of a number of the presentations from the 2014 BDPLS. These presentations constitute a wealth of information about how to make such events a success. They cover everything from dance material to promotion to preparations to contracts, and much more.

Presenter Topic and Link
Dottie Welch Variations on the Virginia Reel
Susan Morris Effective Use of Circles
Paul Moore Working With Kids
Bob Riggs Planning
Chris Pinkham Dance Programs
Cal Campbell Genderless Dancing


What Did You Say?

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description
Presentation CALLERLAB Convention 2014 Susan Healey Video File

As square dance callers, we communicate with dancers using several mediums, but primarily auditory. Dancers react to our verbal commands. Due to the increasing age of dancers, statistics indicate that a large percentage of them more than likely have a significant hearing impairment, even if they do not wear hearing aids. Learn why people can “hear, but not understand”; the effects of background noise on comprehension; why people prefer different levels of loudness and louder isn’t always better; whether or not hearing aids help, and more. Improve your calling by learning techniques to help all dancers hear and understand you better. Susan is a Clinical Audiologist with over 30 years of experience.


Introduction To Mental Image Choreography

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description

The following two entries show two versions of a presentation by Don Beck on his system for Mental Image choreographic management. The first is a complete presentation to a group of callers. The second is a shorter introduction aimed at caller coaches that provides a slightly different perspective.

Presentation 2013 Don Beck Video File

Handout PDF

In this 2-hour video, Don Beck provides an introduction to his mental image choreography system to an audience of callers. It provides a quick overview of how the system works and illustrates some of its power. If you’re interested in learning to use this system, you can find information about Don’s book “Out Of Sight” here.

Presentation CALLERLAB Convention 2013 Don Beck Video File

Handout PDF

Don Beck provides an introduction to his mental image choreography system to the Caller Coach committee at the 2013 CALLERLAB Convention. It provides a quick overview of how the system works and illustrates some of its power. If you’re interested in learning to use this system, you can find information about Don’s book “Out Of Sight” here.


Controlling Choreography With Relationships

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document Barry Johnson (callerbear@gmail.com) 2014 Controlling Choreography With Relationships (PDF File)

This 78 page document is a detailed description of how callers can use dancer relationships as a tool for resolving squares. See the document abstract below for additional details.

From a choreographic point of view,callers describe the position of the dancers in a square by using four descriptive attributes: Formation, Arrangement, Sequence and Relationships.

  • Formation describes the spots on the floor in which dancers are standing,
  • Arrangement describes the way dancing genders are standing relative to one another,
  • Sequence describes whether or not dancers are in the original squared set order, and
  • Relationship describes which men and which women are near one another.

Together, these four attributes can be used to precisely define the choreographic state of a square, and a specific combination of these four values is called a “FASR” (pronounced “fah-zer”).

For decades, many callers have focused on Formation, Arrangement and Sequence while tracking dancers as they move through a sequence. Although formation and arrangement are fairly easy to see, sequence is not — especially “on the fly” since many calls will change the sequence of some or all dancers. There are specific techniques that can be used to resolve a square using just formation, arrangement and sequence, but these techniques may require several steps to reach the final desired result. The complexity of those techniques leads many callers to “hunt for corners”, trying one call after another until the dancers fall into a recognizable FASR.

With this focus on Formation, Arrangement and Sequence the fourth leg of the nomenclature system, Relationship, has generally been ignored.

But it turns out that the relationships of the dancers can actually be easier for many callers to understand and see while a square is in motion, and the principles of using relationships while calling can be learned in just a few minutes. Once relationships are recognizable, the state of the square is easily identified in almost any FASR at all. A few simple “cookbook” rules allow a caller to consciously change the relationships at will, giving the caller a great deal of control over the state of the square.

There are three main ways that callers can use relationships:

  • Finding their way out when they’re lost: being able to recognize the state of the square, then regaining control by consciously changing stations;
  • As a framework within which modules and desired choreographic sequences can be used. Put the dancers into a known station, dance them around as desired while preserving the station (or consciously changing it to a different one), and finally resolve without question because you know exactly where the dancers are.
  • As a launching pad for using memorized get-outs from many different starting positions.

We’ll discuss each of these areas in the pages that follow.

Relationships and CRaMS
For the last several years, some callers have been advocating a larger calling system named CRaMS, the “Controlled Relationship and Manipulation System.” Readers that are familiar with CRaMS will recognize much of the material in this book. CRaMS uses relationship choreographic control as just one of several tools and techniques to achieve the broader goal of helping callers to improve upon their craft. We’ll talk more about the larger system of CRaMS in Chapters 7 and 17.

Relationships and Mental Image
Astute readers may also notice several similarities to Don Beck’s Mental Image system, particularly in the way that calls are classified based on the way they affect the setup of the square. Both systems (Relationships and Mental Image) rely on the symmetries of the square as calls are executed — and therefore are likely to resemble one another, even while coming at the problem from very different directions and using completely different vocabularies.



All About Modules (book)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Resource

Cal Campbell (calcampbl@gmail.com) 2014 Book

This book covers all the bases starting with the new caller just learning how to call and on through the old hands looking for ways to expand their collection of modules and to learn new tricks on how to use square dance modules to improve their calling skills. It’s all there.

The new caller will find a comprehensive set of lessons to introduce them to the art of using modules to call square dances. You will be guided step by step through a learning process that will enable you to quickly select and memorize modules and then call them at a dance and be successful. It is a time proven successful way to learn how to call and to entertain square dancers. However, It’s not a magic. You will have to practice and you will have to study choreography.


Teaching New Dancers (eBook)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document Cal Campbell (calcampbl@gmail.com) 2015 eBook

Designed for Elementary and Secondary School Teachers.

The 18 dances featured in this short book use only four basics. Circle Right/Left, Forward & Back, Arm Turns, Star Right/Left. These four basics are used in big circles, line dances, contra dance, square dances, trios, and mixers. This enables the teacher to teach only four dance movement and then to use these same movements in various ways to provide a great deal of variety in dances.


Dancing For Busy People

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Resource

Cal Campbell (calcampbl@gmail.com) 2003 Book

Website

Dancing For Busy People was originally a book published in 2003. More recently, Cal has created a website that includes the book but also points to many additional resources and sources of information. The book is an excellent resource for someone planning a party night or beginner dance. “Dancing for Busy People” is a collection of over 400 dances using easy to teach dance movements. Most dances use only walking movements based on commonly used square dance terminology. Only 25 basics are used. The same basics are used for contra dances, trios, quadrilles, Sicilian circles, mescolanzas and many of the round dance mixers. Some special description of footwork is necessary for the no-partner dances.


dosado.com

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Paul Cote (paul@hiltonaudio.com) Website

Dosado.com has a long and varied history. It has served as the URL for a series of square dance music services: Supreme Audio, then Palomino, and most recently it was purchased by Hilton Audio (Paul Cote). It contains a huge collection of the offerings of many of the square dance music producers and permits online purchase and download. The site also has a number of very useful sections, for example music for special occasions or themes such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or St. Patrick’s. You can find music by title, label, or artist. They also sell equipment such as speakers, microphones, and hearing enhancement systems.


musicforcallers.com

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource CALLERLAB Music Producers Committee Website

Most of the producers of Square Dance Music have joined together to provide this combined website for music specifically produced for use in square dancing. It is an all-inclusive site that includes most of the labels in operation today. There are links to the sites of individual producers. There is also a search function that allows you to search for specific music by title, caller, or original artist, as well as pull up a list of the most recent releases. In most cases listening samples of the music are provided.


Out Of Sight (book)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document Don Beck 2014 Book

Out of Sight is a book that teaches square dance callers how to manage choreography using a mental image system. Other common choreographic methods are reading, modules, and sight calling. Mental image calling allows a caller to create choreography on the fly, while calling, and then easily resolve the square. Unlike reading or modules, the choreography need not be pre-written, and allows the caller much more flexibility to improvise. Unlike sight calling, the caller does not have to memorize who started with whom, each tip, and s/he is not dependent on whether the dancers made any mistakes. This method does not require that a caller learn how to follow eight or even only four dancers, but basically only one dancer as s/he moves around the square.

The Second Printing is now available. It includes an additional 15 pages in the form of a Forward to the Second Printing, an Afterword, and an additional Appendix. There is additional advanced information about the system available on the authors website for callers who have fully learned the system as taught in the book.


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.


CALLERLAB Community Dance Resources

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Dottie Welch Website

This Dance Resource is a compilation of Beginner Party Dances, Community Dances, Contra Dances, and Traditional Square Dances. Dances are grouped by type and listed in HTML code for easy viewing. Each dance is also available to be downloaded as a Rich Text File. There is also a sortable and linked index to the Community Dance Journals. Supporting documents are being added and now include Formation Diagrams, Music Suggestions, and the Community Dance Program Plan.


ceder.net

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Vic & Debbie Ceder (debbie@ceder.net) Website

Ceder.net is a comprehensive collection of resources related to square dancing. It includes a number of sections:

  • A database of callers and cuers
  • A database of square dance clubs
  • An extensive database of choreography examples
  • A database containing upcoming events
  • (for the above 4 databases individuals can input and update their own entries to keep them current)

  • A large repository of documents and articles related to square dancing
  • A huge database of square dance music (for historical reference, not for purchase)
  • Links and lists of other square dance resources


2018 Caller Schools

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document CALLERLAB Home Office 2018-03-09 List of 2018 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.



Sight And Module Resolution Systems Document

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document CHOREOGRAPHIC APPLICATIONS COMMITTEE (CAC),
CALLER TRAINING COMMITTEE, and
CALLER COACH COMMITTEE
(edited by Dottie Welch)
2018-02-01 Full Document PDF

This document is a compendium describing dozens of known systems for resolving squares, including both sight and module based approaches. The objective was to document as many systems as possible that are currently in use by experienced callers. Experienced callers can use it to discover different approaches that may help them add variety. Newer callers can use it to select a method that would work best for them as they are learning to resolve smoothly.

The goal of this project is to help callers improve their ability to present smooth and danceable choreography by increasing their knowledge of efficient and interesting resolution systems. The name “Sight and Module Resolution Systems” has been chosen to indicate that the focus is on resolution systems in which the caller first uses sight, or a combination of modules and sight, to move the dancers into a recognizable FASR and then uses one or more modules to resolve the square. Perhaps the FASR will be one where the square will be resolved by simply calling “Allemande Left”, “Right and Left Grand”, “Promenade”, or “Back Out At Home”. The intention is to document as many different systems as possible that proficient sight callers are using. We are interested in what sight callers are thinking and what their intermediate goals are as they resolve the square. The hope is that such documentation will help other callers become aware of the possibilities. Every attempt has been made to write explanations of the systems that can be understood by the average Basic or Mainstream caller. The choreographic examples are sorted by CALLERLAB program, and always begin with Basic calls. They also include examples using Mainstream, Plus, Advanced and Challenge calls. There is no intent to recommend one system over another. The aim is to increase understanding about what other callers are thinking. Brains work in different ways, so over the years callers have developed different systems for comprehending the patterns of square dancing. Hopefully, at least one of the systems documented here will be a natural fit to each caller’s individual reasoning style. Also there is a need for different systems, or adjustments within a system, to accommodate differences in the vocabulary of the dancers. Some attention is given to sight calling for the whole spectrum; from new dancers with a very limited vocabulary to Challenge dancers with an extensive vocabulary.

This is primarily a reference tool. All readers will need to be familiar with the terminology and skills discussed in the second and fourth chapters. Each of the systems discussed in the remaining chapters can be studied individually. Chapter 14 contains a huge supply of useful Get-Outs. The hope is that appropriate parts of the document will be read by new sight callers, somewhat experienced sight callers, proficient sight callers, and teachers of sight callers. The expectation is that readers will come with differing needs and will be looking for various degrees of complexity. Some will be looking for clear explanations of the “old ways” which they hear being used by many experienced callers. Others will come looking for new ideas. The knowledge that there are “new ways” or “other ways” of thinking about sight calling is the underlying motivation for compiling all of this information into one document.

Thanks go to all those who have contributed directly or indirectly to the information contained here. The development of sight calling has been a long and complex process extending back at least to the 1960s. These systems reflect innumerable hours of pawn pushing, a great many discussions between callers, and more than 50 years of wonderful dancing.


CALLERLAB 2015 Brainstorming Session

Article Type Submitter Date Links Description
Idea Barry Clasper (barry@clasper.ca) 2015-07-12 Brainstorming Ideas Spreadsheet (CALLERLAB 2015)

A “brainstorming” session was held during the opening session of the CALLERLAB Convention in 2015. The audience was seated at round tables with 8-10 people at a table. Each table was asked to brainstorm for 10 minutes or so on things that could be done to “improve square dancing” (however they conceived of that). Ideas were just written down by each individual as fast as they occurred to them. Each table was asked to rank their ideas and select the top 3. Then those 3 were taken to another table, which was asked to rank them.

The attached Excel spreadsheet contains those ideas. There are 441 items of information. Some are cryptic or unformed, some are well-trodden ground, but many are valuable.

The spreadsheet has three columns for categorizing the idea so you can sort the spreadsheet and group ideas together by category. There are also two rank columns: the first shows the rank assigned by the originating table, the second the rank assigned by the evaluating table. If the rank fields are blank, then the idea was not selected as one of the top 3 by the originating table.


Experimental Lesson Systems

Article Type Author Last Update Description

Summary

Barry Clasper 2018-03-22

This article summarizes several experimental approaches to teaching new dancers known to be in use at the time of writing. (Full text below)

All of these systems are aimed at the recruiting of new people into a system of progressive lessons from which they graduate as Modern Western Square Dancers capable of dancing some CALLERLAB square dance program (for example, Mainstream or Plus). This is in contrast to approaches aimed at entertaining non-dancers with no previous training for a single evening (for example, ABC, Community Dance, etc.) Material on those types of systems may be found here.

Some of these systems are simply revised teaching orders or innovative approaches to teaching a current program. Others are predicated on a revision of one or more current CALLERLAB program lists. Clearly, for those requiring changes to CALLERLAB programs universal adoption would require the appropriate committee approvals. Inclusion in this article does not imply such approvals are imminent or even likely.

Some of these initiatives are the result of CALLERLAB committee activity, others were created by CALLERLAB members independently of CALLERLAB, and still others were created by people with no CALLERLAB connection at all. Inclusion in this summary in no way implies that CALLERLAB officially endorses, recommends, or supports the system. This information is provided solely to acquaint you with known experimental systems.

In recent years a great deal of effort has been put into devising more effective teaching systems. These are primarily aimed at training new dancers more rapidly, and enabling multiple intakes of new dancers each year.

Following are some of the more prominent efforts:

Multi-Cycle

The term “multi-cycle” has been around for many years and has been applied to a variety of lesson systems. In general, the term implies that the teaching system in use permits new dancer intakes more than once a year. The term first evolved when adding a second intake in January was considered real progress. More recently, such systems aim to allow much more frequent intakes.

Click on the following link to see further knowledgebase articles on initiatives that could be considered “multi-cycle”: Multi-Cycle Articles

Condensed Teaching Order

This system was devised by a CALLERLAB Ad Hoc Committee to include a condensed teach system of calls. The documentation includes the suggested calls to teach along with abbreviated definitions, teaching tips and other useful information. The strategy is to teach the most frequently used subset of Basic and MS calls first so that students can more quickly be integrated into an existing group already dancing MS.

Sustainable Square Dance

Sustainable Square Dancing is the rubric Jerry Story has applied to a comprehensive effort he is leading to change the current most prevalent approach to recruiting, teaching, and retaining new dancers. It is based on Jerry’s experience in Iowa showing that teaching fewer calls more thoroughly, retaining new dancers in the entry level for a longer period, and exposing them to a broader range of call applications provides greater success.

Jerry’s design contains a number of parts, including a modified entry list that he calls Club Level 50 and a document that contains a detailed lesson plan containing sample choreography that illustrates both standard and extended applications. CALLERLAB has created an Ad Hoc Sustainable Square Dance Committee charged with the task of creating this document. The committee completed its draft of the document in September of 2017 and it now has approval from the Board of Governors for formal publishing as a CALLERLAB document. Regardless of how well accepted the overall Sustainable Square Dance initiative turns out to be, the SSD lesson plan document promises to be a valuable contribution to the activity.

At this point, the overall system, including the modified entry list, has not been discussed or approved by either the Board of Governors or the Mainstream Committee. That discussion is expected to take place in conjunction with the approval and publishing of the lesson plan document. Even after such approvals, SSD will still have the status of an Experimental Lesson System. Becoming a full CALLERLAB program such as Mainstream or Plus requires a vote of the full CALLERLAB membership, which, by design, is a lengthy process.

The NEST

The primary reason THE NEST system was developed was so prospective square dance students would no longer have to wait to take lessons. In other words, it was designed to encourage and facilitate the perpetual integration of new students into the classroom. Our goal has always been to create a learning environment so students could enroll anytime – thereby allowing us to recruit anytime – thus, enabling us to promote anytime. Never again having to tell folks they have to “wait ‘til September” or ????.

General Dance Program

This program was created by the Santa Clara Valley Square Dance Association (SCVSDA) as a means to integrate new dancers more quickly into their Plus community.

What is the General Dance Program?

GDP is three things:

  1. An easy and fun way to get more people square dancing
  2. A list of calls, about half the calls in the full program of Basic, Mainstream, and Plus
  3. A series of dances sponsored by SCVSDA using the GDP call list
Why should I come to GDP dances?

Because you want more square dancers. Learning the full Plus program takes a long time (particularly because most Plus clubs do at least some APD/DBD), and it’s clear from the declining size of the square dance community that this discourages many people from square dancing. It takes less than half the time to learn GDP, which gives us a chance to grow the community again.

Because you’ll have fun. The intent of GDP is “half the calls, ninety percent of the fun”. If you’re a Plus dancer who sometimes feels that Plus hoedowns are a bit too hard, you definitely want to come to a GDP dance.

What is missing from GDP?

For the most part, the missing calls are similar in function to other calls (e.g., Dive Thru), rarely used (e.g., Do Paso), or more complicated (e.g., Linear Cycle). GDP dances also use simpler choreography, avoiding APD/DBD and concentrating on “standard applications”.



Extended But Not Extreme – Plus

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description
Presentation CALLERLAB Convention 2015 Barry Clasper, John Marshall Extended But Not Extreme – Plus (Clasper Handout)

There are many calls for which we have well known “standard” applications, and we have even documented many of them in the Standard Applications documents. “Standard”, however, does not mean “easier” — it really means “more common”. There are many infrequently used applications that are not hard, they’re just infrequent. Because they’re infrequent, dancers bobble when they hear them, so we avoid them, so they stay infrequent: vicious circle. Some examples: Peel The Top from LH Cols; Cut/Flip The Diamond, Girls as Centers; Ping Pong Circulate with same-sexes in center wave. If you are interested in enriching your dancers’ experience with usages that are not hard, just infrequently used, this session is for you.


What Is CALLERLAB?

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description
Presentation CALLERLAB Convention 2013 Pam Clasper Handout PDF

Handout provided by Pam Clasper for the Orientation session at CALLERLAB 2013. It describes the purpose of the CALLERLAB organization and the benefits of being a member.


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.


Amateur Caller Night

Article Type Submitter Date Links Description
Idea Mike Callahan 2015-03-29 (none)

Recruiting new callers: Once a year in our area, a club in our area has an “amateur callers night”. It is announced a few months in advance. Criteria is that you are interested in calling and/or you have never been paid to call a dance. I personally know of 4 people who have become callers from this event.


Large Event Planning

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description
Presentation CALLERLAB Convention March 2014 Lee & Barbi Ashwill, Walt Burr, Dottie Welch Audio Recording

Ashwill Handout

Burr Handout

Welch Handout

This presentation session covered how to plan for events that are larger than a standard club dance, either in duration or number of dancers. This could range anywhere from a special club dance where other clubs are invited to attend, all the way to a major convention spanning several days and employing multiple callers in multiple halls.


Finding Music

Article Type Author Last Update Description
Summary Barry Clasper 2015-11-12

This article aggregates a number of sources for obtaining music suitable for square dancing. It includes both music specially produced for square dancing and also sources of alternative music.

Modern Western Square Dancing primarily uses recorded music. There are a number of square dance music producers that produce music specially designed for square dance use. This is often referred to just as “square dance music”. There is also lots of music available that is suitable for square dance use despite not being produced with that in mind. This is termed “alternative music”.

Music From Square Dance Music Producers
  • MusicForCallers An aggregate webpage containing links to the websites of many square dance music producers
  • dosado.com Square dance music distribution service offering music from many producers
  • A & S Records Distributors of a number of square dance music labels
  • Perry’s Place Kentucky-based music and apparel store
Sources Of Alternative Music