Lots Of Stuff About Modules

Article Type Author Last Update Description
Summary Barry Clasper 2019-12-04

This summary article aggregates a great deal of material on the use of modules in square dance choreography. Modules provide a powerful mechanism for creating and presenting square dance choreography and they are a tool that all callers need to be familiar with. This article provides a brief overview of what modules are, an introduction to the terminology involved, and pointers to many other sources of information.


What Are Modules?

A module is a pre-written series of calls that performs some known transformation of the square. Perhaps the most familiar example is a singing call figure, which transforms a Static Square (SS) where everyone is at their original home position with their partner to Static Square where each man is at home with his original corner. Modules also can be used to achieve more granular changes in the square, for example: chaining the ladies, moving from one formation to another, changing sequence, etc.

A module will start from a specific square situation (Formation, Arrangement, Sequence, Relationship – FASR) and end in another specific square situation (FASR). The starting and ending FASRs may be the same or different, but the essential point is they are known ahead of time. In practice, most modules are designed around a few particular FASRs, which are described below. Some of the names given to these familiar FASRs have changed over time. In the titles below, the most current terminology is given first with its common abbreviation, but older terms for the same FASR are listed after it so that you can interpret documents written before the current terminology came into use.

Static Square (SS) / Zero Square (ZS)
All dancers standing in their home positions. Commonly SS means standing in their original home positions (as they squared up), but ZS can also be used for square that has been rotated, for example by a bucket stir module.
Corner Box (CB) / Zero Box (ZB) / Box 1-4
This FASR is the 8-chain formation obtained by having Heads (or Sides) Square Thru 4 from a Static Square (SS). You will often see the function of such a module indicated with something like “SS -> CB”.
Right-Hand Lady Box (RLB) / Across The Street Box
This is the 8-chain formation obtained by having Heads/Sides Square Thru 2 from SS.
Partner Line (PL) / Zero Line (ZL) / 1P2P
This FASR is facing lines of 4, normal arrangement, all with original partner, in sequence. It’s what you get from a SS when you have Heads/Sides Lead Right, Circle to a Line.

Types Of Modules

Modules are categorized according the nature of the transformation they apply to the square.

Conversion Modules
Conversion Modules transform the square from one FASR to another. They come in several flavors:

Getins/Setups
Getins move the square from its current FASR to the FASR required to start a particular module. Most common are Getins that do SS->CB or SS->PL transformations.
Getouts
A Getout moves the square from its current FASR to a resolved square. Commonly they start from CB or PL FASRs.
CB->PL
Converts a Corner Box to a Partner Line
PL->CB
Converts a Partner Line to a Corner Box
Rotation
Rotates the formation, typically 90 degrees. For example, from facing lines, Pass Thru, Bend the Line (note: this particular example also reverses the sequence).
Invert
Inverts the centers and ends. For example, from a CB created from SS by Heads Square Thru 4: Star Thru, Pass Thru, Bend The Line, Star Thru creates another CB but the Heads are now on the outside and the Sides in the center. This particular example also rotates the square, so this module is often termed an “Invert and Rotate”.
Zeros
A Zero is a module that returns the square to the same FASR it started with. As with Conversion modules, Zeros come in several types:

Geographic Zeros
Returns each dancer to the exact footprints they started in.
True Zeros
Returns the square to the same FASR, although dancers may not be in the same exact footprints. For example, from Ocean Waves, All 8 Circulate Twice results in the same FASR, but all dancers are on the other side of the formation from where they started.
Fractional Zeros
A module that becomes a zero after multiple repetitions. A module that becomes a zero after being executed twice is termed a “Half Zero”. A “One Third Zero” must be executed three times, a “Quarter Zero” 4 times, etc.
Technical Zeros
Are zeros only when certain conditions are met.
Equivalents
An Equivalent module is a series of calls that duplicates the action of a call or another module. For example, from any facing couples: Pass Thru and Partner Trade, is equivalent to Right and Left Thru.
Flow
One hopes that any module would exhibit good flow, but sight callers in particular often talk about Flow Modules. The term refers to a series of calls known to create a pleasurable dancing pattern and that may be inserted without having a complete understanding of the starting FASR. Typically, knowing the starting Formation and Arrangement is sufficient – often only the Formation. Similarly, the resulting FASR is not known completely either, usually only to the degree the starting FASR was understood.

Hanging Modules On a Framework

A Framework is merely another sort of module that is used to provide some structure to the use of other modules. It is a module which provides a number of opportunities for inserting other types of modules to create a wide variety of sequences. The most famous Framework is called “Chicken Plucker” and it is taught in most caller schools. Chicken Plucker is a Half Zero that starts in an Eight-Chain formation. Starting in the Eight-Chain formation, one version the module is: Right and Left Thru, Dive Thru, Centers Pass Thru. Repeating this a second time returns the dancers to their original starting position (hence it is a Half Zero). After the first repetition the center dancers are said to be “across the street” because they are now looking at the opposite outsides from where they started. The utility of this Framework lies in the opportunities it offers for inserting zeros, equivalents, and conversions in a controlled fashion. For example, from the original starting position a zero could be called before beginning the Framework module. Then after the first repetition of the Framework the same zero could be used in the “across the street” formation – or a different one, if desired. Equivalents can be applied for further variety. For example, Square Thru 3 and Trade By could be used to replace Right and Left Thru, Dive Thru, Centers Pass Thru.

The power of using a Framework is that it allows the caller map the modules they plan to use into an easily remembered structure. For example a caller could visualize a sequence like this:

  • SS->CB Getin module to a CB
  • CB->PL Convert CB to PL
  • PL->PL Apply a Zero that returns a PL
  • PL->CB Convert PL to CB
  • CP1 Chicken Plucker part 1 to create a Right-Hand Lady Box
  • RLB->RLB Zero that preserves the Right-Hand Lady Box
  • CP2 Second repetition of Chicken Plucker returns to a CB
  • CB->SS Getout from CB

The following table points to a variety of additional material on modules. Click on the item(s) in the Link column to view or download the material.

Item Type Author Link Description
Presentation Handout Paul Henze PDF

This handout contains many common modules and illustrates how they can be combined to create full sequences.

Presentation Handout Cal Campbell PDF

This sheet contains several useful Equivalent modules from Cal Campbell.

Presentation Handout Paul Henze PDF

This handout provides a general description of modules and their use as well as several tables showing different types of modules.

Presentation Handout Cal Campbell PDF

This handout is a 4-page primer on what modules are and how they work.

Presentation Handout Tim Marriner PDF

This document is a 4-page overview of the principles of modular calling and an explanation of terminology.

Presentation Handout Doug Davis PDF

This handout has a short form overview of modular calling and usage.

Presentation Handout Tim Marriner PDF

Tim Marriner’s handout on how to work with Chicken Plucker.

Presentation Handout Doug Davis PDF

Many samples of various types of modules.

Presentation Handout Virgil Forbes PDF

Many samples of unusual Getout modules.

Presentation Handout Jon Jones PDF

Many samples of unusual Getout modules.

Website Vic and Debbie Ceder Website

Vic and Debbie Ceder maintain a choreo database on their ceder.net site. It contains hundreds of examples of modules of various sorts.

Document Barry Johnson PDF

Many people avoid technical zeros because they seem unpredictable. Barry Johnson explains what they are, how they work, and how you can use them to your advantage.

Forum Cal Campbell Website

This discussion forum on modules is moderated by Cal Campbell. It contains hundreds of articles relating to modules.

Book Cal Campbell Info

This comprehensive publication on modules is available for sale from Cal Campbell.



Square Dance Calling Makes a Comeback in Chicago

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Janice Cha (Janice@glenviewsquares.org) 2019-08-27

Square dancing is enjoying a surge of interest from both dancers and callers in the greater Chicago area. Clubs in Glenview, Wilmette, Evanston and Arlington Heights, as well as Chicago’s North Side, will be offering classes for beginners and intermediate dancers starting in September. But without callers to lead classes, this uniquely American dance form would be in danger of extinction. Luckily, Chicago has become one of the leading areas in the country when it comes to the number of square dance callers-in-training.

Read More …


Calling for Gay Square Dance Groups

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Nick Martelacci (nm11201@aol.com)

1995

PDF File

There are some differences in culture and customs between straight and gay square dance groups. Callers who have never called for a gay group before often have questions about what those differences are, and what they should expect. This paper was actually written in 1995, but it still provides many valuable insights into what to expect from gay square dance groups. However, over the past 20 years there has been a lot of social evolution and much more intermixing of the gay and straight square dance communities. Callers working with gay groups today will find the differences less marked than they used to be. And there are many more callers who call for gay groups so it is easier find someone to advise you. If you know nobody in your area try contacting the Gay Callers Association (http://gaycallers.org)


Calling For Modern Square Dancing

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Jim Mayo (jmayo329@aol.com)

“1966”

Caller Text

This 79-page caller text was written in 1966 by Jim Mayo, a square dance calling icon and a founding father of CALLERLAB. Despite its original publication date, this is not a historical document. Most of the information and guidance provided is still applicable today. Even the section on Equipment, which you might imagine would be quite archaic after more than 50 years, offers valuable information to help you select appropriate equipment. This document is an invaluable reference for both new and experienced callers. The table of contents is shown below:

Chapter Page
Introduction 1
1. The Music and The Call 2
2. Choreography 11
3. Timing 34
4. Programming 41
5. Teaching 49
6. Equipment 57
7. Square Dance Club Administration 65


Relationship Sight Calling Simplified

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document

Kip Garvey (kip@kipgarvey.com)

2019-02-11

Relationship Sight Calling White Paper

This 14-page white paper by Kip Garvey explores how understanding the patterns of relationships that occur in normally arranged couples can enhance a caller’s control while sight calling and resolving.


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.

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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) 2019-08-29

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)


Due to the large number of documents associated with the Basic and Mainstream programs, the table below is organized into sections:
Basic Documents that deal only with the Basic program
Mainstream Documents that deal only with the Mainstream program
BMS Documents that deal with both the Basic and Mainstream programs
Other Documents that are not specific to either program but are of interest to callers calling Basic/Mainstream

Document Name Revision Date
Basic Documents
Basic List 2019-03-06
Basic Definitions 2019-03-04
Basic Definitions (Japanese) 2019-01-21
Mainstream Documents
Mainstream List 2019-03-06
Mainstream Definitions 2019-03-09
Mainstream Definitions (Japanese) 2019-01-23
Basic/Mainstream Documents
Basic/Mainstream Definitions (Danish V2.01) 2010-01
Basic/Mainstream Definitions (Japanese) 2018-06-22
Basic and Mainstream Checklists 2017-08-17
Basic and Mainstream Timing Charts 2017-08-17
Basic/Mainstream Abbreviated Definitions 2014-09-17
Basic/Mainstream Abbreviated Definitions (Japanese) 2014-09-15
Basic/Mainstream Standard Applications 2008-01-15
Basic/Mainstream Standard Applications (Japanese) 2008-01-15
Basic/Mainstream Teaching Tips 2010-06-21
Basic/Mainstream Teaching Tips (Japanese) 2009-10-12
Basic/Mainstream Definition Guide 2011-02-07
Basic/Mainstream Definition Guide (Japanese) 2011-02-07
Other Documents
Formations Pictograms Chart 2010-12-14
Formations and Arrangements Charts 2008-01-15
Experimental Condensed Teaching Order 2015-03-01
Sustainable Square Dance (SSD) Experimental Lesson System 2018-10-12
Non Program Teaching Items 2007-12-19
Lost Square Procedure 2004-11-19
Emergency Call For Medical Aid ????
Teaching Order Design Principles 2007-12-06

Document Name Revision Date
Advanced List 2018-09-15
Advanced Definitions 2019-03-09
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 2018-12-10
C2 List 2019-02-19
C2 Definitions 2018-09-03
C3A List 2017-07-22
C3A Definitions 2018-06-24
Challenge Teaching Orders 2012-02-10

Every three years the CALLERLAB program committees (Basic/Mainstream, Plus, Advanced, and Challenge) undertake a review of the current program lists and definitions. This review may result in additions or deletions of calls/concepts or a revision of definitions. The update of program documents may lag behind the initial public announcement of changes because after the results of the review are known, the committee may have additional work to do to redraft list or definition documents. This entry documents the raw results of the 2018 Triennial Review. Not all affected documents have been updated yet. Entries marked with an asterisk below indicate the changes are reflected in the officially published list.

2018 Triennial Review Results

Basic Results
The Thar Family and related calls are dropped, and as a result, are moved to the Mainstream Program list. This includes:

  • 32. Thar Family*
    · Allemande Thar
    · Allemande Left to an Allemande Thar
    · Wrong Way Thar
    33. Slip the Clutch*
    34. Shoot the Star / Shoot the Star Full Around*
  • The Basic Teaching Order is modified as follows: Double Pass Thru, and First Couple Left/Right, Next Couple Left/Right are moved to follow Star Thru in the Basic Program teaching order.*

Mainstream Results
  • Moved to MS from Basic
    32. Thar Family*
    · Allemande Thar
    · Allemande Left to an Allemande Thar
    · Wrong Way Thar
    33. Slip the Clutch*
    34. Shoot the Star / Shoot the Star Full Around*
  • Added to MS
    • Fractional Tags (1/2 Tag, 3/4 Tag, 1/4 Tag)*

Plus Results
No Changes

Advanced Results
No Changes

C1 Results
  • Add Track 0-4
  • Add Pass and Roll Your Cross Neighbor
C2 Results
  • Add Grand Drop In/Out/Right/Left*
  • Add Pass and Roll Your Criss Cross Neighbor*
  • Add Any Tagging Call Your Criss Cross Neighbor*
C3A Results
  • Add Single Calls: Shakedown, Turn and Deal
  • Add Interlocked Extend
  • Add Hinge The Top to the family of Lock the Hinge/Hinge the Lock (variations include Lock The Hinge the Top, Beau/Belle Hop the Top


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.


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!



CALLERLAB Convention Video Recordings (as of Oct 4, 2019)

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource CALLERLAB (callerlab@aol.com)

Click here to go to the index page showing all the video files posted to date.

Each year the CALLERLAB Convention provides two full days of education and information sessions. For many years audio recordings have been made of selected sessions, and latterly some have also been recorded on video. So far, CALLERLAB has posted several hundred of these recordings to YouTube, to make them generally available. There are many more to come, so this is an ongoing process.

Click on the link to the left to see an index page that lists all the video recordings posted so far. Each entry shows the year of the recording, the title of the session (which is also a link to the recording), and a description of the topic. This table lists video files only.


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.


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


2019 Caller Schools

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document CALLERLAB Home Office 2019-02-12 List of 2019 Schools

This document contains a listing of Caller Schools sponsored and staffed by CALLERLAB members for 2019. 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.