Learning To Dance Without a Caller

Article Type Author Last Update Description
Summary Julian Pritchard (julian.pritchard@orange.fr) 2017-06-11

We dance in two clubs which have no caller (actually, most of the clubs in France have no caller). We study the calls and then teach them; then we use pre-recorded training material to compensate for the lack of a “real” caller. All the material referenced below comes with texts files enabling you to walk-thru the material when your square crashes. In some cases we have transcribed tracks where text was not provided and people can always contact me for a copy.

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We dance in two clubs which have no caller (actually, most of the clubs in France have no caller). We study the calls and then teach them; then we use pre-recorded training material to compensate for the lack of a “real” caller. All the material referenced below comes with texts files enabling you to walk-thru the material when your square crashes. In some cases we have transcribed tracks where text was not provided and people can always contact me for a copy. The best programmes we have found so far are:

BASIC intro – Traveling Hoedowners (USA):

We start our BASIC class using the Travelling Hoedowners Instant Hoedown DVD/CD set. This starts from zero dancer knowledge and works thru the first part of the BASIC programme in 10 lessons with alternate Patters (11) and Singing Calls (12). Cost is 30 USD. We find it works very well. See: http://travelinghoedowners.com….. We only use the CD part but it comes with a DVD showing all the patters/dances so you can look to see how it should be performed if you have any doubts. The Traveling Hoedowners also do an excellent set of BASIC/MS/PLUS reference DVDs explaining and showing each call performed by a Square filmed from above. This was a tremendous aid to us when we started-out.

BASIC – Tomas Hedberg (Sweden):

… after that we swap to the Tomas Hedberg BASIC teaching CDs set which covers the entire Basic programme in 29 sessions of patter+singing calls. The actual callers on the latest version are Bronc Wise (USA) and Thomas Hedberg (Sweden). The cost is 2000 SEK (approx. 230 USD). More information is available from Tomas Hedberg email: caller@caloham.se. (He doesn’t have a website).

MAINSTREAM – Tomas Hedberg (Sweden):

We use the Tomas Hedberg MAINSTREAM teaching CDs set which covers the entire MS programme in 16 sessions of patter+singing calls. The actual caller on the latest version is Thomas Hedberg (Sweden). The cost is 1250 SEK (approx. 140 USD). More information is available from Tomas Hedberg email: caller@caloham.se. (He doesn’t have a website).

PLUS/A1/A2 – Stefan Sidholm (Sweden):

We use the Stefan Sidholm teaching CDs sets:

PLUS: –
71 tracks of patter+singing calls covering the whole programme. The actual caller on the latest version is Stefan Sidholm (Sweden).
A1: –
71 tracks of patter+singing calls covering the whole programme. The actual caller on the latest version is Stefan Sidholm (Sweden).
A2: –
69 tracks of patter+singing calls covering the whole programme. The actual caller on the latest version is Stefan Sidholm (Sweden).

You can get more info from: stefan@sidholm.com. (He doesn’t have a website). The cost is 155 euros (approx.. 170 USD) per level plus postage (discount available if provided on one DVD in mp3 format) (further discount available if you buy more than one level at a time.

C1/C2 – Tony Collingwood (UK):

Tony has C1 and CD teaching material which you can download from his website for free (https://sites.google.com/site/pacesettersuk/home). Contact: tcpace@gmail.com. He also does Two-Couple teaching/practice material from MS thru C3B.

(See also the full KnowledgeBase article on Tony’s recordings here. )



Two-Couple Teaching and Dancing Recordings

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Tony Collingwood (pace@collingwoods.org) Webpage

In the Challenge dancing world it has often been the case that dancers wishing to learn a new level did not have a live caller near them who could teach it. The remedy for this was “tape groups” that used recorded materials to learn and dance the new level. Unfortunately, a result of our declining numbers is that it is increasingly common for a group wishing to learn a new level to be unable to muster a full square of dancers, let alone a caller. One answer to this problem is recorded material that requires only two couples. A surprising number of calls and concepts can be exercised without a full square.

Tony Collingwood is a caller in the UK who has created an impressive repertoire of 2-couple teaching and dancing material ranging from Mainstream through C3B. These recordings are available free of charge as MP3 downloads. Click on the link in the column to the left to go to a list of the available recordings.


Moving and Grooving Square Dance CDs for Teachers

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Nick and Mary Anne Turner (nmturner@telus.net) Information Website

This is a set of CDs and guidebooks that can be used by teachers or community leaders as a user friendly resource for teaching square dancing. Click on Document Abstract below to see a description of what is included in the package.

Introduction

This dance program is in two sections, each of which can be used as a stand alone program or which you can mix and match to meet your needs.

All the dances are non-sex oriented. This means that you do not have to have boy/girl, man/woman partnering (though you might want to encourage students – especially in the higher grades – to partner with the opposite sex when the man is always on the woman’s LEFT)

The dances in both sections can be used in schools from Grade 3 though 12 and in any church or community group.

Partners will be designated by numbers: “1” for the left hand dancer in a couple (normally the man) and “2” for the right hand dancer in a couple (normally the woman) It helps greatly if the “2s” wear a sash – easily made from forestry marking ribbon, available in most hardware stores.

We used a three ring binder for this program so that you can easily add notes, or copy pages. We have done our best to make it “teacher-friendly.” We hope it will be a program that you will enjoy using for years!

Moving

The first section – “MOVING” – is a collection of traditional dances. Many these dances will be “walked thru” once on one Track and then the dance will be cued or prompted to the music on the next track of the CD. However, there are many that teachers and leaders can easily walk their dancers through themselves. You are expected to teach the steps which are explained in each dance.

Most of these dances can be used with a variety of tunes and songs.
If you have a favorite piece of music or a favorite song, try it with one of the dances. Don’t be afraid to change the dance by omitting or adding an 8 count move such as a Do Sa Do, a Forward and Back, a Star. Let the music tell you!

The dances in this section are good to get a class warmed up before starting on a Square Dance Unit and may be mixed and matched with the Square Dance “ Tips.” There are hundreds of similar dances and a Dance and Music Sources page has been included for your reference.

Grooving

The second section, “GROOVING” is entirely Modern Square Dancing. There are ten sequential units, with all instructions and calling done on the CDs. Units 1 – 5 will be easily done by Grades 3 and 4 and Units 1 – 10 by Grades 5 – 12 and by adult groups.

Again, all the dances are non-sex oriented. The left hand dancer in a couple (usually the man’s position) will be called a “1” and the right hand person of the couple, (usually the woman’s position) will be called a “2”. “2s” are encouraged to wear sashes.

Don’t be scared away by the lesson plans and terminology in this section. They are for your information only. All of the teaching and calling is on the CDs.



CALLERLAB Convention Audio Recordings (as of Dec 16, 2016)

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource CALLERLAB (callerlab@aol.org) Click here to see the index page for the audio recordings.

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 in the column to the left to see an index page listing all the recordings. The list shows the year, the title (which is also a link to the recording), and a description of each posted recording.

CALLERLAB Convention Video Recordings (as of June 1, 2016)

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.


Teaching Styling

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description
Presentation CALLERLAB Convention 2014 Jon Jones and Tim Marriner Video File (part 1)

Video File (part 2)

Handout Files (zipped)

Presentation on the how’s and why’s of teaching styling to new dancers. How styling can help you and your dancers to succeed. Functional styling that helps dancers succeed and feel comfortable dancing (as opposed to regulated styling that implies “do it this way because I told you to” and “this is the way we always do it”).


Introduction To Mental Image Choreography

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description
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.


Promotional Video From Maine

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Dave Wilkinson Video

This 28 minute video was produced by Dave Wilkinson in cooperation with the Sage Swingers in Maine. It does a great job of describing a little square dance history, explaining how their local clubs work, explaining the benefits and appeal of square dancing, and showing dancers having fun at dances. Production values are excellent.


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.


Marketing On A Shoestring Budget

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description
Presentation CALLERLAB Convention March 2014 Patrick Schwerdtfeger Video

This video shows the keynote address at the 2014 CALLERLAB convention in Reno, Nevada. It spawned the now famous catchphrase that “Nobody is talking about square dancing because nobody is talking about square dancing”.