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.


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.


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.



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)
2014-09-03 Full Document

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.