Checker Cheats

Article Type Author Last Update Description
Summary Barry Clasper ( 2020-05-24

Before the days of computers callers would write or work through choreography using “checkers” or “dolls”. The checkers were usually colored pieces of plastic to represent the 8 dancers. The caller would push them through the various call actions by hand. This procedure was tedious and error prone. Just imagine pushing 8 checkers through their respective actions for a call like Spin Chain and Exchange the Gears.

So most callers developed “checker cheats” to simplify moving the checkers and reduce errors. For example, Flutterwheel just exchanges the places of the left-hand dancers in each couple. Many might think the widespread use of computer checker movers has made this knowledge obsolete. But it still offers significant value, both for callers and dancers. First, almost by definition, the checker cheat makes it much easier to see what the ending position of each dancer will be. This is very helpful when sight calling. Often long and complicated calls have very simple results: for example, Relay The Deucey is exactly Circulate Twice (or a zero if you don’t care about geographic positioning). Second, when dancing complicated choreography or working with phantoms, knowing the checker cheat gives you a clue where you wind up (not how to get there, just where you finish).

The sources below are collections of some of these checker cheats.

Useful Links

Click on a tab below to display links to that type of site. The items are listed in alphabetical order.

These links take you to sites hosting resources related to square dancing. Some are general purpose housing an eclectic assortment of information and links, while others are more specific to a topic such as music.

CALLERLAB Community Dance Resource CALLERLAB Teaching Resource Music Keith Rubow Dance Recordings Lloyd Shaw Music
MusicForCallers aggregate site You2CanDance Promotional Site WheresTheDance Dance Locator


Article Type Owner Links Description

Gerhard Nanninga (


CallerToolBox is a Windows program callers can use to organize their choreography and make it easy to find sequences for specific purposes. Callers can enter their singing call figures, modules, zeros, getins, getouts, or full patter sequences into the database. It is delivered with a database preloaded with many useful sequences. The program:

  • maintains sequences (a number of square dance calls) (singing, full sequences, zeros, getins, getouts)
  • has 2 document viewers for all kind of formats (PDF, MS Word, Web pages)
  • integrates the SD program (see:
  • Integrates other programs : Scan program, Shorthand utility, database editor

Using SqView to Play and Manage Music (Handout)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description

Bob Riggs (


Presentation Handout

SqView is a very popular computer program specifically designed to play and manage square dance music. Bob Rigg’s presentation at CALLERLAB 2019 contains invaluable guidance on how to use the program and organize your music for most effective use.

SqView On Windows

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description

Barry Johnson (


SqView on Windows Document

This 35-page document is a handout by Barry Johnson at an SqView session at CALLERLAB in Richmond, VA in 2019. It takes you through the basics of installing and using the SqView music management program under Windows. The topics include:

  • Download and Installation
  • Backup
  • Options
  • Music Organization
  • Playing Music
  • Displaying Lyrics, Cuesheets, and Choreography
  • Typical Errors
  • Advanced Topics

Behind The Mike Newsletter

Article Type Owner Links Description

Barry Wonson (

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.

The Table of Contents entries for past BTM editions have been gathered together in a separate article to facilitate searching for specific topics. Click here to view that article.

Goldwave Music Editing Software

Article Type Owner Links Description

Goldwave Inc.


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

Audacity Team


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

Vic Ceder (


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

Vic Ceder (


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

Bill Ackerman (


Before computers, callers worked out choreography by moving “checkers”, sometimes termed “dolls”. 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

Thomas Bernhed (


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.


Article Type Owner Links Description

Reinhold Roedig (


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.

SqView Installation and Use

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description

Richard Manning (


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

CALLERLAB Online Teaching Resource

Article Type Owner Links Description

CALLERLAB Choreographic Applications Committee (

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

Sets In Order Archive

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description

Bob Osgood


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.


Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Brad Christie ( 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.

Article Type Owner Links Description
Resource Vic & Debbie Ceder ( Website 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