American Square Dances of The West
& Southwest - online instruction book

With Calls, instructions, diagrams, steps & sheet music

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A "caller" must be a teacher and a leader, and very capable in both of these roles. No one can "call" for a teacher and no one can teach for a caller. Leadership is all-important. You are working with something alive and vibrant; a thing of motion, a constantly changing pattern. Dancers on the floor are indi­viduals, working together, but each must work out his own interpretation if they are to have a dance and not a drill. That is why the Square Dance has lived for over three hundred years. It lives and breathes, changes and grows, as does any living organism. Any Square Dance class must assume the qualities of a Square Dance party, with instructions brief and concise, a few at a time, making certain that all understand what is ex­pected of them before dancing the figure, then dancing it instead of drilling to perfection. In the second section of this book the caller will find the necessary words of instruction, the proper phrasing and timing of the calls, and a progression and program to follow. Any caller must know a call perfectly before giving it to a floor of dancers. He cannot "read" a call. It must be studied, memorized, and practiced until it flows freely with the music. The last "line" of a call, regardless of how often the figure has been repeated in the dance, must be as alive and inter­esting as the first line or phrase. The calls must be distinct, and in time, phrase and key with the music, and give the proper time value for each movement or combination of movements, as indi­cated in these calls. The caller's responsibility is to lead, to time, to phrase, and to help the dancers. Those are the only reasons he is up there before the microphone. And, do use a microphone. The days of the shouting "Hog Caller" went out with the intro­duction of the amplified voice over a sound system.

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