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

With Calls, instructions, diagrams, steps & sheet music

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20                                            American Square Dances
Anyone can call faster than the dancers can execute a moveĀ­ment, and anyone can give figures, calls, and movements faster than the others can learn. Take the dancers along with you but do not run ahead of them and lose them.
It takes quite awhile for one to learn his right from his left, and to answer calls instinctively. A caller must have unlimited patience, good humor, and an understanding and appreciation of the needs and problems of the dancers.
The time required to learn and master the movements, calls, and figures varies with each group, due to several factors: the number of dancers involved, acoustics, suitability of the place of dancing, leadership and ability of the caller, and the quality and kind of music used. Nearly double the rate of progress will be achieved by the use of "live" rather than recorded music. The quality of the sound system has a large bearing upon the results achieved. Dancers must hear the music and the calls distinctly and clearly. The music and calls should never be too loud. Loud music, shouting calls, noise, and distortion prevent dancers from concentrating. It keeps them constantly off balance, and irritates and jangles their sensibilities. Square Dance music and calls must be pleasant to hear. Dancers must enjoy themselves. That is the only reason people dance.
The kind of Square Dance you have depends entirely upon the caller and the music. Poor dancing, roughness, lack of spirit and fun, and inadequate knowledge of the figures and moveĀ­ments are not the fault of the dancers. It is entirely the fault of the music and the caller, the program, and the direction. You must lead, and lead well. The dancers will follow. Whatever qualities found on the floor, good or bad, are a true reflection of the ability and quality of the caller and the music, the leadership and the teamwork developed and used.
Calling cannot be taught by the printed word, but help and advice can be given. Calling is of four types. The basic and oldest type, from which all of the others are derived, is the "prompt" call. In the prompt call, only the commands and