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

With Calls, instructions, diagrams, steps & sheet music

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of the West and Southwest
In the West, the call of "Allemande Left," or, "On the Corner with your left hand" is practically always followed by a "Grand Right and Left" call. A "Once and a Half," "Back Track," or any other variation of the Grand Right and Left has warning phrases beforehand. However, the dancers do not always hear or heed these phrases. They augment the wTords of command and help greatly, but you still "Gotta accentuate the positive]"
No caller can properly accent his calls unless he knows them perfectly. He must be at ease, relaxed, and absolutely certain of his words, phrases, timing, and figures. He must also be able to teach briefly and efficiently any figure he calls. A caller should never call for more dancers than he can properly instruct. The number of dancers for whom you can call well is the number you can teach well. Anyone can memorize and "mouth" a call, even a parrot. But a parrot could not make a "floor" square dance. Neither can a "mouthing" caller.
There are a few caller's tricks worth knowing. One is to relax and to flex the knee while calling. Stand easily and let your knees relax. Another is the trick of beating time with the heel rather than with the foot. You keep your balance, relax, and get a better time and rhythm. Your heel will pick up the beat of the music without conscious effort or concentration on your part, leaving you free for other attentions. The beat of your heel will get into your call and guide it. Your voice should be "projected." Get it out of your throat and up into your mouth, forward.
People dislike having someone shout at them. A shout is not plain. It is just noise. Modulate your voice, keep it down and strive for distinctness, clarity, pleasantness, and good humor.
Make yourself a part of the floor and part of the music. A good caller dances in every set, every time he calls, whether there are one or a hundred sets on the floor. Keep your calls interesting and alive by being interested and alive yourself. Any