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
Do not fall into the pitfall of using a demonstration set to teach the figures. The dancers on the floor learn by dancing, not watching. They remember the movements they dance far better than the movements they watch others dance. Any mistakes, individual mannerisms, or style of dancing, of the demonstration set are apt to be passed on to the floor as precepts.
About style. Style in dancing is just good dancing. "Stylized" dancing is just the opposite.
The time required to dance the various parts and figures of the Square Dance are given in this book, either in the discussions of those figures and movements or in the call itself. Know your timing and counts! The dancers must dance as you call. Make certain that the music is played in the proper tempo and in your voice key. You are a part of the music as well as a part of the dance. Calling is an art and requires time, study, and effort.
And do punctuate your calls! Never call in a straight line which is flat with no punctuation and never ends until the music stops; a monotonous monotone. The comma's, semicolons, periods, interrogation points and exclamation marks must be in your calls just as much as if in print, and for the same reason; to give intelligence, character, form, and accent to your calk.
If you call as this paragraph is written with no punctuation shown your call will sound just as flat and will be as meaningless as this reads it will go in one ear of the dancers and out the other it will not register
Don't call that way! Phrase, time, accent, and—punctuate!
Breathing for Callers
Proper breathing is as important to the Square Dance caller as it is for a singer, and for the same reasons. The place to breathe is just before the "downbeat" of each two-measure phrase of the call. The caller should simply take a short, quick breath, inaudibly, just before the first word of each "line" of the call, which will be more than sufficient to cany him through