West Coast Square Dancing Flexible Learning Program

The West Coast Square Dancing site provides a great example of effective marketing of square dancing. It serves as a vehicle to promote several clubs in western British Columbia. In addition, they have designed a modified teaching plan called the Flexible Learning Program that allows more student intakes per year and also accommodates people who have to miss lessons due to travel or work.

Flash Cards for MS Calls Not in SSD

Bruce Holmes, who is the caller for North Shore Squares in Evanston, ILL, has created sets of flash cards for calls on the MS list that are not included in the SSD list. There is a separate set that contains calls from the SSD list. The link points to a PDF file that prints 6 calls on each 8-1/2×11 page. The print is double sided so that when you print the pages the call name is on one side and a dancer-friendly description of the call is on the back. These sets of cards can be distributed to dancers as a teaching aid.

North Shore Squares – Zero to 50 in 18 Months

Bruce Holmes is the caller for a new club in Evanston, ILL called North Shore Squares, which at the time of this writing has been in operation for about 18 months. This story is an inspiring personal narrative that charts his journey through the process of using the Social Square Dance (SSD – formerly named Sustainable Square Dance) system as a tool to dig their club out of an all-too-common hole.

Flash Cards for Plus Calls

Bruce Holmes, who is the caller for North Shore Squares in Evanston, ILL, has created sets of flash cards for calls on the Plus list. One set contains calls from the SSD list. The link points to a PDF file that prints 6 calls on each 8-1/2×11 page. The print is double sided so that when you print the pages the call name is on one side and a dancer-friendly description of the call is on the back. These sets of cards can be distributed to dancers as a teaching aid.

Tech Squares Call Definitions

Tech Squares is a club that operates at MIT. An interesting fact about this club is that their lesson-set is actually offered by MIT as a Physical Education credit. Part of the documentation they provide is a set of call definitions from Basic to Plus. They are abbreviated definitions that are intended to help dancers remind themselves about how the call works.

SSD, MS, & Plus Call Booklets from North Shore Squares

North Shore Squares is a new club that dances in Evanston, ILL. Despite only being active for 18 months or so they already boast 55 members. They elected to use the Sustainable Square Dance lesson system (previously known as Club 50) to facilitate rapid intakes of new dancers combined with retention after graduation from lessons. As a teaching aid they prepared booklets containing a concise and easily read definition for each call, many including color diagrams to illustrate the action. The first booklet contains calls on the SSD list. The second contains the MS calls not on the SSD list and the Plus calls.

Social Square Dance (SSD / Sustainable SD / Club50) Teaching Videos

North Shore Squares dances in Evanston, ILL and has been using the Sustainable Square Dance (also known as SSD and Club 50) teaching list as their intake level. To help their dancers they have created a series of teaching videos that demonstrate the calls in the SSD 50-call lesson plan. Follow the link to see the list of call videos, both in alphabetical order and by lesson.

Alberta Chatter Newsletter

The Alberta Chatter newsletter is published every six to eight weeks. It contains articles on promotion, member retention, and general interest articles, as well as a regular column by a visually impaired dancer, Dee Jackins, entitled “The Lighter Side of Darkness”. 

Social Square Dance (SSD) Teaching Guide

The Social Square Dance system is designed to create a 50 call entry program that can be taught quickly, roughly 12 weeks, and yet serve as a realistic destination program for long-term square dancers. While the idea of a shortened entry list is certainly not unique to this system, its design differs in providing a mechanism for keeping dancers in the entry program for at least 2 years, and in many cases, forever. The SSD Teaching Guide provides a lesson plan, teaching tips, and sample choreography to assist callers in using the system.

A Step in Time – The American Square Dance (book)

This book traces the history of the American Square Dance from its earliest roots to modern day. It was compiled by reviewing the documents and artifacts donated by the Square Dance Foundation of New England to the collection at the University of New Hampshire. The author was the major curator of materials collected over a span of more than thirty years.

GoldWave Music Editing Software

GoldWave is a music recording and editing program on Windows. 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

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) elimination, cropping or extending recordings, adjusting bass/treble balances, and much more.

Sd – A Square Dance Caller’s Helper

Sd is a computer program that lets callers enter choreography and displays the results of each call 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

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.

Callarama

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.

How Rounds Are Scheduled Can Be Important

Jerry Junck reports on an observation from a club on Vancouver Island. Their format involved having a round between tips and they noticed that new dancers had difficulty getting into squares with the experienced club members. This seemed to be because the experienced dancers were doing the rounds and simply squared up right away since they were already on the floor. The club decided to make a change and do the round immediately after the square dance tip, then take the break. Now they have found that the new dancers were able to join squares with experienced dancers much more easily.

Jeff Priest’s Singing Call Figures for Teaching

Jeff Priest has produced an outstanding set of books to assist callers teaching in the Basic through Plus programs. These books contain singing call figures which each feature only one call from the program being taught. This enables callers to teach the programs in whatever order they wish, and still use singing call figures that feature the call currently being taught.

Restructuring El Camino Reelers Classes

El Camino Reelers in the San Francisco area was suffering a steady year-by-year decline in dancers and decided to reinvigorate their membership with a new approach to recruiting and teaching dancers. This detailed 16-page document describes how they implemented this plan: how they advertised, how they recruited, how they restructured their teaching and club groups, and how they integrated new dancers into the club. It contains a wealth of insightful thinking and planning.

Community Dance Journals

The CD Journal (formally titled CDP Journal) is published several times a year by the Committee for Community and Traditional Dance (CCTD). The Community Dance Program Journal is aimed at providing material to support dance events for non-dancers: party nights, intro nights, demos, etc. The material uses a limited number of calls (about 24) and allows the engagement of people with no prior square dance experience. Each Journal edition documents a number of such dances and the CD Journal has been published since 1992.

Digital Music Presentation (Handout)

These handouts (Digital Music 101 and 102) were created for a presentation at the 2018 CALLERLAB Convention in Albuquerque. Digital Music 101 deals with the Windows considerations for downloading your music, placing it in your PC’s file structure, and managing the physical files. Digital Music 102 deals with editing your music files using Audacity, a free music editing program.

CALLERLAB Square Dance Marketing Manual

This square dance marketing plan has been developed by CALLERLAB members in support of our mission: “To foster the art of square dance calling, and improve caller skills.” Just like the square dancer population, the number of square dance callers today is dramatically smaller than 30 years ago. For CALLERLAB to increase the population of callers, we must start by growing the population of square dancers, thereby providing more opportunities for callers to call, and developing a population base from which new callers will be recruited.

BC Westsyde Squares Recruits 29 New Dancers

This story describes how Westsyde Squares in British Columbia used marketing savvy and well targeted advertising to recruit a large new contingent of dancers. It contains a lot of great information about what messages people responded to, as well as an insightful discussion of the reasoning behind the design of the advertising which was a significant element in their success.

Mountaineers 2017 Class

This year, Jim Langdon introduced the Rocky Mountain Recruiting Program to the Mountaineers. Although we had been doing a lot of the pieces of the program, we adopted the entire program. The main emphasis was to set up a committee of 5 couples to divide the work. We also had expectations that the Club Members were to actively pursue new dancers. Our goal was to collect 100 names and end up with 20 new members.

Small Town Club Has 5 Squares of Beginners

The Town of Strathroy has a population base of about 8,500, located about 35 km west of London, ON. Including some surrounding rural areas the natural catchment area is about 22,000. Despite this relatively small population to draw from, this club has a very successful beginner program with 40 paid-up new dancers. How exactly did they accomplish that?

Keith Rubow’s Dance Recordings Site

This site permits you to purchase recorded dances done by a variety of callers as well as some special festivals such as AACE, PACE Extravaganza, and Heartland. In addition there are a number of sets of teaching recordings for levels C1 through C3A. Recordings are provided as downloadable MP3s. The site focuses primarily on Advanced and Challenge, although some callers have provided some Plus tips. This site is a tape group’s best friend.

So You Want To Be A Caller

This article from Paul Cote provides an overview of what is involved in becoming a caller. If you’re thinking about learning to call, this article will give you some insight into what you’re signing up for.

Effects of Cognitive Leisure Activity on Cognition in Mild Cognitive Impairment: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

This article documents a Japanese study on the effects of engaging in dance activities, or playing musical instruments, in individuals displaying symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Their overall conclusion: “Long-term cognitive leisure activity programs involving dance or playing musical instruments resulted in improvements in memory and general cognitive function”.

Bob Brundage Interviews

This summary article contains a table (see below) that contains links to the interviews that Bob Brundage did with a wide variety of notable people in the square dance community. These interviews represent a huge project for which Bob was awarded the CALLERLAB Milestone award in 2012. Both audio files and written transcripts are provided. Listening to these interviews provides a unique and personal vantage point on some of the seminal developments in square dance history.

IAGSDC History Wiki

The IAGSDC is an umbrella organization for square dance clubs around the world that serve the LGBTQ community. Their History Wiki presents a wide range of historical information about LGBTQ square dancing, including current and past clubs, notable people, their annual Convention, the Gay Callers Association (GCA) and other affiliated organizations, as well as the evolution of the IAGSDC itself.

Lloyd Shaw Foundation

The Lloyd Shaw Foundation preserves and shares a diverse range of dance and music traditions with an inter-generational audience. We develop leadership in traditional dance and music forms, and sponsor events and scholarships to ensure their continuity. Through our archives housed at the University of Denver, and at our Dance Center in Albuquerque, NM, we retain important historical records that document the past and enable us to preserve the future of traditional American folk dance.

Square Dance History Project

Despite its popularity, the history of square dance has been sparsely documented. Only a few currently published and available books offer any detailed discussion of the development of this form of American social dance. Four of those are described here in the KnowledgeBase. The Square Dance History Project (http://squaredancehistory.com) site offers hundreds of documents, sound clips, and videos that further illustrate this history.

Sets In Order Archive

The Sets In Order magazines are one of their legacies 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. The issues contain articles on almost every imaginable aspect of square dancing and calling.

As I Saw It – Bob Osgood (book)

This book was compiled and edited by Paul Moore. It describes the life and career of Bob Osgood, one of the founding fathers of MWSD and through that lens provides an enlightening vantage point on the evolution and growth of the square dance activity. Much of it is in Bob’s own words, taken from his own articles, notes, and recordings. A remarkable insight into a remarkable man.

Nuts And Bolts (book)

Kip Garvey presents the principles of calling current day square dance for readers interested in understanding underlying concepts and technique with emphasis on the technical aspects of choreography. This deep dive into choreographic theory is loaded with graphic illustrations and many Getout, Conversion and Transition call modules.

Why We Should Care About On-Line Marketing

This an article extracted from the October 2016 edition of the Alberta Chatter newsletter edited by Claudia Littlefair. In the article Claudia examines the typical strategies various age groups use when shopping or looking for information, and how we can use that understanding to reach potential dancers.

Approaching Malls With Vacant Storefronts for Demo Spaces

Check out this article in today’s Chicago Tribune. Our club reached out to a local shopping mall with lots of empty storefronts. The management company was very interested in bringing people in for events. They will not be charging us to use the space. We will be hosting a new dancer dance at our local mall in October, and an intro to square dance event next January.

Enticing New Callers

Here is a report from Arlene M. Kaspik about the New Callers Seminar that took place during the ILLINOIS SD CONVENTION, July 30, 2016, in Itasca. We are so incredibly thrilled by the potential new callers in our midst. Way to go, Arlene! – Janice (Illinois 2016 SD Convention co-chair).

Media Articles on Square Dancing

This summary article contains a table (see below) that points to a number of media articles about square dancing or people involved in square dancing. They frequently contain information useful in the promotion of square dancing. The articles are sorted by publication date and location of story. Click on the Article Title to see the article text.

Rocky’s Success Story

Three years ago the Rocky Mountain House Whirlaways were struggling to hold their own. This spring they already have 2-1/2 squares signed up and paid for, for next fall, and they haven’t even advertised yet! Their recent President’s Report explains how their club worked together to turn things around.

174 Prospecting Ideas

Timberline Toppers is a club that has dramatically grown their membership by creating an effective plan and executing it repeatedly. One element of that plan is to use a variety of prospecting tactics. Over the years they have collected a large number of prospecting ideas and published them in this document.

Timberline Toppers’ Recruiting Plan

Timberline Toppers in Colorado created a recruiting plan that they used repetitively over a period of several years resulting in a dramatic regrowth of their failing club. In 2005 they struggled to put a square on the floor. Their first execution of this plan resulted in 38 new club members. They have fine tuned their plan over the years and now believe they can develop a class of 40 or more any time they choose to put forth the effort.