Milestone Award Winners

The Milestone is one of CALLERLAB’s most prestigious awards. To be eligible for the Milestone one must have worked in an uncharted field of square dancing and effected positive change that has stood the test of time. Additionally we look for unselfish contributions, professional leadership, and having had broad influence in the square dance activity. The link takes you to a list of Milestone winners.

Notes For European Callers Note Service

This article points to editions of Notes For European Callers originally produced by Al Stevens and later taken over by Lorenz Kuhlee. This publication was a caller note service with a focus on choreography, but also containing other topics of interest to European callers. The list below covers editions from 1988 to 2001. Click on the title to view a pdf of the scanned edition. Earlier pdfs are not full-text searchable but later ones are.

News ‘N Notes Caller Note Service (Advanced)

This article points to editions of News ‘N Notes (Advanced) produced by Ed Foote. This publication was a caller note service with a focus on choreography, but also containing other topics of interest to callers. The list below covers editions from 1984 to 1989. Click on the title to view a pdf of the scanned edition. The pdfs are not full-text searchable.

News ‘N Notes Caller Note Service

This article points to editions of News ‘N Notes produced by Al Brundage, Earl Johnston, and Ed Foote. This publication was a caller note service with a focus on choreography, but also containing other topics of interest to callers. The list below covers editions from 1984 to 1989. Click on the title to view a pdf of the scanned edition. The pdfs are full-text searchable.

Checker Cheats

Before the days of computers callers would write or work through choreography using “checkers” or “dolls”. The checkers were usually colored pieces of plastic to represent the 8 dancers. The caller would push them through the various call actions by hand. This procedure was tedious and error prone. So most callers developed “checker cheats” to simplify moving the checkers and reduce errors. The sources below are collections of some of these checker cheats.

United Square Dancers of America (USDA)

The UNITED SQUARE DANCERS OF AMERICA, INC. (USDA) was formed on June 26, 1981, during the National Square Dance Convention held in Seattle, Washington, and has grown to the size that approaches the representation of 310,000 dancers throughout the United States. USDA is an organization formed by dancers, for dancers, and is under the operational control of dancers.

USDA COVID-19 Letter

The United Square Dancers of America published this open letter with guidance on handling dances during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

CallerToolBox

CallerToolBox is a Windows program callers can use to organize their choreography and make it easy to find sequences for specific purposes. Callers can enter their singing call figures, modules, zeros, getins, getouts, or full patter sequences into the database. It is delivered with a database preloaded with many useful sequences.

Corona Learning Assistance Seminar Series (CLASS)

During the COVID-19 pandemic all callers suddenly found themselves with lots of time on their hands. Jeremy Butler and Ted Lizotte decided to use some of that time productively and provide a series of online lectures to further caller education. A wide variety of topics and speakers were covered.

Virtual Square Dances and Recordings

There have always been pockets of people who find themselves unable to assemble a whole square, or sometimes even another couple, but who want to dance anyway. The COVID-19 pandemic turned the whole square dance population into such people. This article provides a collection of recordings specifically aimed at people dancing by themselves. Some are in the form of a “virtual dance” where you can see other couples dancing along with you in their living rooms. Some are more in form of a demo couple showing you the moves.

Ed Foote – All Things Considered

Ed Foote is a well known caller who has been calling since 1965. He was a founding father of Challenge dancing and served as Chairman of the CALLERLAB Challenge Committee for 30 years. He created the National Advanced and Challenge Convention which for decades was a highlight on the calendar of most challenge dancers. He is a CALLERLAB Accredited Caller Coach and has run or served on the staff of hundreds of caller schools across North America and around the world. In 2008 he received the Milestone award, one of CALLERLAB’s highest honors. He writes prolifically and has published articles in most of the major square dance magazines, often as a regular monthly columnist. He currently writes a column for American Square Dance called All Things Considered. Below are pointers to a number of these articles as well as some education material from his caller schools.

Sample Radio Ads From Montana

Hunter Keller voiced four professional radio spots to advertise his beginner classes in Montana. Their first usage generated about 25 new dancers and a second round an additional 16. Each 30-second spot featured a different music style and a slightly varied message. Click on the button below to see links to the MP3 files so you can hear what they sounded like. If you’re considering doing radio spots, they provide a terrific example.

Square Dance History Channels on YouTube

There are two YouTube channels that collect videos related to square dancing and square dance history: squaredancehistory, and squaredancehistory2. The first (squaredancehistory) contains 100 video clips recorded at the November 2011 Dare To Be Square weekend held at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.. The second (squaredancehistory2) includes videos illustrating the many styles of square dance and some interview material explaining the evolution of MWSD.

Lee Kopman on the Phil Donahue Show

Lee Kopman created more calls used in contemporary square dance than any other individual, some 350 or more. In 1980, he appeared on the Phil Donahue Show and presented this program of square dancing, joined by dancers from New York, Chicago, Ohio and Wisconsin. Assisted at the mic by caller Dave Taylor, who calls for a group of young dancers, Kopman provides lucid responses to the host’s questions, and he provides clear demonstrations of the differences between traditional and modern square dancing.

Buddy Weaver Square Dance Music Podcast

This podcast is for the purpose of square dance education.
These are audio files that have been digitally re-mastered from albums and videos previously released on the various music labels owned by Buddy Weaver. Listeners are welcome to listen (stream) or download any of the podcasts. Use the podcasts for dancing in your home or for research – it is provided to you at no charge.

Behind The Mike Newsletter

Barry Wonson edits an Australian caller newsletter called Behind The Mike. It consistently presents a wealth of useful information for callers and dance leaders. You can subscribe to have editions emailed to you, or you can view past editions on their website at https://www.behindthemikewebsite.com

The purpose of this summary article is to provide a searchable index of the table of contents entries for past Behind The Mike issues. This will make it easier to zero in on editions that have material of particular interest to you.

Call Analysis Sheets

In order to design choreography callers must have an intimate knowledge of the characteristics of each call they use. The purpose of a Call Analysis Sheet is to provide a format for analyzing each call and documenting that information. Three examples are provided.

Lots Of Stuff About Modules

This summary article aggregates a great deal of material on the use of modules in square dance choreography. Modules provide a powerful mechanism for creating and presenting square dance choreography and they are a tool that all callers need to be familiar with. This article provides a brief overview of what modules are, an introduction to the terminology involved, and pointers to many other sources of information.

Visits With the Legends

For the past several years CALLERLAB has included a convention session called “A Visit With the Legends”. In each session several well known and pioneer people were interviewed and told “war stories” about their careers and events in their lives. These sessions have proven to be extremely popular with the convention audience. The sessions were recorded, some with audio only, some with video, and some both. While the recordings are all contained in the pages that list CALLERLAB education session recordings, we have created this summary article listing the “legend” recordings so you can find them faster.

Square Dance Calling Makes a Comeback in Chicago

Square dancing is enjoying a surge of interest from both dancers and callers in the greater Chicago area. Clubs in Glenview, Wilmette, Evanston and Arlington Heights, as well as Chicago’s North Side, will be offering classes for beginners and intermediate dancers starting in September. But without callers to lead classes, this uniquely American dance form would be in danger of extinction. Luckily, Chicago has become one of the leading areas in the country when it comes to the number of square dance callers-in-training.

Yak Stack Speaker Hook Up Chart

This chart is provided by Scott Bennett who markets Yak Stack speakers. It shows the proper way to hook up speakers to an amplifier to ensure loading is proper. For Hilton equipment the load should be 4 ohms or greater.

Yak Stack Speakers

Yak Stak is a venerable name in square dance speaker equipment. It was recently acquired by Scott Bennett who has put out a modernized version with an even better sound.

Calling for Gay Square Dance Groups

There are some differences in culture and customs between straight and gay square dance groups. Callers who have never called for a gay group before often have questions about what those differences are, and what they should expect.

Technical Zeros

Ever wonder what a “technical zero” is exactly? Or what use they actually are? Are you afraid of using them because the results seem unpredictable? In this paper Barry Johnson takes you through what they are, how they work, and how you can use them to benefit your choreography.

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.