SSD Documentation and Support Materials

Barry Clasper (
Last Update
2024-01-05 17:00:38

In 2016 CALLERLAB authorized the formation of the Sustainable Square Dance Committee and charged it with developing materials to support callers interested in exploring the use of the experimental lesson system called Sustainable Square Dance (SSD). Earlier versions of this system had been in use in some areas for quite some time under the name Club 50.

In July, 2020 CALLERLAB announced this system and the supporting Committee were renamed Social Square Dance (SSD). Only the name changed. All existing supporting materials still apply. At the same time, the CALLERLAB Board of Governors formally endorsed the use of SSD as a recommended vehicle for a rapid restart of square dancing after the COVID pandemic subsides. In May, 2021, the CALLERLAB general membership voted to make SSD a formal dance program.

SSD is designed to provide a 50 call entry program that can be taught quickly - roughly 20-25 hours of instruction - 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 SSD, its design differs in providing a mechanism for keeping dancers happy in the entry program for at least 2 years, and in many cases, forever.

This article collects in one place documentation and materials that support the use of the SSD system. Some were created by the CALLERLAB SSD Committee while others were created by people using the system in the field. These are presented in two separate tables below.

Social Square Dance (SSD) Teaching Guide
This comprehensive document provides a lesson plan, teaching tips, and sample choreography to jump-start callers on implementing the SSD lesson system.
Social Square Dance (SSD) FAQs
This document answers many of the questions most frequently asked by people who are evaluating the SSD system. It was published by the SSD Committee.
Social Square Dance (SSD) Call List (Teaching Order)
The official list of SSD calls sorted in teaching order. Note: This document is temporarily unavailable while it is being revised.
Social Square Dance (SSD) Call List (Alphabetic)
The official list of SSD calls sorted alphabetically.
Social Square Dance (SSD) Facebook Group
The SSD Committee has established this group on Facebook to allow people to post questions or report on experiences about SSD.
Press Release announcing Board Of Governors endorsement
Board Of Governors endorsement for using SSD as an approach for rapid restart of square dancing after COVID-19.
User-Created SSD Materials

The list below has two sections. The first contains materials of direct assistance to callers/dancers working with SSD - lists, videos, call definitions, etc. The second contains stories and experiences contributed by users of SSD.

Supporting Documentation and Materials
SSD Teaching Videos
North Shore Squares in Evanston, ILL created a series of teaching videos that demonstrate the calls in the SSD 50-call lesson plan.
Flash cards for SSD calls.
Each card has the name of the call on one side and a dancer-friendly description of the call on the other. These sets of cards can be distributed to dancers as a teaching aid.
SSD Call Booklets
North Shore Squares of Evanston, IL created definition booklets as an SSD teaching aid. The booklets contain a concise and easily read definition for each call, many including color diagrams to illustrate the action.
SSD Alphabetical Call List
A single page that alphabetically lists the calls used in the SSD lesson system. The sheet highlights the calls from the Mainstream list that are used in SSD and also lists separately the Mainstream calls that are NOT used..
SSD Large Print Teaching Checklist
If you sometimes need to do a quick check of the teaching checklist while you're calling, this large print version provided by Allan Hurst saves a lot of squinting.
SSD In A Nutshell
A single page that explains the SSD philosophy and approach, the benefits of using it, and provides pointers to further appropriate documentation.
SSD For Newer Callers
Nick Turner has created an SSD Teaching Guide aimed specifically at newer callers. It comes in two flavors: first the regular 12-week format, and second a lengthened 21-week format for those whose circumstances make the 12-week format too ambitious. The link above takes you to a page of square dance promotional material which contains much more valuable material than just SSD. It is worth reviewing for other ideas and resources. The SSD material is in the second major block. It you want to go directly to the document for the 12-week format click here. For the 21-week format click here.
Stories and Experiences
North Shore Squares - 0 to 50 in 18 months
An inspiring personal narrative that charts a 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.
Stories from Facebook
Some stories posted in Facebook about experiences using SSD.
Teaching an SSD Class
This Winning Ways story from a newer caller explains how she is using the SSD program to teach new dancers.
Save Square Dancing With SSD
Jerry Story and Deborah Carroll-Jones outline the philosophy and approach of SSD and how it can be used to solve square dancing's biggest problem: recruitment and retention.
Planning To Implement SSD
Jeremy Butler presents how they planned and the process they went through to implement SSD in their club.