Tim Marriner’s Caller Education Materials

Tim Marriner
Last Update
2021-10-18 17:10:36

Tim Marriner was a CALLERLAB Accredited Caller Coach who created and published a large quantity of caller educational material over the years. Tim created a webpage and generously made this wealth of informative articles available for free download in PDF format. Sadly, Tim died suddenly in 2016, depriving square dancing of one of its most knowledgeable and articulate advocates. His education webpage has since been taken down, but his heirs have graciously allowed us to host most of that material here in the KnowledgeBase.

The caller education material from his education page is collected in the list below. There is also a collection of material created by Tim on the CALLERLAB website which you can access here. There is some overlap in the items, but each collection also has items not included in the other.

After Parties
Any official activities that go on after the end of the normal dance event are often called After Parties. When asked to organize or to be a part of one it is good to find out exactly what type of event is being sought after by the planners. The following list might not be all inclusive but here are some of the most common after party events.
Instructions to Angels
Associated Dance Forms
A brief history of dance forms related to square dancing.
Business Side of Calling
Square dance calling is a business. You became a professional once you accepted your first payment for your services. At one time it might have been just a hobby but at some point you knew that you had to get reimbursed for your investment of both time and money. Being paid is at least an incentive for your efforts. The fact is, now you are a small business owner operator.
Caller Contract
A sample contract for booking a dance.
Caller's Partner
There is no one correct or approved way for a caller and partner to interact. The single most important element of the caller/partner relationship is a shared and mutual perception of what each expects of the other. This understanding can only be achieved through an honest process of negotiated agreement.
Chicken Plucker Evolution
The basic module known as Chicken Plucker is a road map for moving active dancers across the set and back. Moreover it’s a method of choreographic control that can be disguised anywhere along the journey by inserting zeros, and equivalents. Invert and Rotate modules and/or conversion modules as well as basic methods of sight calling can also be used to enhance the sequence while maintaining control of the floor. By analyzing the pattern one can better appreciate its’ use as a method of choreographic control. The following describes the Chicken Plucker in old school incremental steps. It would be best to fully understand and master each step before advancing to fully appreciate the evolutionary process.
Choreo Nightmare
A sample sequence that breaks all the rules for creating choreography.
Dance Parties
A description of the various types of dance parties.
Dancers Required Worksheet
A worksheet for identifying calls requiring 8 people, 4 people, 2 people, and 1 person.
Do Not Call List
The following are actual combinations that I have heard from callers over the years. They are not being intentionally developed for demonstration purposes. This material is not recommended for use at any time as they exhibit bad body flow, inappropriate hand availability, or are deemed improper. Unfortunately this list is continually growing.
Easy Party Dance Choreography
Some sample dance party choreography.
Some thoughts on the ethics of calling.
Glossary of Common Caller Jargon
Definitions for some of the common terms you might hear fellow callers use.
Some tips on singing harmony with another caller.
History and Heritage
A brief history of MWSD and its antecedents.
Leadership is an art that is used to influence (not dictate) the thoughts and actions of others. The secret of successful leadership is sometimes identified as the ability to lead people in the direction they wish to go. Leadership is an acquirable skill – it can be learned. Leaders are not born, they are made. They come into being by three ways; appointment, election, or emerge out of need. Not everyone is an effective leader.
Mainstream Getouts
Some Mainstream GetOuts from common FASRs
Master of Ceremonies
A discussion of your duties and responsibilities when serving as a Master of Ceremonies at a dance.
Mechanics of Choreography
A brief description of the elements of FASR.
Methods of Choreographic Management.
An overview of the 5 main methods of choreographic management.
Microphone Techniques
An overview of the types of microphones, how they work, how to decide what will work best for you.
Modular Basics
A single page with examples of Chicken Plucker, Invert and Rotate, and Magic Modules.
Modular Calling
The key principles and terminology associated with using Modules for choreographic management.
Music Alternatives
With the advent of technology, more sources of music have become available other than from the usual square dance music producer. With the improvement of internet access, it is now easier to download music from numerous sites. These alternative sounds can provide an enormous amount of variety for dances as well as keeping our activity relevant. There are precautions with alternative music that need to be addressed.
Music Management
A discussion of the types of equipment involved in presenting music and the advantages of various alternatives.
Music Structure
The basic elements of music and how they interact.
New Dancer Coordinator
Clubs that are recruiting new dancers should have someone appointed as the New Dancer Coordinator. This document describes the responsibilities of that position.
New Dancer Letter
A sample of a letter to new dancers explaining what's going to happen as their lessons start.
Plus Getouts
Some sample getouts at Plus from some common FASRs.
Program Outline
A sample form for programming an evening dance.
Programming is a set of goals or a plan of action accomplishing an end result. Programming makes for better dances by assuring variety increasing overall enjoyment. It is the “art” of successful calling!
How to promote yourself and communicate well with dancers.
A discussion of the need for recruitment and some ideas for approaching it.
Self Improvement Techniques
Some suggestions for continuous self improvement.
Showmanship Approaches
Some considerations impacting showmanship.
What is showmanship?
Sight Resolutions
Some suggestions for sight resolving from various situations.
Simple Sight
How to use some simplified versions of sight calling.
Singing Call Adaptation
How can you change the figure in a singing call?
Singing Call Techniques
Some things to think about that will improve your singing call performance.
Smooth Dancing
The elements that contribute to smooth dancing and how to control them.
Square Recovery
How the caller and dancers can work together to recover a broken square without stopping other squares or telling everyone to square their sets.
A discussion of the place of styling in MWSD.
Teaching Tips for Basic and Mainstream
Teaching Tips for each call on the Basic and Mainstream lists
Teaching Tips for Plus
Teaching Tips for each call on the Plus list.
Some strategies for effective teaching.
Vocal Delivery
A discussion of three different styles of delivering calls.
Vocal Techniques
A collection of vocal terms describing techniques that can be used to produce unique vocal effects for versatility and stylistic differences.
Working With Squares and Rounds
Guidelines to support the success of dance events that offer both squares and rounds.