Calling is What?
The Square Dance Caller is fashioned from a unique blend of teacher, prompter, singer, and entertainer. Many people associate the talent of Square Dance Calling, or just "calling," with the patter of an auctioneer.
A caller's obligation to a club usually consists of teaching new dancers, calling squares, and in some instances, teaching and cueing Round Dances (a scripted ballroom dance done in a circle). Squares consist of calling "the calls" (patter) backed by instrumental music for about 8 to 10 minutes and then performing a "singing call" which is nothing more than a pattern of "calls" that fit in 64 beats of music repeated several times per recording. The idea is to change partners 4 times so that everyone dances with everyone else's partner (very traditional). The combination of "patter" and singing calls last approximately 15 minutes and is repeated up to 7 times over the course of the dance session. The music is recorded. Live music being available at Square Dance events is relatively rare.
From many perspectives, Square Dance Calling is a unique art form. It combines the talents required of several other entertainment genres while maintaining its own set of unique challenges. The only way to truly begin to understand, is to experience it on the dance floor.
The nature of the activity requires a caller to be a patient, positive, helpful, dedicated soul. The profession also requires high ethical standards. Two national level professional organizations exist: Callerlab and American Callers Association. Each of these groups maintain a code of ethics for registered members. A visit to their web sites will round out your understanding of Callers.
www.callerlab.org - Callerlab. The International Association of Square Dance Callers
www.americancallers.com - American Callers Association