The International Square Dance Magazine
                         

CALLERLAB VIEWPOINTS
By
Erin Byars

"I knew you were going to ask..."

Ever spent an hour doing an exhibition or demonstration, then walked away feeling like you didn’t really engage the audience? I mean, they thought it was a good show, but no one actually considered that they could be part of the wonderful world of square dancing. If you had walked among the spectators you would have heard them saying things like, “It looks pretty, but I could never do that!” But you know they can! So don’t let people leave without answering those unasked questions.

You can work pro-actively by making short announcements during those few minutes when squares are reforming. Besides being informative, it lets people know there is more dancing to come and keeps them from wandering away. We also, whenever possible, avoid using the words “lesson” or “class” as some people have adverse reactions to those terms.

Here are some sample scripts:

  • I bet you worry about having two left feet! Well, if you can walk, you can square dance. It helps if you can walk to the beat of the music, but it’s not required! Most of square dancing is knowing where to walk, and we can help with that. Just ask any of the folks you see up here...

  • Most people think they need a partner to square dance, but that’s not true! There are clubs just for single folks, also for teens and youth, and some just for couples. We also have handicapable clubs. Something for everyone! In fact, dancers, how many of you met your significant other square dancing? Raise your hands! Look how many of these dancers met their life’s partner on the dance floor – isn’t that great?

  • So, you think you can’t take time for square dancing because you have youngsters at home? Well, we have something just for you! It’s a family club, where moms, dads and kids can all learn to dance together. In fact, we are getting more and more grandmas and grandpas taking the grandkids square dancing every week! Would you like to spend more time with your kids, not less? And, unlike most sports, square dancing is not competitive – it’s cooperative. Besides actual dancing, there is great interaction between kids and adults, helping one to mature and the others to stay young!

  • Did your doctor tell you that you needed more exercise? Have you considered walking, but hesitated because it seemed so boring? How about walking to music with a bunch of fun people? Many doctors recommend square dancing, citing the measured, even pace of walking to the music – and you would be amazed just how many miles you can dance in one evening!

  • Lots of people tell me square dancing looks pretty, but they don’t feel they could do it. Let me tell you, all of us were just like you once! In fact, dancers, how many of you have been dancing one year or less? Raise your hands! How many have been dancing five years? Ten? Twenty? More than twenty? And look, all these people are dancing together and having a wonderful time!

These are just some suggestions to get you started; you will need to adapt these to your area (you may not have a handicapable club, etc.). It is best to find someone who is great at speaking “off the cuff” to present this material – in fact, if you choose someone other than the caller, he or she can grab some water and breathe for a minute during these “answers”! Get all the dancers, or even the spectators, involved in answering questions, interacting and smiling – especially smiling! 

Fun set to music!