Tuesday, December 22, 2020

 In 1957, when I learned to both dance and call, the choreography was simple, and the calling was fun and exciting.  To dance required a desire for fun and laughter.  To call required an ability to entertain...period.

As new callers developed, their work ethic diminished as did their ability to entertain.  I have discovered that when an aspiring caller first begins, he is now relying on his or her ability to solve a puzzle rather than entertain the dancer.  It has become more and more about the caller.  Problem is, the more that mentality insinuated itself into our activity, the more fractured it became.  Dance levels became social castes and created the misguided assumption of ability, therefore intelligence, levels.  Ergo: if I dance C1 and you dance Plus, I must be smarter therefore better than you.  As ridiculous as that sounds, the existence of that belief is an absolute fact.

Through all of this, I have concluded (right or wrong does not matter because it is my opinion) that callers with no entertainment skills (no talent) rely on difficult choreography to make them look good.  Choreography has become the crutch of untalented callers.

Now, is it really a lack of talent of a lack of work ethic?  I choose the latter!  I have known many extraordinarily successful callers over the past 63 years who could not sing. and had the personality of a stump.  Yet, somehow, through practice, hard work, and planning were able to successfully entertain at both small and large venues.

Now we are having the battle of the acceptance of SSD vs the level system we have used for the past 40+ years.   First, the current system has deteriorated into an unworkable process.  For many, many cultural reasons, the current system just WILL NOT work.

It appears to me that it is not the dancer who is vehemently fighting to installation of SSD as process to learning square dancing, but it is the callers.   The question is...WHY???

My opinion:  In order to properly utilize SSD as a progression to club dancing, be it SSD, Mainstream, or Plus, all callers must learn how to call a square dance and not just memorize some complicated piece of choreography.  And, have no doubt, SSD or a similar process by some other name is the future of MWSD or there will be no future at all.

Callers must learn how to present singing calls!  Callers must learn how to smile and be pleasant to dancers.  In other words, they must learn how to do the same thing over and over and over while entertaining the dancer enough to make them want to come back

It is amazingly easy to call HARD.   It is extremely hard to call EASY!

If you are a caller today and wish to keep your job, you had better learn how to call and not just how to solve puzzles.  It is time to go to work and earn your paycheck.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

 December 9, 2020

It has been more than two years since my last post.  This is not due to a lack of activity but, rather, a lack of motivation.   Actually, that is not true.  A lot has happened but I have been too preoccupied to write about it.

2020...what can I say?  With the onslaught of COVID 19, the world has been turned upside down.  Combine that with U.S. politics and the result is nothing short of total chaos.   A very disappointing chaos at the very least.

I am truly disappointed to the point of disgust in the American people.  The level of petulance, and selfishness has far exceeded anything I thought possible.  For years we have referred to the "Me First" generation.  I think, sadly, it has become the "Me Only" generation.


First, the pandemic.   As if it weren't bad enough on its own, our reaction and response to it has been horrendous!   Millions have been infected yet many are claiming it is a hoax.  Ludicrous!  The shouts of "No one can make me wear a mask" are about as stupid as anything I have heard in my 82 years on this planet.  No one should have to "make" you wear a mask.  You should do so out of compassion for your fellow man.  Oh, that's right, we have no compassion.  That is a lost emotion!  In February, I contracted the virus and carried the illness and its symptoms for about seven weeks.  It is no hoax!   Now, I hear "I won't take any vaccine, it will only make me sick"  That is taking stupid to an art form.  I do not understand the compulsion to avoid doing the right thing.  It does not make you weak.  Doing the right thing only displays your strength.  Sadly, far too many are unwilling to recognize that truth.

Second, American politics.  Wow!  I grew up believing in the democratic process:  State your beliefs, feelings, and stance.  Vote.  Accept the results as the mandate of the population and support those results because you are an American.  Where you were born should not matter if you are an American citizen. If you are not, then you are a guest and you accept the rules of your host.    Unfortunately, after almost any election today, 49% of the voters will be disappointed!  We have reach a level of parity from which I am concerned we will not recover.   Also, if the final score shows your side losing, accept defeat, support the winner, and try harder next time.   Yeah, right!  Again, I am thoroughly disappointed and disgusted with the American people.   We are, unequivocally, the most spoiled and childish people on earth.  I hate to say this but we deserve the fate we receive. If the American people want to see the real problem, go find yourself a mirror.

Third, Square Dancing.   Sob!   The activity which has provided me and my family with so much enjoyment over the past 63 years is dissolving in front of my eyes through no fault of its own.  Square dancing is a totally social activity and the pandemic is rapidly destroying the social aspect of life as we know it.  I strongly applaud the efforts that are being made by callers and dancers, especially in the USA, to keep it alive through Zoom and other media activities.  I am afraid that many callers and dancers will not return to dancing for a very long time, if ever.  It will take a monumental effort to revive dancing once this pandemic eases up.  

I really hope that next month, when I post my next blog, will be a much happier time.  I would dearly love to write "good stuff"


Thursday morning, I had a procedure on my spine that, according to my surgeon, will allow me to return to normal today. So far, so good.  I ...