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.


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