Contra Dance Callers Course

August 11 - 18, 2013

Held during CDSS at Timber Ridge.

Is there still room?
For up-to-date info about availability and wait lists,
see our main Dance & Music Camps page.



Program Director

Program Description

Great callers draw on a wide range of skills--from teaching, to programming, to timing, to stage presence. If you are an advanced beginner through intermediate caller with a knack for some skills and a commitment to work on the others, and are ready to take your calling to the next level, this intensive calling course could be for you.

In a fun and supportive atmosphere we'll focus on the most important calling skills through exercises, practice, and discussion. Topics include leading clear and concise walkthroughs, picking great dances and programs, working with beginners, crafting calls, vocal and mic technique, and working with musicians.

And in our daily "dancing lab" each participant will have three opportunities to teach and call a dance with live music, camper dancers, and expert feedback, as we work through some of the real-life situations that arise on the dance floor.

In addition to attending the main daily workshop (a 2 hour and 15 minute block in the afternoon) you're invited to participate in the vibrant morning and evening activities of Adult & Family Week at Timber Ridge, including further opportunities to call at an afternoon Open Calling session led by Gaye Fifer. Come prepared to immerse yourself in the many facets of contra calling, dancing, and music. (...including homework assignments between sessions!)

The course is led by Rick Mohr, based on the workshops and exercises he's developed over 15 years of working with groups of callers at dance weeks and weekends across the country. Rick's fun and supportive style combined with deep calling experience helps each participant progress on skills and overcome challenges.


This course is limited to eight participants to ensure plenty of opportunity for active participation. If the course is oversubscribed on March 18 there will be a lottery of the qualified applicants. Please clearly indicate if you would like to attend Adult & Family Week at Timber Ridge, if you did not get a space in the course. Scholarships are available.

Requirements for callers

With your registration form please also include a short description of your calling experience and an area where you'd like to improve.

In order to attend the course you must:

  • Be able to time calls appropriately to phrases of music;
  • Know how many beats of music basic contra figures take;
  • Have called at least 3 contras in a real dance setting such as an open mic, new caller night, guest caller slot, or dance party in your living room;
  • Have a repertoire of at least 3 dances you feel comfortable teaching and calling;
  • Be prepared to receive and incorporate feedback, even if you have a lot of calling experience.

Tentative Schedule

7:45-8:30 Breakfast
10:00 Refreshments
11:30-12:15 All Camp Gathering with songs, singing, games and stories
12:30-1:15 Lunch Buffet
1:00-1:30 Canoeing in the River
1:30-2:15 Bookstore staffed
1:30-3:45 Contra Dance Callers Course
4:45-5:45 Bookstore staffed, Swimming in the Pool, Canoeing in the River
5:15-5:45 Sing for your supper
5:45-6:45 Dinner buffet
6:45 Parade from the Grove to the Playhouse
7:00-7:35 Community Dance
7:35-8:15 All Camp Gathering
8:15 Pied Piper/Bedtime for children 9 & younger
8:30-11:00 Evening Dance Party
9:30 Bedtime for 10-12 year olds
11:00 After-dance Activities