Square Dance Caller Resources

The following links represent a small sample of the material available online to support the efforts of square dance callers. This page is divided into three sections:

Calling Advice, Articles, & CommentaryDance FiguresWebsites

Calling Advice, Articles, & Commentary

Each link is tagged to indicate a connection to either modern Western square dance (MWSD) or traditional square dance (T).

Dance Figures

Links are tagged to indicate the style(s) of square you will find when exploring each resource: quadrille (Q), old-time mountain (OTM), traditional Western (TW), singing squares (SS), modern Western (MWSD), and tradition-style modern (TM). For more on what these categories describe, see our overview of square dance styles.

  • Northern Junket Square Dances (Q, OTM, TW, SS, TM) — Table of Contents for squares included in issues of Ralph Page's Northern Junket
  • Square Dances "as called, arranged, or written" by Ralph Page (Q, OTM, TW, SS, TM) — from Ralph Page's Northern Junket
  • Kentucky Running Set (OTM), by Hugh Stewart — A useful and informative introduction, plus a variety of figures for big set, square, and two couple formations
  • A Look at Southern Squares (OTM), by Bill Martin — A useful and informative orientation, plus a variety of figures for little circle (two couple), big set, and square formations
  • Dare to be Square Caller's Handbook [pdf] (OTM, TW), compiled by T-Claw — An entertaining and informative handbook for square dance callers, created by T-Claw, one of the many younger callers inspired by Bill Martin. The handbook includes calling tips for squares and family dances; program planning for a whole evening; both “Dare To Be Square” articles by Phil Jamison; and plenty of dance figures and patter.
  • Dare to be Square 2010 workshop notes (OTM, TW), by Bill Martin — Workshop notes/programs listing the dances he called over the course of the weekend
  • Traditional Square Dance Figures (TW, OTM) — From the Lloyd Shaw Foundation website
  • Northern Lights (TW) — Figures and patter for a square dance called "Northern Lights," a signature call of master caller (and former Lloyd Shaw Foundation president) Bill Litchman
  • Square Dances Considered Traditional, and Singing Calls in Use Prior to 1954 (TW, OTM, SS) — A brief introduction and a variety of traditional square dance figures, from the Canadian Olde Tyme Square Dance Callers' Association
  • Smoke on the Water (SS) — A version of the popular singing call to the tune "Smoke on the Water," figure by Pancho Baird. Also included are the original lyrics to the song by Zeke Clements, as well as a brief discussion of historical context
  • Home in Pasadena (SS), by Rick Mohr — A singing square to the song "Home in Pasadena," with lyrics and chord changes
  • The Birds and the Bees (TM),
    The Phantom Tollbooth (TM), and
    Warp and Weft (TM), all by Rick Mohr — Three of Rick's recently composed grid squares
  • Squares by Bob Dalsemer (TM) — A collection of recently composed squares
  • Quadrille Style Dances (MWSD, TM), and
    Square Dances (MWSD, TM) — A sample of material that can be used in either a modern Western or traditional context, from the excellent website, "Dancing for Busy People." (Note to traditional callers: This site is created with a MWSD foundation, so I recommend reading through the Dance Basics Definitions to establish familiarity with the terminology, which may be different from yours.)
  • Sitting Square Dance Figures, and
    Example Dances [pdf] — An orientation and introduction to "sitting square dances," followed by several examples of dances incorporating sitting square dance choreography. This style of square dancing is useful for people with limited mobility, or with very large groups, or simply to offer a different dance experience.

Websites

Each link is tagged to indicate a connection to either modern Western square dance (MWSD) or traditional square dance (T).

  • Western Square Dancing - dosado.com (MWSD) — A wide variety of resources for people interested in modern Western square dancing; sponsored by Hanhurst’s Music Review Service
  • You 2 Can Dance (MWSD) — Designed to promote public awareness of the benefits of square and round dancing; sponsored by the Alliance for Round, Traditional and Square-Dance (ARTS) coalition
  • Dancing for Busy People (MWSD, T) — based on the MWSD Community Dances Program and designed to provide dance leaders with a variety of dances (including, but not limited to, squares) based on a specified set of 24 basic figures, which are defined on the site. This is an excellent resource for modern Western and traditional callers.
  • Square Dance History Project (MWSD, T) — celebrating the rich history of North American square dance through stories, photographs and video collections