July 30 - August 6, 2011

Program Description

Ralph Sweet and Nils Fredland bring two distinct and valuable perspectives to the unique art of calling singing squares. Ralph, at 81, has honed his skills over the course of a sixty-year career, developing his remarkably smooth delivery, collecting a vast repertoire of dances and passing on his love of singing squares to generations of contra and square dancers. During American Week, class participants will learn, and take inspiration, from listening to Ralph teach and call these dances; equal focus will be placed on experiencing Ralph’s calling as a dancer, and listening and analyzing from the caller’s perspective.

Nils is the ideal co-leader for this class; in his early 30s, he fell in love with singing squares upon hearing a recording of Ralph calling some of his standards. Nils immediately began his own process of learning to call singing squares by listening and dancing to Ralph as often as possible. Over the course of the last six years, Nils has developed a thorough understanding of what makes a great singing square dance caller. He will help class participants develop that same understanding, with a focus on putting the essential skills to practical use right away, in a safe and supportive environment.

The daily class period will be broken up into three parts: a whole group exercise, led by Ralph and Nils, with a focus on singing, basic patter square calling skills and how to combine the two; dancing, listening and analyzing, during which class participants will rotate between dancing to Ralph and participating in a “listening lab” with Nils in order to recognize and define the subtle skills that make Ralph a master; and mic time for each participant to try out what they’ve learned, backed by a fantastic musical staff, with supportive feedback from Ralph, Nils and other class participants.

Program Directors

Ralph Sweet

Nils Fredland

7:45-8:15 Hot Breakfast served cafeteria style
8:15-8:45 Cold Breakfast Coffee/Tea available
Movement Improvement with Tai Chi: Cis Hinkle
9:00-11:15 Singing Squares Callers Course
11:15-12:15 Swimming, Bookstore staffed, spaces available
12:15 Lunch
Argentine Tango: Matthew Duveneck, Anna Gilbert
What Makes Good Dance Music: Andrew VanNorstrand, Noah VanNorstrand
Singing: Nils Fredland
Mind-bending Contras and More: Cis Hinkle
Musicians Dance Ensemble: Emily Troll
Community Art: Ann Percival
4:00-4:45 Tea, Swimming and Bookstore staffed
Rendezvous: Lisa Greenleaf
Afternoon Tai Chi Warm-down: Cis Hinkle
5:40-6:20 Bookstore staffed
6:30 Dinner
8:00 Couple Dances
8:15-11:00 Evening Dance Party
11:00 After-dance Activities
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