August 12 - 19, 2012

Program Description

Ralph Sweet and Nils Fredland bring two distinct and valuable perspectives to the unique art of calling singing squares. Ralph, at 82, 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. 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


7:45-8:30 Breakfast
Morning contras (13 & up): Nils Fredland
Experienced English (13 & up): Joseph Pimentel
Young Leaders Course (YDL Registrants): Gaye Fifer
10:00 Refreshments
Challenging Contras (13 & up): Adina Gordon
English for All (13 & up): Joseph Pimentel
11:30-12:15 All Camp Gathering with songs, singing, games and stories
12:30-1:30 Lunch Buffet
1:00-1:30 Canoeing in the River
1:30-3:45 Singing Squares Callers Course
International Dancing (13 & up): Rachel Fifer
Family Dance Band (11 and up): Barbara Greenberg, Daniel Beerbohm
Stunts & Games at Poolside (8 & up, under 7 w/parent): Sam Bartlett
Dance Community Conversations (13 & up): Joseph Pimentel
Open Calling (13 & up): Adina Gordon
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 Palyhouse
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
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