July 21-28, 2018



This is an intensive workshop designed for people with some contra, square, and/or community dance calling experience who want to feel confident calling squares. The focus is on both the history and styles of various square dance types, and on the teaching techniques, calling skills, and stagecraft needed to make them soar. Novice to very experienced square dance callers will benefit from this course; you will be met where you are, and challenged to grow. A wide range of participant experience is important to the success of the class.

This program, held concurrently with Harmony of Song & Dance at Pinewoods, is designed and led by Nils Fredland. Nils brings a distinct and valuable perspective to the unique art of calling squares of many styles, and has developed a thorough understanding of what makes a great 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.

After participating in Harmony of Song & Dance program through the morning, the course takes place for a solid block in the afternoon. The daily class period will be broken up into two parts: a square dance lab, where we will focus on interpreting choreography, building repertoire, teaching dances, and developing calling skills; and a masterclass, during which class participants will both dance and get mic time, backed by Andrew VanNorstrand, with supportive and structured feedback from Nils, and class participants. Community building and leadership skills will be a focus throughout the week, as well.


Participation is limited to ten and before camp each student is asked to complete a preparatory assignment, which will be explained with acceptance. If the class is oversubscribed on March 13, preference will be given to the best qualified applicants and to applicants supported by their local community. Strong indicators for CDSS are our Group Priority and Matching Scholarship processes, where a CDSS affiliate vouches for a participant and may offer some scholarship, asking CDSS to match that amount (www.cdss.org/support-services/insurance-group-services/priority-matching-scholarships). This is a statement by people who know the individual, that the person is deserving of assistance and would benefit the local community by attending camp. That can count highly in this and in our scholarship considerations.


This course is designed for people with some contra, square, and/or community dance calling experience. A week is not a lot of time, so in order to hit the ground running, please make sure that you can fulfill these criteria by the time camp starts:

  • Provide two references who can describe your calling experience and skill level, and your effectiveness as community builder on the mic.
  • Know the difference between a jig, a reel, and a hoedown/breakdown.
  • Be able to tap or clap a rhythm in time with music played at various tempos.
  • Have called at least half of an evening of contra, square, and/or community dances.
  • Have an openness and enthusiasm to working with beginning dancers.
  • Have a repertoire of at least two square dances you know and feel comfortable teaching and calling; have called at least one individual square dance in a public setting.
  • Familiar with basic square dance choreography, culture, and music.
  • Be prepared to receive and incorporate feedback, even if you have a lot of calling experience.
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