Broken Squares Update

January 10, 2008


Extract from Callerlab

CALLERLAB recommends that dancers use the following Patter and Singing Call
Procedures to help lost squares quickly resume dancing. Callers should teach these procedures to their dancers and be alert for sets waiting to re-enter the action and for sets struggling with singing calls.
PATTER PROCEDURE - Make Normal Lines, Wait for Entry, and Sort during Promenade
The following procedure is intended for use during Patter or Hoedown calling when longer sequences are likely and at least half the square is confused. If only one or two dancers are lost then they should look for a helpful hand and attempt to fill the vacant spots within the still functioning square.
1. If dancers in a confused but partially functioning square hear "Make Normal Lines", then lost dancers should quickly adjust to Normal Couples (Boy left, Girl right) ready to join the forming Normal (Boy -Girl-Boy-Girl) Facing Lines.
2. In the case of total breakdown each dancer should return to home position as soon as possible. Then the head ladies join hands with their corner and the head couples back out to form normal lines at the sides of the square.
3. On the caller's command, "Normal Lines, Go Forward and Back", all lost squares enter into the dance pattern. If a resolution is heard first, then dancers in lost squares should simply readjust to a squared set.
4. Dancers in a lost square must remember that re-entering from normal lines does not guarantee a correct resolution. Full recovery will probably require rapid sorting to home during the Promenade (move counterclockwise
but step out at your home).
1. Recognize that a number of sets have broken down and have formed lines.
2. Place the dancing squares into facing lines that are in a normal BGBG arrangement
3. Give the command "NORMAL LINES, Go Forward and Back" in a bold voice, which is the command for the lost squares to enter into the dance pattern.
4. Allow enough time during the Promenade for squares that were lost to complete their Promenade and sort as necessary to get home. If an "at home" resolution is used, make sure all the sets are squared up.
SINGING CALL PROCEDURE - Swing, and Men Sort during Promenade
The following procedure is intended for use during a Singing Call where the sequences are short and closely timed to the music. The minimum needed to avoid more confusion and resume dancing at the next sequence is each man at home with some lady for a partner.
Since partners probably should be changing, dancers in a lost square should be ready for a quick Swing with their corner or nearest opposite sex and then expect to make adjustments during the Promenade so that the men end at home. If still lost during the Promenade, men should quickly head for home while ladies should join the closest
un-partnered man.
In the case of significant breakdown on the floor, adjust the choreography or provide more clues and cues to improve the success rate on the next figure.

OK -so this is the up to date procedure.  Again lets teach it and lets DO IT!

Learn How to Square Dance

January 8, 2008

Teach yourself How to Square Dance

Recently I was able to view the Mainstream and Plus square dance lesson DVD's produced by the Traveling Hoedowners, a group of square dancing enthusiasts. I'm pleased to say that they exceeded my expectations.

Each DVD comes in a strong plastic cover along with an index to the calls and an associated CallerLab list. As far as I could tell all the calls are covered including the more recent changes made by CallerLab.

The DVD's are professionally filmed and produced. There is a menu where you can set the DVD to play from start to finish, or you can select individual calls. It is extremely easy to backup and review parts of a call if needed.

Caller Paul Place has a nice clear voice and his teaching skills are second to none. It was a pleasure to listen to his calling and to watch the four couples execute the calls. Variations of each call are covered and walkthroughs are used where necessary. Color coded outfits for the couples make it easy to follow the progress of dancers during the call.

While I don't think that these DVD's should replace instruction by an accredited square dance caller in a club situation, they certainly have an important role to play. They can be used to

  • facilitate the teaching and learning process with learner classes,
  • as a review by those who need to brush up on their skills,
  • teach in areas where no callers are available

These are easily the best square dance training videos that I have come across and being on DVD makes them extremely easy to use. Congratulations to the Traveling Hoedowners on a job well done.

Order DVD's or view samples of the square dance videos here on the Traveling Hoedowners website.

Highly Recommended - 10/10

Correct Repair of Broken Squares

January 4, 2008

In 1986, CALLERLAB introduced a procedure for 'LOST SQUARES'. It was approved with some small changes in 1987 and reads as follows:

The following method of returning to dancing once a square has broken down, shall be a uniform method to be taught to all dancers for class programs through all approved CALLERLAB dance programs:



1. Return to home position as soon as possible.
2. The head ladies will take their corner's hand and head couples will back out to form lines at the sides of the square.
3. On the caller's command "EVERYBODY go forward and back", they enter into the dance pattern.



1. Recognize that a number of sets have broken down and have formed lines at the sides of the hall.
2. Place the dancing squares into lines that are in a normal boy/girl arrangement.
3. Give the command "EVERYBODY go forward and back" in a bold voice which is the command for the broken squares to enter into the dance pattern.


We should make this a mandatory part of the learners curriculum.

Wild Frontier 35th Birthday

January 4, 2008