[Callers] 10 things

Tom Hinds twhinds at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 10 15:09:35 PST 2006

 It occurred to me that many of the behaviors  on this list are due to
insecurity (dancing with other beginners, waiting to be asked etc.)  That got
me to thinking about what callers can do to make sure the beginners have a
good experience.  So, I've come up with my own list for callers.  These items
may contain items that some may not agree with.  But this may generate some
good discussion.

10 things a caller can do to help  beginners have a good experience:

1)  Prepare a logical program that starts easy and builds.

2)  Like a professional dance teacher, warm up muscles slowly.  Use dances
with 8 count swings (max) early in the evening.  Keep the first couple of
dances shorter.  New and not so new dancers are entering the hall and you want
them up and dancing sooner rather than later,

3)  Be prepared well enough so that you don't have to use cards.  Watch the
dancers.  Watch the dancers.

4)  Encourage everyone to dance with everyone else.  When a dance ends,
suggest that those who just danced ask those sitting out for the next dance.

5)  Demonstrate what smooth dancing looks like (especially if many newbees are

6)  Teach safe dancing - like proper allemandes.  If you see dancers dancing
out of control take measures to make sure that they don't hurt anyone.

7)  If you make a mistake, admit it.  Often if something doesn't work, the new
dancers think it's because of them.

8)  Teach the buzz step swing in the beginning workshop.  Teach it well.

9)  If a dance has a tricky move, show the dancers how to perform the move
with finesse.  If the dance has a challenge in the timing department,
communicate to the dancers how to be on time.

10)  If you call a challenging dance and the new dancers look a bit confused,
tell the crowd that that was a very difficult dance and that they handled it
very well (this one from Ted Sannella).  If the dance was so challenging that
sets broke down, tell the dancers that you picked a bad dance (in other words
it's you, not them).

Tom Hinds

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> Today's Topics:
>    1. Re: Ten things (Gale T. Wood)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 11:06:25 -0500
> From: "Gale T. Wood" <Gale at robbinsauto.com>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Ten things
> To: <callers at sharedweight.net>
> Message-ID:
>         <79C5F2A3DD0551469291F6CD6BF5422E02FB33 at officemail.robbinsauto.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="us-ascii"
> Here Is the list presented by wikipedia:
> 1.      Dressing Impractically
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Dressing_Impractically>
> 2.      Skipping the Beginners Workshop
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Skipping_the_Beginners_Workshop>
> 3.      Waiting to Be Asked
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Waiting_to_Be_Asked>
> 4.      Sticking to Beginner Friends
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Sticking_to_Beginner_Friends>
> 5.      Sitting out Dances
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Sitting_out_Dances>
> 6.      Getting Too Fancy Too Quickly
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Getting_Too_Fancy_Too_Quickly>
> 7.      Tolerating Bad Behavior from Other Dancers
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Tolerating_Bad_Behavior_from_Other_Dancers>
> 8.      Not Asking Questions
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Not_Asking_Questions>
> 9.      Not Counting
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Not_Counting>
> 10.     Leaving Too Early
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Leaving_Too_Early>
> 11.     Expecting Perfection
> <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ten_Stupid_Things_Beginners_Do_to_Mess_Up_
> Their_Contradance_Experience:Expecting_Perfection>
> The other list would pertain to Experienced dancers!
> And I do agree with that list....I remember doing all those things when
> I was trying to 'compete' with the CDance
> clique ... happily I have 'mellowed' with age and experience. Do I still
> transgress...sure on occasion I do like to cut loose, but....
> I am having  a  better time not competing.
> Thanks Gale
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> End of Callers Digest, Vol 19, Issue 9
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