[Callers] What makes a caller a great caller?

Grant Goodyear grant at grantgoodyear.org
Mon Apr 11 06:54:00 PDT 2011

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 3:13 AM, Will Kruse <sideways at wcrews.net> wrote:

> Hello from Seattle!  I'd love to hear your thoughts on what separates
> good callers from great callers?  Is it their selections of dances?
> That they call their own dances?  Their ability to compose an evening
> of dancing?  Their personal charm?  Their connection with the band?
> Their intimate knowledge of how the dance, the music, and the dancers
> all flow together?

What makes a great caller?  A great band.

Okay, that's the flippant answer, although there's a certain amount of truth
to it.  If the band is awesome, the caller can just get out of the way, and
everything will work for an awesome evening.  (That's even more true if
there's a great crowd, as well.  The special event that brings out all of
the experienced dancers, and greatly increases the ratio of experienced to
beginner dancers, is easy to call.)

I'm a good caller, but not a great one.  The great callers I know (Lisa
Greenleaf, Chris Kelly, Linda Leslie, and Joseph Pimental, to name just
four) can (seemingly) effortlessly fix a set that's just starting to fail
with a few gentle words over the microphone.  They can miscall a dance (even
the great ones are human) and fix it on the fly. They're not only good
teachers of the dances, style, and etiquette, but also in tune with the
crowd to know both when and what to teach.  And then there's usually
something extra special about each one.  Chris Kelly exudes calm, even in
the midst of a train wreck, without reducing the energy level of the dance.
Joseph has a program for the evening, a backup program, and a mental set of
safety-net dances, but the dancers never know because he'll make the night
awesome fun regardless.  Etcetera.

Grant Goodyear
web: http://www.grantgoodyear.org
e-mail: grant at grantgoodyear.org

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