[Callers] What makes a caller a great caller?

Richard Mckeever macmck at ymail.com
Mon Apr 11 14:16:56 PDT 2011

There are certainly many things that make a caller good or even great.  One I 
don't find mentioned very often is their role as an entertainer.  When I first 
started calling I attended a workshop with Fred Park and he emphasized this.  It 
stuck with me even though I don't think I have ever heard it mentioned by anyone 

I don't mean acting strange or telling jokes - but just connecting with the 
dancers and having fun.  If you can let the dancers see you are enjoying 
yourself it is contagious.  We do hear of the band and the dancers building 
excitement as they 'feed of each other'  The same is true between the caller and 
the dancers.

If you find yourself paying more attention to what's going on in the card in 
your hand than what is happening on the floor - you are not connecting with the 
dancers and they notice that.  

Relax, have fun and allow the dancers to follow your lead.  Think of the really 
great callers - they all do this very well.  I could name examples - but I would 
leave out too many who deserve to be mentioned.


From: barb kirchner <barbkirchner at hotmail.com>
To: callers at sharedweight.net
Sent: Mon, April 11, 2011 9:41:06 AM
Subject: Re: [Callers] What makes a caller a great caller?

also flippant, but true:

good teaching and an open mind.  

best comment i ever got "she can holler so pleasantly to get us to do what she 

so - learn to holler pleasantly.

and it's absolutely true that a very mediocre caller can have a fabulous night 
with a good band, but it's darned hard for a caller to overcome a bad band.  so 
don't forget that the musicians are more important than you are.  working WITH 
whatever they want to do will almost always lead to the best experience.

good luck!

> Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2011 08:54:00 -0500
> From: grant at grantgoodyear.org
> To: callers at sharedweight.net
> Subject: Re: [Callers] What makes a caller a great caller?
> 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-
> -- 
> Grant Goodyear
> web: http://www.grantgoodyear.org
> e-mail: grant at grantgoodyear.org
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