[Callers] Advice teaching teens

Amy Cann acann at putneyschool.org
Wed Jun 8 20:08:02 PDT 2011

Here's my alltime favorite teaching tip re: swings:

"Swinging is done in ballroom position, which has a shape like an arrowhead:
a round end and a pointy end.

Ladies, it's your right hand (elbow down, hand up) that makes the pointy
end. If you remember this and offer it, the men will automatically take hold
the right way.

At the end of every swing, the caller will say 'face somewhere' - either up,
down, or across.
BEFORE YOU LET GO, point the pointy end the way the caller said,
THEN let go of it and open up like a book.

You and your partner will be side by side, arms around each other, with the
lady on the right, looking for the next people to do things with."

My second alltime favorite teaching tip: with middle school kids, call it
arrowhead position from the get go. Leave the word "ballroom" out of it

Wish I could come visit. What an opportunity.

OH! one more! I used this at the FArm and Wilderness camps, 120
thirteen-year-olds at a time every week and nobody around to rebut me:

"It's traditional, when choosing a line to join, to always join the shortest
one. That way everyone gets equal opportunity to be ones. Getting stuck in a
long center line is the worst, because the caller always stops when the
shortest line is done so they don't have to repeat."

(liar liar pants on fire... I said that with a totally straight face at the
first few dances and everyone bought it hook line and sinker... never a
center set syndrome.)


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