[Callers] Calling weddings and private parties
J.M.Child at exeter.ac.uk
Tue Feb 11 08:05:16 PST 2014
Sorry for the late reply - I had problems sending to the list.
I agree absolutely with your comments - and especially that you need simple proper dances.
I do a lot of weddings and have devised a few(!) rules / tricks to make them go well:
* Never call a contra, and rarely a proper longways - they find the "1s work their way down, 2s work their way up" too complicated.
* Start with a dance that allows you to test their ability, not just to dance but to listen to the caller and do what they're told! A good mixer will do for this - Lucky 7 or Scatter Promenade
* Keep the moves simple, and don't introduce too many new ones at once. I rarely do Ladies Chains, for example.
* Start with simple dances and progress from there - so a grand chain starts as a special move but later becomes just something they do.
* Don't feel the need to include too many clever moves - you can get a lot out of stars and circles!
* Have a collection of 20 or so simple dances at your disposal
* Be ready for not many people on the dance floor - plenty of three and four couple dances, just in case.
* Equally have some "space saving" dances, in case everyone wants to get up.
* Use dances that can take variable numbers of couples. At a wedding, if 7 couples get up to dance you need to get all 7 dancing.
* Don't be afraid to write your own simple dances (about half of mine I wrote myself).
* Have a supply of "sexless" dances - where you don't have to call "men" or "women". This is especially important if you have a number of children.
* On the subject of children, if you have very young ones avoid dances which change partner, or allow them to keep their partner while everyone else changes.
* Use dances that are easy to recover from when they go wrong - and tell them how ("if you don't have anyone to swing come and stand in the middle")
* Use dances where one person / couple going wrong doesn't mess it up for everyone else
* Use dances with leeway in them - one set will always end up well behind and need recovery time
* Once you get going in a dance, Be prepared to call it "unphrased" if they're just not getting through it in time - and warn the band beforehand if you can!
* Calling from the floor with a radio mike helps a lot, as you have:
* The ability to correct a particular person / set having difficulties during the walkthrough
* The ability to correct a person / set during the actual dance
* Much better engagement with the audience than standing on the stage
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