Jeff asked me this question off-list and I thought it was worth sending
to everyone (with his permission). Does anyone else have some advice for
Jeff? His original question is at the bottom.
Chris Weiler wrote:
Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. I just spent a week at
Pinewoods enjoying American Dance and Music Week and taking the Square
Dance Callers Course from Kathy Anderson. What a blast!
I started calling last summer. I took a contra callers workshop from
Tom Hinds and called my first dance in front of a crowd that
week.Considering that I have only been calling for 11 months, I am
doing very well about getting my name out there and getting gigs. Here
are some thoughts about why that is:
- Drive: I have been practicing on my own, going to every open mic.
that I can, taking every callers workshop at the festivals I go to. It
shows in my calling. I ask experienced callers questions and make sure
that I take careful consideration of what they have to say. I am
constantly looking to improve my calling through feedback, taping
myself and practice.
- Networking: At festivals and dances, I make a point to introduce
myself to other callers and socialize with them. I keep in touch with
several through direct e-mail and SharedWeight. This keeps me in their
minds. The experienced callers are "plugged in" to the network of
people who make these dances happen. Several of the dances that I have
done are because callers have recommended me to fill in for someone
who can't do the gig. After that, word will spread (if you do a good
job!). This may sound calculating, but the reality is that it's a lot
of fun. 8^) The callers that I took the workshop with are a great
bunch and we had a great time talking, laughing and goofing around.
Twice we got a bunch of us in the lake and had a water square. Lots of
laughing, smiling and singing "because, just because".
I hope this helps you. Feel free to ask questions like this to the
list. There are plenty of callers there who had to make their own
start and will tell you how it happened. If you give me permission, I
would like to post this to the list .
Hope your summer is going well! I'll be moving to Goffstown, NH in a
couple of weeks, and hope to get to Nelson more soon! I have some
squares I want to try! 8^)
Jeffrey M.Petrovitch wrote:
> Just wondering if you could offer me some insight... I was wondering
> how long
> you have been calling for and how long did it take for you to get
> your first
> gig? How did you get your name out there?
> As a new caller, I have actually only started to learn how to call
> about seven
> months ago, but since then have found my way into the my normal
> Nelson slot of
> two or three dances a week, and I just booked my first gig coming up in
> I am always looking for more calling opportunities, and wondering how
> approached it.
> Jeffrey M. Petrovitch