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What makes a good caller?

GUEST,FloraG 24 Nov 13 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,BobL 24 Nov 13 - 05:31 AM
OlgaJ 24 Nov 13 - 06:19 AM
Mr Red 24 Nov 13 - 06:39 AM
Mr Red 24 Nov 13 - 06:54 AM
Mo the caller 24 Nov 13 - 09:37 AM
Will Fly 24 Nov 13 - 10:35 AM
OlgaJ 24 Nov 13 - 11:04 AM
breezy 24 Nov 13 - 01:29 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Nov 13 - 03:02 PM
alex s 24 Nov 13 - 03:11 PM
Mo the caller 24 Nov 13 - 04:26 PM
Mo the caller 24 Nov 13 - 04:42 PM
alex s 24 Nov 13 - 04:42 PM
Mo the caller 24 Nov 13 - 04:56 PM
Howard Jones 25 Nov 13 - 03:52 AM
Nigel Parsons 25 Nov 13 - 08:04 AM
GUEST 25 Nov 13 - 08:37 AM
Howard Jones 25 Nov 13 - 09:38 AM
Mr Red 25 Nov 13 - 11:52 AM
Banjo-Flower 25 Nov 13 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,FloraG 26 Nov 13 - 03:55 AM
Tattie Bogle 26 Nov 13 - 03:58 AM
Tattie Bogle 26 Nov 13 - 04:02 AM
Banjo-Flower 26 Nov 13 - 04:21 AM
Mo the caller 26 Nov 13 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,alex s no cookie 26 Nov 13 - 06:57 AM
Banjo-Flower 26 Nov 13 - 07:10 AM
Vin2 26 Nov 13 - 08:40 AM
treewind 26 Nov 13 - 08:48 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Nov 13 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,FloraG 26 Nov 13 - 09:34 AM
Mr Red 26 Nov 13 - 09:52 AM
Banjo-Flower 26 Nov 13 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,FloraG 26 Nov 13 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,FloraG 26 Nov 13 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,FloraG 26 Nov 13 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery. 26 Nov 13 - 03:03 PM
Banjo-Flower 26 Nov 13 - 03:56 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Nov 13 - 06:13 PM
Bert 27 Nov 13 - 06:17 PM
GUEST 27 Nov 13 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,FloraG 28 Nov 13 - 04:01 AM
Bert 28 Nov 13 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Ted Crum (Steamchicken) 28 Nov 13 - 05:05 AM
Mr Red 28 Nov 13 - 09:53 AM
Mo the caller 28 Nov 13 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,FloraG 29 Nov 13 - 04:05 AM
GUEST 29 Nov 13 - 09:21 AM
OlgaJ 29 Nov 13 - 11:08 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Nov 13 - 01:08 PM
Mo the caller 29 Nov 13 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,FloraG 30 Nov 13 - 05:54 AM
Sarah the flute 30 Nov 13 - 06:34 AM
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Subject: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:28 AM

I followed the critisims at singarounds thread and don't want to get into the negatives. When the band started I was the least good at singing - limited volume and range - so I got to do the calling.
I try to be self critical - recognising what went well/ poorly - but I'm sure some external advice would not go amis.
What 5 things would you say are the most helpful advice to a caller?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 05:31 AM

In no particular order:

1. Call for the dancers that are doing OK, not the ones going wrong - they can put your timing right off! You can alway stop the dance after a few times though for a bit of extra instruction if necessary.

2. Figure out two different ways of describing a tricky figure during the walk-through, one geography-oriented, the other person-oriented (e.g. the one on your right diagonal versus 1st man and 2nd lady). Some people think better in terms of one rather than the other.

3. Have an assistant / spouse / partner, with sharp hearing, on the dance floor. Get them to feed back any comments overheard from the dancers, moderated if necessary.

4. Really know your dance. Caller Bob Archer recommends being able to dance it mentally in every position simultaneously while you call.

5. Learn from other callers, including those that are less than perfect. Seize on directions that were unclear, for example, work out why, and come up with your own version to avoid the problem.

Oh, and most importantly,

0.   Enjoy yourself!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: OlgaJ
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 06:19 AM

1. Try to know what sort of crowd you are going to be calling for. Not easy a weddings etc. but you need to keep it simple if there are lots of non-dancers, children, and people on the wrong side of a couple of bottles of wine who just want to have fun.
2. Listen to the musicians if they know the crowd better than you do. Its no good playing Playford dances for people who are expecting a Hoe-down or the other way round. We have occasionally played with callers who bring a pre-arranged list with them and insist on sticking to it. You need to have enough 'extra' dances in to change at least half of the list.
3. Don't shout at people who are confused when you are trying to explain a move. Either demonstrate yourself or find a set that knows what they are doing and ask them to demonstrate it for you.
4. Dance clubs are where you should be trying out new dances, not PTAs and weddings. We have played at events where there have been multiple callers and they all try to outdo each other by using complicated calls which in some cases end up being abandoned after 10 minutes during which time they could have called something everybody knew. If you are a caller dancing to another caller don't try to correct them even if you think they are wrong. Lots of dances can have slightly different moves in them.
5. Don't lose sight of the fact that people are often paying good money to hear you call, making them the customer, and you need to keep everyone happy if you want to be asked back.

Most of the callers we use are very good and very accommodating but we have come across all of the above at some point over the last few years.

If there is a caller out there in the York/Pocklington area who would like to work with us occasionally please see out website. We can't guarantee regular work but we are starting to pick up a few bookings for next year and currently don't have a permanent caller of our own, but try to use the nearest caller on our list to the venue to save on travelling.Alterego Ceilidh Band


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 06:39 AM

well being a regular dancer helps.

the reverse is not rue, I have called a couple of dances and it told me enough to know the learning curve is not one I am willing to traverse until my body can't dance, by then my brain will refuse to leave enough mindspace along side video editing, radio presenting, webmeistering, and folk collecting (see recollections of Old Stroud)


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 06:54 AM

Laptop ran out of battery and I panicked before checking the the blickie(now correct).
recollections of Old Stroud


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 09:37 AM

Olga & Bob have given the essentials.
I can only add

1) Since people are there to have FUN I give them a motto "When in Doubt - CHEAT"
And then I give them a bit of advice on successful cheating.
e.g.
'if you think you are going the wrong way it's quicker to keep going you'll meet your partner and get home anyway' (grand chain)

'finish opposite your partner'

'turn random people till you get to the other end' (strip the willow)

This means that after a few easy dance I can do something more interesting. E.g. a strip the willow dance at a wedding (well, most weddings - you have to assess the crowd), or a complicated dance at club where most will manage but a few need more help

2.) If you've down something hard give them an easy or familiar one to relax and enjoy.

3.) Variety is good. tune types, energy level difficulty, dance shape.
e.g. if most of the wedding guests are young and energetic but there are some older I might call St. Bernard Waltz or another couple dance where they can come onto the floor and leave when it suits them.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 10:35 AM

Try and get to know your target audience either before the event or early during it.

When we're booked for a wedding, for example, we try and ascertain from the bookers whether there's any dance requirements ("we like Scottish"), whether it's going to be a session for beginners, or whatever. Quite often the first two dances will identify complete beginners and experienced dancers. The point about weddings and similar functions is that they are usually, first and foremost, the choice of the person(s) in the public eye - the bride and groom, the birthday boy/girl, etc - and they may or may not have guests of a like mind.

Our public ceilidhs (and we had one last night) can be very different. We know we're going to get some hardened and experienced dancers so, like last night, when we got a battery of calls from the audience at the end of the evening for the Cornish Six Hand Reel, we took them through it at a cracking pace!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: OlgaJ
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 11:04 AM

You sound like our sort of caller Mo.

I remember going to dinner dances in the way distant past and there was always a St Bernard's Waltz, Valeta, or 'The Barn Dance' included amongst the more popular stuff, all being played by a cabaret band and uncalled - everyone knew them or picked them up very quickly, even my husband could cope with them. Since we've been going to ceilidhs and barn dances (over around 30 years)and more recently playing for them I can't remember anyone calling these dances. Very occasionally we get a caller who does the Gay Gordons. Is it because these are classed as 'Sequence Dances' and therefore became unpopular with the barn dance crowd or the callers for some reason? Perhaps we should try to re-introduce them. Its not really the sort of music we generally play but its easy enough to pick up and variety is after all the spice of life. Wouldn't want to do it all night though!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: breezy
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 01:29 PM

Personality

I only had 10 years in a band that played for dances but experienced various callers.

Pete Coe was very laid back in his approach, he would just wait until people were on the floor, no rush no hurry. and banging a large triangle was different.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 03:02 PM

Just a helpful comment. All of those above are to be recommended.

If you are aware that there are a few couples in the room with experience but the rest are mostly beginners ask the experienced ones to take up first couple positions at the start of a dance. It can save half an hour in calling something like Drops of Brandy or Waves of Torry.

Also when explaining something like dip and dive to beginners it's important that they listen to your description of how it works in full before trying it out.

With a dance like Drops of Brandy and beginners it is helpful if you can get an experienced couple to demonstrate as first couple in a volunteer set while the rest are still seated.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: alex s
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 03:11 PM

1. patience - if you are struggling for dancers do keep plugging away until someone gets up, then keep on going until you get enough. The best callers have done this when I would have been long gone on my way home.
2. tolerance - of novices, children and those who've had too much to sup
3. good humour - if they really WON'T get up don't get nasty (and we've seen that happen) just say "well if you won't get up you'll just have to listen to this awful band play!"

(Note to OlgaJ - Mo IS a very good caller! We love you, Mo x)


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:26 PM

Love you too Alex xx

Yes, that's the other tip - you need a good band with a good sound person.

A good band who will give the customers a tune if they don't want to dance all night, is a big assest. A band who will only play for me to call a dance misses the point - a lot of the time most are there for other reasons (a party, a wedding, a fundraising), we are the 'entertainment'. So a caller needs to pace things. OTOH if the dance floor is too small for those who want to dance, keep the dances coming until some of them need a rest.
It helps to have a selection of dances of different levels. I sometimes do an over simplified dance to tune Horses Brawl - 2 or more lines of dancers - dancing anywhere, encouraging others to make your line the longest, twirling, 1 person through a line of arches and a new leader starts again.
Not something I'd particularly want to dance, but some gigs you need something like that to get them up.
Then when they are up if you are working with a band with a good sound person so that you can be heard even when the musicians are playing you can change the call, get them into a circle.

Other nights, you can tell from the way they line up for the first dance that they know what they are doing, and don't want any of that rubbish.

The couple dances go down differently according to age. Over 60s (here in the NW) seem to know them, under 30s wont know Gay Gordons but they may know the French version (which I can't spell, and which didn't go down well with the Rotarians).


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:42 PM

La Chapelloise according to an email that has dropped into my inbox from the Eceilidh discussion group.

That might be worth joining, but the discussion is mostly from the point of view of keen Ceilidh dancers, not novices, weddings etc.

Then there are sometimes Callers workshops. 2 coming up in the NW . Poynton Ceilidhs have one for Ceilidh Callers on 25th Jan
and Lancashire Folk have a workshop for club callers next Saturday.

Often there are workshops at festivals.

I usually go along, but I suspect that a lot that is said is either something you've worked out for yourself or something that you're not ready for yet.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: alex s
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:42 PM

Les Gordons Gais???


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:56 PM

Well you could try putting it into a translation programme, and then back into English, see if it reflects the changes in meaning since that dance was written.

But we crossposted. It's La Chapelloise.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 03:52 AM

Poynton Ceilidhs in Cheshire is running a Callers' Workshop on 25 January 2014 with Martyn Harvey and Rhodri Davies, and music from Albireo.

More details here:

https://www.facebook.com/poyntoncallers?fref=ts

Poynton Ceilidhs website


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 08:04 AM

If possible get a radio mike with headset. That way you can continue calling, but be down amid the action when it's called for.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 08:37 AM

Lots of good advice (especially the first reply - all good points), but I'm not keen on headset mics unless used appropriately.

Yes, it's useful to have a mic when you need to get down on the floor to sort things out when people are hopelessly confused, or to demonstrate something when that's easier than explaining it. However I've worked with too many callers who spend all their time on the floor (even joining in a dance sometimes) and are blissfully unaware of a problem developing elsewhere on the dance floor in the middle of a dance or in a walk though.

Also the dancers can find it disconcerting to have a disembodied voice voice shouting at them with no obvious source.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 09:38 AM

A few points occur to me (mainly from a band's perspective)

A caller needs to judge the ability of the dancers and tailor both the programme and how the explain the dances accordingly. However even novice dancers like to be pushed a little, and can get a real sense of achievement from managing a dance that they would have found too difficult at the start. It takes judgement and experience to get that right.

A caller doesn't just call dances, and also needs to get the 'tone' right when speaking to the audience. This is nothing to do with their dancing ability, it's about the make-up of the audience and what level of banter they'll respond to. What works brilliantly with one audience might offend another.

Tell the band without prompting what type of tune is needed and perhaps a bit of information about the dance, to help them choose a suitable set. "Oh, 32 bars of anything" isn't very helpful, but even if you're told it's a jig or a hornpipe, tunes have their own characteristics and internal rhythms and some tunes go better with a particular dance than others.

Tell the band how many times through the dance, and agree a signal for 'last time' - some bands like to know 2 or even 3 times ahead so they can wind the tune up (or down) to a planned musical finale.

Be prepared to take responsibility for the evening and make difficult decisions. I have seen a caller call a halt to an entire evening's dancing on health and safety grounds (only once in 30 years) - it takes a bit of guts when the customers have paid and are enjoying themselves, but it was the right thing to do.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 11:52 AM

If possible get a radio mike with headset. That way you can continue calling, but be down amid the action when it's called for.

Two points - if you get down amongst the novices, wear something noticeable and make it clear to who it is to who you are talking. And who you are not talking to. A disjointed voice commanding you to "whatever" can be a surprise.

As it happens - I have collected a load of callers' tips on my website mostly from E-Ceilidh e-mail forum - which is useful to be on.
Another page with useful links


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 03:30 PM

A facebook page which may interest callers can be found at "cats calling academy I hope it is of use to you

Gerry


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 03:55 AM

What a helpful lot you all are - and no one felt the need to use bad language or be scoring points off each other.
Bob - I really liked your idea of describing things in 2 different ways. I've tried to ' de sex ' my calling so its accepted for 2 ladies or ( less frequently )2 men to dance together. Still strugling with that - as its so much easier to use the conventional man1 woman2. I shall go back to the drawing board and think about how to call 2 ways in a non sexist way.
Some of the technical stuff you advised won't work for my set up as I lead the tunes as well as call.
So how would you get a set of totally novice dancers - never done this before - into a square set?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 03:58 AM

Lots of good advice above. I have danced since a small child, and thought I knew quite a lot of dances inside-out and upside-down, but it's a very different skill from just doing the dances to calling them. For one thing, your mind has to be at least one jump ahead to anticipate the next move or figure in the dance. So here's my 5.
1. Keep it simple, and, hopefully, unambiguous: it's amazing what strange interpretations some people will put on your seemingly unequivocal instructions! (Once I told dancers to "fall back into place" - one young man lay on his back on the floor!)
2. Don't assume anything: "set to your partner" means nothing to complete novices: demonstrate what you mean and/or use your demo couple (great advice!): actions speak louder than words.
3. Throw away the clock! In these days of digital timepieces fewer people seem to understand "clockwise" and "anticlockwise". Just hope they understand left and right.
4. Terminology again: Count in steps, not bars of music. One caller I know tells people to dance for 4 bars which is actually 8 steps. He also tells people to "polka round" in a waltz, and "waltz around" in a Gay Gordons.
5. Keep your cool and be pleasant even when they're screaming their heads off at each other while you're trying to teach a walk-through. It's their night out, not yours, so appeal politely for a little calm and hush.
And if I'm allowed a no 6: stop calling once it's obvious that they've got it: no need to kept blaring on to the end if the dance if they're doing it fine.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 04:02 AM

And don't use an iPad if you don't want it to predict wrongly what you intended to write, as per my last sentence there! Sorry!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 04:21 AM

"So how would you get a set of totally novice dancers - never done this before - into a square set?"

Try 4 couples in a circle gents partner on the right everyone holding hands, then let go of the hand of the person who is not your partner,and all being well you should have a square

Gerry


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 04:43 AM

Yes, I use that way of getting people into squares. Surprising how many times you have to say 'stand next to your partner' if you've done a longways dance earlier.
How are the bookings going for the callers workshop Howard?


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,alex s no cookie
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 06:57 AM

FloraG - one caller I know uses "Angels and Devils".

Tattie Bogle - we once saw a very interesting interpretation of the instruction "Take your partner in a ballroom hold".....


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 07:10 AM

Does anyone know the instructions for a three couple dance called eternal triangles please

Gerry


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Vin2
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 08:40 AM

One of the best callers i ever witnessed in action was the, sadly, late and very missed Mike Canavan. He wore a head mirophone and actualy took part in the dance, helping and directing people as necessary.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: treewind
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 08:48 AM

Some callers (Mary Panton springs to mind especially) have made a speciality of completely genderless calling.

One of our regulars starts off with something like "Purely for reference purposes, I'm going to call the people on that side of the set [points] with their backs to the window 'men' and the ones facing them 'women'" or similar.
This has the dual advantage of
(a) making it clear enough that you don't literally have to be the specified gender
(b) dropping a gentle hint to any M-F couples that are the wrong way round.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 09:28 AM

"So how would you get a set of totally novice dancers - never done this before - into a square set?"

The circle method is probably quicker than mine, but I always used to say each couple with their backs to a different wall of the room, but obviously that would be difficult in a non-rectangular room. Luckily I never had to call a novice dance in a non-rectangular room.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 09:34 AM

Banjo - flower - I think eternal triangles was a dance written by the Trunch One - Sid Kipper. If I'm right it shows the futility of life as however hard you try you always end up back with your partner.
I could search for the notation if you think I am on the right lines.
I like devils and angels - but I'm doing the Catholic church ladies on saturday so I better think of something else.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mr Red
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 09:52 AM

Think about mixer dances. If there are wallflowers, call Dashing White Sargeant, Twelve Meet, and my favourite Horses Brawl.
Specifically state that gender is unimportant and encourage the timid to just join a set, or get couples to entice a third.

With Horses Brawl you can do it with 7 to 10 (depending on skills) and partners are irrelevant. And it is a simple dance in essence.

One dance I went to the band were, hmmm, probably a reasonable Concert band doing Irish. But before we discovered their historical experience at English Ceilidh (hmmmm) the caller started with total novices and us, by saying:

"I want you all to say hello to each person sitting (they were sitting) next to you, now hold the hand of the person on your left, and now on the right, keep holding hands. Now stand up and follow the line, don't let go, don't let go"
he had held the hand of the first person and pulled the line on to the floor and the band started a simple tune as we snaked around the floor looping under a pair of arms then another.
He described this as a Farandole. Well an Anglicised version thereof, but it got everyone on the floor for the first dance! Ice broken! I was impressed. Unlike the bands attempts at matching the music to the dance, or our feet.
Keep that one in your pocket for difficult starts.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 09:54 AM

FloraG you could be on the right lines I do not know this dance myself I was asked about it at a dance club

Gerry


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 12:30 PM

Gerry, I'll dig it out. I know the book its in - just not sure where the book is.
Mr Red - I'll also look out the 7 person dance - sex irrelevant.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 01:01 PM

My filing system is better than I thought.
Dance for 7 - any gender.
Stand a bit like a square set - but 2 on each side - one at top and bottom and one in middle. ( so you have top/middle/ bottom in a line)

1A
Top / middle and bottom stand still
Each side person will dance a figure 8
Sides point in front of you then to the person immediately on the right
first go round the person on your right ( anti clock )then the next on the left and back to place
ie 4 side people are going round 2 of the 3 middles but if everybody gets it right there will be no clashes
2a
All except middle hold hands and circle left + 1 place
1b
Middle person dance out of the circle at 1pm and turn right and weave round the first side couple and come to bottom person. Tap them on the shoulder and they become the middle person.
Start again.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 02:42 PM

the infernal triangle 3 couples in triangle-jig
Figure one Unlucky 7
( like lucky 7 but you end up with your partner)
go past your partner but then pull them back
( this represents you trying to get away from your partner but not succeeding)
Figure 2 - balance and swing
facing your partner step to alternate sides twice starting left - as though to get past them. Repeat twice again but this time swinging the fist forward on the side you are stepping
- this represents falling out -
Figure 3 having a fling
turn away from your partner and face your bit on the side. Dance round the room with them shouting Yee haw
Figure 4 - community change
take your bit on the side in a ballroom hold and charge off across the room - then back to reform the set
Then
Start again with your bit on the side.
Eventually You will end up with your own partner again showing the futility of trying to get away from your partner.
Enjoy.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery.
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 03:03 PM

Re. Same Sex Couples
I usually refer to them as No1 couples, and No 2 couples, so you could for example say " those on my right are no'1s those to my left are no' 2s then its simply up to the dancers as to how they pair up.!!
Always worked so far.!!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 03:56 PM

Thanks FloraG but I think I,ve found the one my friend wanted on Youtube
by entering "eternal triangle ceilidh"(sorry I do n't know how to do links)

Gerry


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Nov 13 - 06:13 PM

Another tip,
If you have an abundance of one sex at a dance try some threesomes like 'Silly Threesome' or 'Texas Schottische'. I always used both even if the sexes were evenly matched. The blokes are always a bit more reluctant than the lasses anyway and the competitive element in Silly Threesome can draw the blokes in.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Bert
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 06:17 PM

To get people into sets I often used to use a promenade mixer.

Get them up on the floor
teach them to promenade

'Promenade all over the floor,
find two more and circle four,
find four more and circle eight'

Then you can stop them and go on from there.

Another thing that might help women callers, is try to sing in a lower key than you normally use. A husky 'Ruby Murray' type voice is more relaxing for the dancers.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 13 - 07:26 PM

"What makes a good caller?"

A perp with a non registered gun, drugs on his person, a bad attitude and twelve respected witnesses.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 04:01 AM

Thanks all
I wasn't so much thinking of a mis balance but when men choose to dance together. The youngsters do this at discos so think it less odd at a barn dance than the older generation + fathers/ sons etc + morris sides - of course.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Bert
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 04:28 AM

Learn some microphone technique. A hand held mic is more informal and gives you more control.

Teach things from the circle four that you will use for dances later.

Swing your partner (Swap and swing)
Swing your corner
Right and left hand star (for Texas Star)
ladies chain (For Coming 'Round the Mountain or Ladies 3/4 chain)
Do Si Do
Do Paso (For Sally Gooden)
Right and Left Thru'
Pass Thru'
Courtesy turn
half Sashay
Star Thru'
Box the gnat
Swat the Flea


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,Ted Crum (Steamchicken)
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 05:05 AM

Hugh Rippon almost invariably uses the Farandole at wedding-type ceilidhs, leading it himself (usually in company with the prettiest girl in the room I might add!!) Great way to get nervous first-time dancers used to moving in concert. Another point to remember as a caller: tell the band exactly what you want played. In my Peeping Tom days, if a caller forgot to mention what music they wanted, we'd launch into "Isle of Capri", a rather dashing tango. Didn't half wake them up.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 09:53 AM

Another sort of mixer dance is the "New Mexico" wedding dance.

line of men, facing a line of women and an odd man (usually man) holding a broom. Odd person dances with the broom between the lines until music stops, drops broom grabs nearest partner (chooses during dance) and everyone then tries for a partner, polkas around until music changes (caller in controll) and the odd one left repeats with broom. Partners not required though numbers must be right.

BTW

Stroud Ceilidhs have the Jam & Crumpet Band in April who's line-up just happens to include a certain Mr Crum and some of his Steamchicks.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Nov 13 - 10:25 AM

One that seems popular in America is another broom dance. I'm not sure it would work here, even at a wedding.
Line of men, line of women (need not be equal). one holding a broom (hat / flower/ pumpkin) standing at the top. if the broom is held by a woman the top 2 men dance/ posture/ entice until she choses 1 and gives the broom to the other. they dance down the middle. 2 top women attract other man. or 2 random lines and the top from each line dances if you want a non-gendered dance.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 04:05 AM

I usually write a little bit in the camping and caravan club folk section magazine. Would anybody mind if I passed on a few of your tips in the next publication.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 09:21 AM

People shouting at beginners going wrong put me off this kind of "fun"for good.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: OlgaJ
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 11:08 AM

I totally agree Guest. As musicians we have occasionally been totally embarrassed by this sort of caller. There is nothing worse than a caller who assumes everyone knows all the moves and gets angry when something goes wrong. Sadly its these same callers who cry out that there are no younger dancers coming up. Is it any surprise? As more and more of the 'proper dancers' find they can't dance any more due to advancing age and increased disability the callers will find there is no-one to call to. Its a good thing there are still enough good, patient callers and musicians out there to make most public barn dances, ceilidhs and private functions the sort of fun that they should be.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 01:08 PM

Amen to last 2 posts.

Flora,
I'm always happy for anything I put online to be repeated elsewhere and I would imagine most people are.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 29 Nov 13 - 04:42 PM

Yes, quote anything I've said - though I think the best tips were in the first 2 replies.
Just back from a wedding in a venue with lots of rooms. Good job the musicians could play accoustically while walking. We used a Farandole to get enough up for the last dance.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 05:54 AM

I have to plead guilty as a grumpy caller. I once had to fairly forceably remind a youngster ( old enough to know better)not to run across the dance floor while others were dancing. It was a health and safety issue and I was quite concerned. It wasn't about the dancing though.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good caller?
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 30 Nov 13 - 06:34 AM

For same gender groups or bias I use "Tall People" and "Small People" and then add in "unless you think otherwise" (in case there are men who are shorter than their partner) and that way you get mostly chaps on the "proper" side but actually I don't really use this unless the dance is really gender specific or side specific and I try and avoid those dances if I can.

Sarah


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