Calling: Parties

Are you looking for an activity that's just a little bit different, to spice up a birthday party, club event, fundraiser, or other social gathering? Try square dancing!

A square dance party is perfect for bringing people together, because all eight of the people in each square interact with each other and work together to complete the dance figure. No square dancing experience is needed for such a party — everything that we do will be taught as we go, and the movements used are simple enough that not much teaching time is required.

Some people (especially square dance callers) refer to these parties as "one-nighters." Why? In part because people aren't expected to continue learning square dancing after the party — it's just for one night. Also, it dates back at least to the days of the Big Bands, where a band would come into a town, play a dance or concert, and then leave the next day for another town; these stopovers were referred to as "one-night stands."

Music Licensing

Many people don't realize that the organizers of a dance event, or the location where the event is held, must have a license from BMI and ASCAP for performance of any music used for the dancing. Failure to get a license can result in some very steep fines, if they happen to catch you. As a member of CALLERLAB, the international square dance callers' association, I hold a BMI/ASCAP license which is valid for any square dance activity except for state and national conventions. So, if you hire me for your party, you're automatically covered and don't have to worry!

What We'll Do

Generally, we'll start by getting all of the couples into a big circle around the room, and teach 5-6 very basic square dance movements. Then we'll break the big circle up into squares (4 couples in each square) and play with the same movements in the smaller set. That takes about 15 minutes, after which we'll have a short rest break.

For the rest of the party, we'll have the people form squares for 15-minute sets with 5-minute breaks between. In each set, we'll play with the calls that were already taught, and possibly work in 1 or 2 more.

I'll use a variety of musical styles in the course of the party, ranging from country to rock, jazz, and even classical, and ranging from old standards to fairly current titles. If you have a preference to fit in with a party theme, please let me know ahead of time so that I can accommodate it.

What Do I (the organizer) Need To Provide?

The biggest thing you'll need to provide is people to dance! Without people, we can't do anything!

Other than that, you'll need a flat, reasonably smooth area where 8 people can dance together, around 9 feet square. For more than 8 people (1 square), you'll need more space — about 9x9 for each square. Uneven ground outside doesn't work well and could lead to injuries, so take care in your selection of a location.

You'll also need to provide a table where I can set up my equipment. It should be within 25 feet or so of an electrical outlet — yes, my equipment does require electricity!

How Much Will It Cost Me?

Please contact me for rates and fees — my email address and phone number are at the top of my Calling page. Generally, I set my fee according to the distance I have to travel, and I expect to provide up to a 3 hour party for the fee quoted. However, I am always open to negotiation, and will try to accommodate groups on a limited budget — especially church and school groups.

Also, if it turns out that I'm already booked for the date you're planning, I have a number of other callers who I can highly recommend for your party. So, please don't hesitate to contact me!