Before the internet entered the picture, the only “reliable” square dance instruction came from callers, books and what we remembered from our 6th grade music classes! During my initial square dance classes, I remember proudly receiving and then pouring over booklets containing the Basic/Mainstream and Plus Square Dance Calls. Although the definitions were succinctly written, it was nearly impossible to visualize what the moves would actually look like when danced. Thus, the booklets were good for reviewing but not really initially learning the moves. Today, square dance students are blessed with many supplemental resources including graphic animations and video that can help them grasp the true flow and execution of the calls. This section is for resources that current students may find helpful in learning our wonderful activity!
MY #1 PICK FOR SQUARE DANCE LEARNING – TAMINATIONS!
Taminations is what you would call “the whole ball of wax”. It has just about everything a person can use to study to be a great dancer. It has all the calls from Basic through Challenge. Then, for each call, they list the definition, possible formations that the call can be done from, as well as a totally cool animation of the call from each formation listed. These folks are WAY TOO COOL! (And no, I do not get any kickbacks for this endorsement…) 😉 I love how you get a bird’s eye view of the call and how you can click a button to play the animation entirely … or you can take it at your own pace by using the slider bar to move the dancers forward/back so you can follow the action and really get the feel of it.
The only downside some might have is that the dancers are represented by shapes and not actual dancers. This doesn’t bother me. Boys are squares and the women are circles (I won’t tell you how I usually say that since it might not be considered “politically correct”! hahahahaha)
Now, I KNOW you just can’t wait to check it out. So, go there… NOW! Clicking on the Taminations picture above will take you to their website (http://www.tamtwirlers.org/tamination/info/index.html) where you can use the program online OR download it to your computer. If you want to load it to your mobile device (such as a smart phone or tablet), click on the appropriate link below to get to the Taminations app link. And guess what? IT’S ALL FREE!! (Although I am sure they would totally appreciate a donation or two to go towards maintaining and updating this awesome resource!)
THE PLACE FOR CALL LISTS & DEFINITIONS – CALLERLAB
Callerlab (http://www.callerlab.org/Dance-Programs) is the main international organization for square dance callers. It is also where you can get the most current call lists and definitions. Below are the Callerlab links that will immediately download a pdf to the downloads folder on your computer.
- Callerlab Basic & Mainstream Calls List
- Callerlab Basic & Mainstream Definitions
- Callerlab Basic & Mainstream Abbreviated Definitions
**NOTE – Mixed-Up Squares has a great tool that will create an abbreviated, custom study list for the CHALLENGE calls. It’s not totally “according to Hoyle” but I find it useful for a quick brush up!!
SQUARE DANCE LESSON VIDEOS
Kansas has made a series of free online square dance lesson videos for Basics Through Plus. They are housed on YouTube and look like they could be a nice supplement! You can find them listed by number and content on their site. CLICK HERE or go to http://kssquaredancing.com/joomla/square-dance-lesson-videos.html
Saddle Brooke Squares also have free online square dance lesson videos that are easy to access and listed by number and content. They also offer a DVD that you can buy so that you can view the lessons without being on the internet (I imagine they will work either a TV, computer or portable DVD player.) To view the videos, CLICK HERE or go to http://videosquaredancelessons.com/lessons/ or http://www.videosquaredancelessons.com/lessons/callindex.htm
There are more free online square dance lesson videos on the wonderhowto.com website. They are nicely organized as well. The only bummer about this site is that they have ads along the top and right side. But, if that doesn’t distract you, you might find a gem or two. CLICK HERE or go to http://square-dance-lessons.wonderhowto.com/ to view the videos.
SQUARE DANCE LESSON AUDIOS
Tony Collingwood’s PacesettersUK Site https://sites.google.com/site/pacesettersuk/home – Honestly, I haven’t had a chance to explore this, but Tony (a challenge caller from the UK) has been working to create a database of free mp3 dance recordings. The majority are currently patter calls for two couple dancing at the Advanced and Challenge levels; however, there are some for Mainstream and Plus as well. These dance recordings look like a great source for workshops. The recordings are free to use – Tony just asks for 2 things: 1) For people to let him know if there are any broken links or corrections… and 2) For people to share the recordings to anyone who might enjoy and benefit from them! (You might also be curious to check out other UK square dance resources at http://www.uksquaredancing.com/page12.htm)
MORE LEARNING RESOURCES