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Article 030500 - Club Guest vs. Full Time Callers


  Lets talk about Square Dance Clubs and their Callers and Cuers, or part time Callers and Cuers..

  Many Clubs don't have their own Callers due to a lack of qualified Callers, or they feel "Guest Callers Only" are the best thing to do.

  But how does this effect the Callers and Cuers in the local area?

   As a Caller, originally from Washington, I have not been exposed to clubs without permanent Callers and Cuers, till I moved to Oregon.  I found this very interesting and concerning at the same time.  It was nice to be a experienced Caller and be able to call full dances right off the bat.  Yet the first question I asked was, "which club was looking for a Caller".  The answer was, none.  Not because they were full, but the policy in the area was guest Callers only.  "We will get you on the list for next year" they said, and they did.

   As a Caller, or Cuer, you know that this is also a business.  We have investments in thousands of dollars in equipment, records, time and travel.  We buy new material, practice many hours, and pay Callerlab dues.  Yes, we love Square Dancing just as much as the next person, but try explaining that to someone outside of square dancing that suggest you are a business idiot if not demanding that your cost be met.

  Since I have now seen, this Guest Caller/Cuer policy in affect, it started changing my process for keeping up on the latest, and greatest.

  Why would I want to spend more money on all the latest records, electronics or reading materials, if I only have 3 or 4 scheduled dances for the year.  That makes lots of sense, spend hundreds, make pennies.

   The other thing I noticed was the caller/dancer relationship, or the lack of.  When you have a permanent Caller/Cuer, they become part of the group (The Family), not a outsider in town for the evening.  The dancers are missing out on so much.  The Caller is not willing to invest in them when it comes to music, material or equipment.  Why should they?  I have found myself already cutting corners.  I normally buy 5 to 8 new records a month, new dance clothing, and review new electronic devices.  Not now!

  I guess my point is that "Yes", dancers do get variety with Guest Callers/Cuers, but at the cost of their exposure to new, and modern material and equipment.  You will find most permanent Callers/Cuers have the best of everything, Guest Callers hold on to material and equipment from 20 to 30 years ago, as long as it keeps running.

  That makes business sense!

  Some clubs may think they are doing just fine without their own Caller/Cuers.  But I suggest they really need to take a look at, or talk to a club member from another groups with a permanent Caller and Cuer.  They will hear them talk about their Caller/Cuers in a group or family reference.  They will describe him or her in their first name, and as part of the club team.

  The permanent Caller/Cuers will be up to date, to please their dancers, since they have to look them in the eye each week.  He or she will have a loyalty not just to entertain you, but to make you a strong and flexible dancer.  He or she wants to look good to their peers too.  Weak dancers reflect their how good their Callers/Cuers are.

By Rob Scribner

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