|| All my life I wanted to be a Sight
Caller, and I am still trying to perfect it. If you ask another
sight caller how he or she does it. They probably can't answer it
So here is my attempt to describe how I learned sight calling,
and what I would call, RULE 1, 2 and 3. I sure hope this helps.
| Rule One: Learn to setup your
dancers (1 and 2) or (3 and 4) like this (Lines). You always know
that the opposite couples are a mirror image (Don't worry about them).
While the dancers are setting up, choose the strongest dancers and call
very simple moves. Don't get fancy. Start out with head
couples lead to the right, circle 4 and make lines (see above).
This is your indicator that you are ready to get them squared up again.
You can at first just call left allemande from hear, our use a
memorized figure to get to a better flowing left allemande.
Do not worry about the opposite couples (3 & 4) or (1 & 2), They are
just a mirror of the two couples you memorized. Once again, just
call simple, you don't need your dancer to break down.
While they are dancing, and you see your first setup, let one go by
and see what (1 & 2) or (3 & 4) looks like on the opposite side (Rule
2). See picture below.
||Rule Two: You can still call your left
allemande from here, or wait till you have them back to rule 1.
Just call a pass thru, bend the line and Rt & Lt thru and bend the line
again. And your back at rule 1.
You may call some silly setups for a while, and you will mess up.
Be honest with you dancers and tell them you are trying to learn to
sight call. They won't kill you for trying to improve your
|Also, do not have a back up plan.
Force yourself out of your comfort zone. Do not fall back on
memorized figures. You will not learn to sight call with cue cards
by your side.
|The best way to practice this is with real
people, that would be willing to be guinea pigs for a hour or so in your
garage. If you feed them well, they will come. You cannot
use dolls, or computer programs. It must be real people.
Ask them to wear matching outfits with their partner, and hope they do
not wear the same outfit of the rest of the couples. You may as
well shoot yourself, if that happens.
Just learn to sight call using rule 1 and 2, which can take months,
or even years to smooth out. And in time start looking at rule 3.
||Rule Three: Is easier than you think, but is
just as scary to start doing, Once again you must force yourself
to setup your dancers like this. I didn't start using rule 3 till
they quit letting us use cross trail thru. That was my get-out
move for rule 1 and 2.
If you look at rule 3 hard enough, you can still see your lines from
rule 1 and 2. Once you know couple 2 or 4 are secured, just worry
about 1 and 3 in the middle.
|Really you only worry about couple number
one. Couple 3 is just a mirror. Just get couple 1 and 2
setup for a left allemande. The opposite couple will be just fine.
Once again, don't worry about this setup till you feel you are getting
pretty good at rule 1 and 2.
So what's the benefit from all this torture?
As a Sight Caller, you can call anything, at any level, anytime you
want. Your lessons will be so much easier, and you can call at any
level, and be interesting. You can call from any position and
modify your singing calls while your actually calling them. You
can also buy sing calls you like for the music, not the figures.
You can adapt to any dancer, any level at anytime.
But this new skill comes with a warning: Remember the
dancers! Your new skill can really make your dancers strong, but
start to learn how to memorize not only the front squares, but some of
the ones in the back. You do not have to memorize them all at
once, call a few allemande lefts and see what one of the back squares
look like from rule 1 and 2, or even 3 position. And don't call
your patters to long. You are suppose to entertain the dancers,
not entertain yourself with your new skill.
Also, if you put on a good, clever dance, and miss a few allemande
lefts, the dancers will not mind. Laugh at it, and move on.
Most of the time the dancers think it was them. Do not give them a
chance to figure it out, just hit your next allemande left right and
they are happy.
So, I hope this helps. There are only a few Callers out there
that really sight call, and I am sure they would have a hard time
explaining it also. I am sure some of them would do a better job
than me explaining this. But if it helps just one person, than I
Good luck, and don't hesitate to give me a holler if I can be of
|By Rob Scribner
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