Show Menu

Ed Gilmore - Square Dance Callers Instruction Course - 1949

Dublin Core


Ed Gilmore - Square Dance Callers Instruction Course - 1949

Alternative Title

sponsored by the Redlands, California, Recreation Department


This is the text of the syllabus of Ed Gilmore's class. It contains plenty of philosophy, discussion of the caller's role, a detailed series of suggestions about how to teach basic figures (complete with specific language that he uses), plenty of detailed dance instructions, and sample patter.

Some excerpts:

• The United States has not discovered its folk dance or possibly it's just beginning to. There has been a void in our lives for the past 40 years. We have been a nation of spectators. Every sport or recreational activity has been on a basis of competition or exhibition with the development of star athletes or entertainers and the elimination of the mediocre or average participants. No other form of recreation presents an opportunity for participation to so large a number of our people as square dancing. There is no spirit of competition or exhibitionism in square dancing. Eight people get together and each one is striving for perfect cooperation with the other seven to complete a pattern in time with the instinctive rhythm of the music. No one is out to win anything or out do the other fellow.

• Most difficult to avoid is the selfish clique. The cliques will be your big problem all through your program but if you start your program with an exclusive group you will have two strikes against you before you start. For this reason we recommend the development of square dance groups open to enrollment to all who wish to attend. We further recommend that you try to adjust the floor space to the membership rather than limit the membership to one certain facility. Facilities continue to be the major limitation of the program as a whole but the pressure of thousands of square dancers will eventually force the development of adequate facilities.

• If you are successful in imparting a feeling of good fellowship to your group the battle is half won. Your own attitude will be reflected in their reactions. If you are friendly, patient, and jolly they will be cooperative. If you are irritable and impatient they will head for the cloakroom. You must either be "in the pink" physically and mentally or a darned good actor before you set out for an evening of calling.

• You must use good judgement in the selection of dances for your program. Avoid the use of complicated dances for your beginners. If you push your groups too fast you will make it impossible for them to relax and really enjoy themselves. With your advanced groups use a well balanced program of advanced and beginner dances. Make a practice of following a complicated dance with an easy one and try to include one new dance on each program.

• You will find that the use of too much patter or variety of breaks with beginner groups will confused them and detract from their pleasure. Use breaks and patter with judgement and always control your desire to "show off." With advanced groups use as much variety as possible. Always adjust your program to the ability of your dancers calling to the majority. Avoid holding the program back for a few slow dancers or raising the level for the benefit of a few expert dancers.


Date Created


Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Item Relations

Item: Ed Gilmore interview, 1961 is related to This Item
Item: Four in Line You Travel - Rickey Holden is related to This Item
Item: Ed Gilmore - Caller's Institute is related to This Item
Item: Class Notes - Jim Mayo, 1963 is related to This Item
Item: Learn Square Dancing - Ed Gilmore is related to This Item
Item: Starline is related to This Item
Item: Beginners Square Dance - plan for ten lessons (Don Armstrong) is related to This Item
Item: Syllabus of Square Dances, Rickey Holden 1949 is related to This Item
Item: Rural Leaders' Guide for Square and Group Dances, 1951 is related to This Item
Item: Dixie Folk syllabus - 1951 is related to This Item