I started calling regularly in 1989 and gave it up for other things in life at the end of 1999. Now, we're back to dancing, and I'm ready to continue calling.
Playing Bluegrass, Standards, and Folk Tunes, has always been a passion. These days there isn't nearly enough time to practice, but I still love to get together with friends to play.
Our Southern California area calls the Basic Program (1 and 2) Halfway Level. The entry level to the square dance activity in Southern California is ostensibly the Plus Program after a nine month class. Area clubs host Halfway Dances when new dancers have been exposed to all the calls up to Ferris Wheel – i.e. the Basics.
At Halfway Level, new dancers have not mastered the basics, and it can be argued that the average club dancer is not particularly skilled with all of the basic calls either. This is rather disappointing; the basics serve as the foundation for all that follows in square dancing. The sad fact is that typical attrition in most classes occurs after the halfway point, and ironically, nearly all dancers seem to have a Rip-Roarin’ Good Time at the Halfway Dance! After the halfway point, callers are forced by lack of remaining time to teach Mainstream and then Plus calls to usher dancers to the required entry level threshold. At the halfway point, the typical new dancer has not had much time to become comfortable with all the basics and their deeper mysteries. Many are ill-prepared for Mainstream, but could be allowed to grow and have fun with the basics if the pressure to move beyond them was removed. Moreover, if dancers were allowed to master the basics before moving forward, the transition to Mainstream would become far less demanding.