The International Square Dance Magazine

Patrick Demerath

Creativity and Sensitivity

The American Callers’ Association in its attempt to be of service to all callers, dancers, and associations provided current, timely, and effective information on new dancer recruitment from 2000 to 2014. The American Callers Association appreciates the positive comments, encouragement to continue, and contributions from callers all over the country and from abroad to continue these initiatives. The American Callers Association will continue to provide information that will help the square dance community recruit, retain and retrieve square dancers as well as encourage the dancers to speak out on the cumbersome dance programs.

The American Callers’ Association would like to espouse a concept stressing creative programs to attract new dancers. New dancer recruitment appears to be at an-all time low as both Mainstream and Mainstream/Plus clubs are having difficulty recruiting new students for square dancing. Square dancing appears to be losing 10% of its dancers per year as membership declines.

ACA argues that we must look at a “new way of thinking,” which is thinking beyond the tired traditional and mechanical methods. ACA recognizes that different clubs in different parts of the world will apply square dance calling and teaching differently. Square dance calling and teaching, with its traditionally based programs, lists, and levels may be based upon economic, human, and logistics factors such as hall cost, availability, and club (people) preferences. Clubs and callers may hang on to the principles of standardization when possible, but this is not the only end in itself.

ACA’s International one-floor program supports as little as 14-15 weeks for lessons. Some clubs and callers are now trying ten-week programs and one night stand activities. The American Callers’ Association International One-Floor 14-15 week programs fits “Winning Ways” categories. Each of these items when applied by a club or caller may offer the caller and club opportunities to increase its number of new dancer graduates as it may offer many unique methods to present the art of square dancing.

ACA looking at recruiting and marketing theory argues that for square dancing to grow, we must embrace a thinking venue that invites ideas and innovations and one that is not constrained by the baggage of the past.

ACA can support a complete overhaul of the square dance product such as new lists of movements; no requirement for dress codes, 12-14 week lesson programs, and competition. ACA argues that change is not necessarily a bad thing, and that we as callers and dancers should be open to change. In fact, the American Callers’ Association was founded because a large percentage of the existing callers wanted a change to have a one-floor program not to retain and justify segregated levels or programs.

ACA encourages Callers’ Associations and Dancers’ Associations to help to get the wheels moving. Solutions to the serious and critical decline in the number of dancers are not easy to find, but they are out there for the taking. The American Callers’ Association invites all callers to report back about experiments they are trying and their degree of success. ACA encourages new and creative mindsets to look for solutions.

The American Callers’ Association salutes and supports callers and clubs who try initiatives. The American Callers’ Association would be willing to work with all square dance associations anytime and anyplace to further square dancing and to help test some of the initiatives to search for those changes, which would reverse the decline of square dancing?

Any individual, club, caller, or association who wishes to communicate his/her opinions on this subject is encouraged to contact the American Callers’ Association at or Dr. Patrick Demerath at  Please visit our website and newsletters at

Until next time, Happy Dancing.

Fun set to music!