RFDC MUSIC LIBRARY: Support for Dance Callers

The RFDC is very keen to provide support for those people who call dances at club meetings, and the Committee has discussed how best to encourage club members who have not called before to have a go. In order to facilitate this we have spent some of the Club’s funds on materials that callers, especially novice callers, can use.
These have been added to by the generous gifts of CDs and dance books from the families of two of our former members, Marian McArragher and Dorothy Winfield; although we miss Marian’s and Dorothy’s company we can at least still enjoy the dances they called and the music that they used. As a consequence RFDC now possesses a library of over 50 CDs of music suitable for dancing and over 60 books of dances written/compiled by various authors and choreographers.
Full lists of these CD and dance-book resources are appended below in Pdf format. Simply click on the file name to open the document in a printable format.
* List of CDs of dance music (Numerical order):- RFDC CD Catalogue – Numerical Order – Oct 2018
* List of CDs of dance music (Alphabetical order):- RFDC CD Catalogue – Alphabetical Order – Oct 2018
* Catalogue of music tracks on all RFDC CDs in alphabetic order of CDs:- RFDC Music Library CD Catalogue with Track listings Oct 2018
* Catalogue of music tracks on all RFDC CDs in alphabetical order of track name:- RFDC CD Catalogue – Alphabetical Track Titles on all CDs
* List of dance books in alphabetical titles order:- RFDC Dance Books Catalogue Alphabetical Oct 2018
* List of dance books in catalogue numerical order:- RFDC Dance Books Catalogue – Numerical Oct 2018

Borrowing club materials
All of these RFDC resources may be borrowed at no overall cost by members of the Rutland Folk Dance Club and Burton Overy Dancers. However, we do ask that borrowers leave a cash deposit (£5 per item) which is refunded when the item is returned to the club collection, and that members try to restrict the period they borrow items to one week. We keep a record of loans so that we know “who has what” in the unlikely eventuality that an item should be required urgently by another member.

Anybody wishing to borrow materials from the Club Library should see/contact Peter or another Committee Member (see “CONTACTS” page) who will issue the item(s), record the loan and collect the deposit money. When items are returned, to Peter or another Committee member, the deposit(s) will be reimbursed.

To support beginners
 We have purchased the book “Norfolk Capers” by Peggy Hazell which has lots of easy dances that don’t need special music. It includes longways; 3, 4 and 5 couple dances; squares and circles.   All are achievable, with practise, by a novice caller. In addition 3 CDs by the band Amaryllis have most of the necessary music such as jigs, reels and waltzes of different lengths for you to use. In addition, some of the books (eg. “Country Dance Party; a Teacher’s Guide”, and “A Barn Dance selection”) in the legacies from Marian and Dorothy, also contain simple dances suitable for new callers.

For more experienced callers
 We have also bought the more advanced volume by Hugh Stewart called “The Country Dance Club Book” and the “Community Dances Manual, vols 1-7” which contain slightly more difficult, as well as classic English & American, dances.   The Hugh Stewart book has a very good section at the beginning that is worth reading for greater insight into calling dances; calling with bands and running a club.   It defines most of the dance moves and explains the ‘siding’ controversy.
The twin compilation CD “Welcome to the Dance” (by Quorn Folk Dance Club and EFDSS), of which the club now has three copies, will provide music to go with many of the dances in Hugh Stewart’s book and also those in the “Community Dances Manual 1-7”.
Amongst the collections received from Marian and Dorothy are lots of books of dances which embrace the entire range of English and American Country dances from simple to complex, and written/compiled by many of the leading dance-writers. In several cases there are accompanying CDs of suitable music played by the most popular English country-dance bands. Members are encouraged to explore and enjoy them!

Developing as a Caller
After using these materials you might now be deciding whether to make calling your hobby and to start buying your own CDs. Bands who make these CDs have only a small group of regular purchasers and to support the bands you ought to think of buying your own and not copying. We need them as much as they need us.
When some of us experienced callers (Bronwyn and Ken) started calling we thought £20 a month was not too much to spend on a hobby and we quickly built up libraries of our own. You can still get a book and a CD for less than £20. Derek and Ann Appleing, who live in Cheltenham, run a folk shop selling books and music. Tel/Fax 01242 692243 (Email: Derek-Ann@folksales.co.uk ). Their service is superb, – friendly, prompt and efficient, – and they carry a huge range of materials.
After purchase many callers transfer their CDs to other media (PC, iPod, etc) to facilitate easier access and also to preserve their CDs from damage and this is perfectly acceptable.

The etiquette of calling.
A dance is, generally, somebody else’s work so give them an acknowledgment by announcing who wrote it. If you make changes to their dance then say so. Where a dance has its own tune – use it. Also give credit to the musicians whose music you use. If you don’t know who they are say so, and ask if anybody in the hall does.
Be sure to do thorough preparation at home. Practise calling the dance and be confident that you understand it. Write out the calls and use your own words for what you will say. It is bad form to waste dancers’ time because you have not prepared although, of course, no-one minds genuine mistakes or the odd fluster.

Good luck and feel free to ask any of the club callers for help.

Drafted by Bronwyn Taylor & Ken Judd, October 2013.
Updated by Peter Meacock, May 2017.