Square Dance Club


  Member Handbook






Jim & Toni Unger, Callers

(616) 453-4280


hhtp://Flutterbyes.SquareDance MI. com

(Note:  no “www” in address!)






Dear Members,


Welcome to one of the best all around social activities available.  Square dancing is a good low impact semi-aerobic exercise for couples of all ages.  Studies have shown that square dancing can add years to your life expectancy and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.


This Handbook will help explain some of the whys and wherefores of not only square dancing but also the Flutterbyes Square Dance Club-a kind of a one-stop-shopping for information about square dancing.  If there are any questions that are not answered in this handbook, please give us a call.



    Jim & Toni Unger, Club Callers

    (616) 453-4280






Flutterbyes Club History, Activities and Purpose


Flutterbyes is a non-profit teaching club founded by Jim and Toni Unger in 1990.  It functions as a caller-run club (CRC) meaning that the caller sets the direction of the club with input from club members.  Currently our club sponsors a club dance the first Saturday of each month October through May and on other special dates as announced utilizing both the Club callers and guest callers.  The format of normal club dances is alternating mainstream & plus calls.  In addition, we offer Second Saturday Plus dances January through April as well as travel dances, parties and other special events.


Flutterbyes are members of the Western Michigan Square and Round Dance Association and the Michigan Council of Square and Round Dance Clubs and adhere to Callerlab rules.


Club Membership


Club dues are payable in the spring.  Our year goes from June 1-May 31.  The benefits of Club membership include:

·        Reduced admission to Club dances

·        A monthly newsletter listing area dances and special events

·        You may participate in club social events, e.g. travel dances, parties, fundraisers, etc.

·        You get one year’s free dues if you sponsor a class member who successfully graduates.


However with membership come responsibilities.  These include:

·        Serving on committees

·        Rotation through Club duty functions (greeter, admissions, clean-up, etc.)

·        Providing snacks at Club dances you attend

·        Helping clean up after dances


To assist in space rental, during each dance a voluntary raffle is held (called 50-50) to raise funds.  If you are so inclined, please help us by participating.


Club Duty Functions


To operate a square dance club requires sharing of responsibilities.  Below are listed most of the duties that Club Members are expected to help with:


Club Coordinator

·                 Oversees all Club Duty Functions


Ongoing Functions

·        Newsletter Chair

o       Publishes a monthly newsletter

·        Set Up & Clean Up Chair

o       Makes sure someone is assigned to set up the refreshment area and that the area is cleaned up after the event

·        Club Supplies

   o   Makes sure the refreshment supplies are restocked as needed

·       Dangle Chair

o   Maintains and sells dangles

·       Photography Chair

o    Maintains club photo albums

Dance Functions

·        Admission table

o       Club members take an annual rotation (and/or greeter) at taking admission money at the door and selling 50-50 tickets.  This requires sitting out the first tip and early arrival.

·        Greeter

o       Club members take an annual rotation (and/or admission table) at welcoming members and guests as they enter.  This requires early arrival.

·        Banner Chair

o       This person keeps track of where club banners are and helps arrange travel dances to retrieve Club banners.

·        Refreshments

o       All members attending Club dance functions are asked to provide finger food whenever possible.

·        Clean up

o       All members attending Club dance functions are expected to assist in the clean up of the area.


Angel Functions

·        Club Members are asked to assist in lessons by angeling new students (see below).



Angel Responsibilities


New dancer instruction requires many experienced dancers to help the students learn.  Hopefully last years’ students will angel but even more assistance is needed.  Club Members who angel for both semesters will receive an angel dangle.    Here are some other things angels should keep in mind:


·        Make Class Members Feel Welcome at the class.

·        Keep the class "FUN", especially for Class Members.

·        Make sure Club Members don’t do their "Fancies" during class.

·        If the Caller hasn’t taught it during Class, DON’T DO IT.

·        Need "Solo Rotation" to ensure All Single Class Members are dancing all the time.

·        Include Class Members in other Club Activities, i.e. parties, picnics, outings and other related Club Activities other than Square Dancing.

·        Ensure Club Members understand the learning process the class is going through, and don’t get upset when Class Members make a mistake.

·        Include your Class Members in Refreshment Responsibilities. They will feel part of the group.

·        Invite Class Members to go out with Club Members after the Class for Coffee, Ice Cream, or whatever.

·        Encourage Single Class Members to look for a "Partner" they can bring to the next Class.

·        Wear your Club badge to class functions.



Square Dance Etiquette


To ensure that everyone at a square dance has an enjoyable time, please observe the following rules of etiquette:


1.      Do not drink alcoholic beverages or take drugs as that affects your dance reaction time.  Alcohol can also cause bad breath.

2.      Shower, use deodorant and brush your teeth.  Avoid eating strong smelling foods (e.g. garlic, onions, etc.) before a dance.

3.      Once in a square, do not abandon it.  It is rude to pass by a square needing a couple.  Usually form squares randomly.

4.      Introduce yourself to dancers you do not know and thank all the dancers after the tip.

5.      Be gentle in offering dancing assistance and instructions to fellow dancers.  Take care not to hurt other dancer’s feelings and do not be critical.

6.      Listen to the caller.  Do not talk when the caller is talking or calling.  Not only is it rude, but all dancers may need the information offered.

7.      If a medical emergency occurs, members of the square should surround the person in question with uplifted arms to notify the caller that assistance is needed.

8.      Couples should wear square dance attire (see “Square Dance Terms & Definitions”) unless it is specified “Casual.” 


Square Dance Myths


Like many other activities, there are several untrue myths about square dancing.  Here are a few.


1.      Square Dancing is only for old people.  Square dancing is for all ages.  In fact many teenagers square dance.  The earlier you learn, the easier you pick it up.

2.      Square Dancing is only fun but offers nothing else.  Square dancing is a low impact semi-aerobic exercise that strengthens your muscles and mind.  There are many physical and mental benefits to square dancing. 

3.      Square Dancing uses only country music.  Many different types of music are used including pop, rock, easy listening, polka, Broadway, county-western and even rap.

4.      You have to learn higher levels of square dancing to be good/have fun.  The right caller can make the most basic level (mainstream) of square dancing challenging.


Square Dance Terms & Definitions


Below is listed some information that involve square dancing as a whole (i.e. we do not list the definition of calls) that is often hard to find in square dance instruction manuals.  For example, did you know that no matter where in the world you square dance, all the calls are in English?  Below are selected definitions. 

·       All square dance definitions can be found at www.callerlab.org.  

·       Illustrated dance definitions can be viewed at http://www.tamtwirlers.org/tamination/info/index.html

·       For video lessons with actual dancers for Basic/Mainstream through Plus, go to  http://videosquaredancelessons.com/lessons/ or

or    http://www.kssquaredancing.com/joomla/square-dance-lesson-videos.html



A method of fundraising at square and/or round dances. Rather than raise the dance entry fee, an optional separate purchase enters the dancer into a raffle, where the potential prize is some amount of money. Several random winners are selected, and the total of the money returned to the participants is half (50%) of the total money used to purchase tickets for this activity, hence the term, 50/50. Sometimes called “lucky split.”



A gathering of square dancers after a dance. This can be something simple like going out to a restaurant, a quiet get-together at someone's hotel room, campsite, or house, to something more elaborate like planned skits or initiations for dangles.



Dancers at a class that are already at (or beyond) the current dance program who are there to help the students in the class. Very often, angels are club members helping at their club's classes, helping new dancers learn the basics of square dancing.



All Position Dancing. Dancing either the man’s or woman’s position from standard formations of square dance calls, regardless of the person's true sex.

With APD, a couple may have the lady on the man's left, or may consist of two men or two ladies; any arrangement of sexes is a legal starting position for a call (except for a few sex-specific calls). APD is a sub-set of DBD -- see DBD.


An historical concept where a caller modifies an existing sex-specific call so that the dancer executes the call based upon the position the dancer is in at that instant, rather than the true sex that the dancer is. The term only applies to the specific call that is modified by the caller.



The type of clothes worn at square dance functions.  There are basically two types:


·       Traditional (sometimes called “Square Dance attire”):  Western (usually long sleeve) shirts and dress pants or jeans for men and square dance blouses and skirts or dresses for women (plus the applicable square dance undergarments)


·       Casual:  Street clothing for both men and women



Usually a square or rectangular piece of cloth, with the club's logo.

One method square dance clubs use to encourage dancers to come to their dances is to award visiting clubs (usually with a square of attending dancers) banners with the sponsoring club's logo upon it. The tradition follows that the club giving the banner must then return the visit back to the club who captured the banner, in order to "recapture" their own banner back.



When the square is no longer able to continue dancing because too few dancers know where they're supposed to be. This is considered to be a "broken" square, and is commonly referred to as "breaking down".

If the current song is a singing call, the couples should all return to their original home positions and wait for the rest of the floor to return as well; if it's a patter call, they should form two facing lines and wait for a call that brings all the lines "up to the middle and back", their signal to join in and resume dancing.


An international organization responsible for the consistent definition of square dance calls and programs throughout the world.


Century Book

A book that can be purchased from most square dance stores, each with 100 pages (actually, there are usually extra pages, but you only use 100 of them per book). Each page is then signed by a different caller at each of the dances that are attended by the owner(s). This might be a full dance or merely a single tip (especially in the case of square dance conventions or for callers visiting at a dance).  When the book is full, the book can then be sent to the address inside the book (for a minimal cost) and receive a badge and/or a pin, signifying that this dancer has danced to 100 different callers. (At last contact, there are also pins / badges available for 200 and 300 plateaus.)

The rules are simple:

·        Each caller can only be on one page any book owner/used by the dancer, no matter how many times you dance to him or her

·        Only a total of three square dance callers can sign on any one day

·        The caller must sign their respective page (or a signed business card or hand-written sheet of paper may be attached on the official page if the official book wasn't available at the time of dancing)

·        One book may be maintained for a couple

As a courtesy, the first page is typically reserved for your beginning class instructor (if you learned from an instructor). There is no time limit for completion of the book. Some people have more than one book, but you may not duplicate callers across books, thus keeping the ongoing challenge of dancing to callers you've never danced to prior.

Dance Programs (unofficially called “levels”)

A defined program of square dancing, used to refer to a collective set of standard square dance calls taught to dancers. The seven programs defined by Callerlab, in order, are:

·                     Mainstream (about 70 calls)

·                     Plus (about 30 calls)

·                     Advanced (not all areas of the country split them) (about 60 calls)

o                    A-1

o                    A-2

·                     Challenge (hundreds of calls)

o                    C-1 ["Challenge Basic"]

o                    C-2 ["Extended Challenge"]

o                    C3A

o                    C3B (non-Callerlab)

o                    C4 (non-Callerlab)

The most common program danced is Mainstream, while Plus is very prevalent in many of the major urban areas of the U.S.


A small plastic or metal object which attaches to a badge, using only a single metal ring to attach to a badge. This object can symbolize a variety of things, including such items as visitations, callers, special events, etc.  Also called a fun badge.



Dancing By Definition. Dancing such that the individual calls can be broken into their component parts, so that a call can be danced from any position on the floor, including dancing a call from a different starting position (non-standard positions) than was originally taught.

This requires that dancers remember how each call is defined (as a group of linked Basic calls) rather than just from standard positions (that most people were taught). APD is a special case (a sub-set, if you will) of DBD, but most people incorrectly use the terms interchangeably.


A fancy move that is added to, or substituted for, the standard way of doing a call that has the same effect but can be more fun (than the standard, traditional movements). Frills that involve other dancers usually have some built-in signal so that you only do it if both dancers are ready and both know the particular frill.

Caution should be taken to avoid upsetting others in your square. Some dancers are distracted/upset by actions other than what is called, so care must be taken to use only those frills that are acceptable to those in your square. Use your knowledge of those with which you dance, dance carefully... and have fun!

Patter Call

A single song, used by a caller as background for a series of calls, very often with only call-related lyrics accompanying the music. One aspect of a patter call is that both partners of a couple will be moved in a variety of formations and arrangements, but each time be brought back to their home position before the next set of calls. This may occur several times during the patter call. This is in contrast to a singing call


Purple Heart

A single tip in which three (or more) callers are dancers within the square, with the (humorous?) implication that anyone who can dance with three callers deserves a Purple Heart. This term also applies to the fun badge signifying completion of this type of square.


Sex-Specific Call

A call that is performed differently by men and ladies, regardless of position. (There aren't nearly as many of these as some people think. Examples: Star Thru, Slide Thru, See Saw, Swing Your Partner, Right & Left Grand, Box the Gnat, Weave the Ring, and Left Allemande.)




Stopping short at your correct position (and announcing - out loud - "short", to tell others in the square that they are not promenading), rather than promenading completely around the square. This is common in patter calls where you are less than a quarter of the way from your home position and don't feel like promenading one and a quarter of the way around your square. Be advised that you should never call a "short" in a singing call. Singing calls are choreographed such that the caller knows the exact position of the dancers at the end of any sequence and any "long" promenades are already taken into account, sometimes merely to allow the caller the chance to complete a long chorus of the music.  In a Singing Call, the promenade rule is you must promenade at least ¼ the way around.  If you are only ¼ the way around from home, you should promenade 1¼ the way around.



A set of four couples, in a four-sided formation, each couple facing one of the four walls of the room. Each square is comprised of two head couples and two side couples.


Stacking Calls

Several calls, called in quick succession, requiring the dancers to remember several calls in a row.  Remember to finish each call before executing the next.



Anything about the way you do a call that is not mentioned in the definition. Usually the definition tells you how to get there, while styling tells you how to do it smoothly. Most calls have standard styling that everyone should know and is always correct, plus alternate styling, or frills, that you can add for fun.


Trail-End Dance

A dance held immediately prior to a festival or convention, at the location of the main event, usually sponsored and organized by the same people organizing the festival or convention.


Trail-In Dance

A dance held prior to a festival or convention, at the city or area, but not necessarily related to the festival or convention. Commonly sponsored by a local club or organization.


Trail-Out Dance

A dance held immediately after a festival or convention, usually sponsored and organized by the same people organizing the festival or convention, but not necessarily included as part of the event. For example, an event running from Thursday evening to Saturday night, might have a trail-out dance on Sunday morning.


Trail-Thru Dance

A dance held somewhere along a route to a major festival or convention. Many times, a series of dances will be scheduled along the way to a convention, providing a number of dances for the dancers to attend, thereby extending the dance time available and making a long land-based trip that much more enjoyable.


Visitation (sometimes called a “Travel Dance”)

A club-organized event where the club "visits" another club, usually in the local area (though sometimes it may be a non-local club, usually with some sort of group transportation, such as a bus). In many clubs, a banner is given to the visiting club(s).




A formal class, designed for reviewing square dance calls that have already been taught to dancers at the workshop's program. The class instructor may be reviewing known calls in their standard positions, or teaching these calls in new formations or orientations that the dancers may never have learned before. For example, you could have a Plus / DBD workshop, expanding the dancer's use of existing calls at the Plus program that the dancer is already familiar with, but previously known only from the standard positions.


Yellow Rock

A hug directed to your corner. Used commonly to get the square to relax and get ready for the next call. Some callers will substitute different colors for different people in (or out of) the square. Other generally accepted color codes for "huggees":


Rock "Color"

Designated "Huggee"

Yellow Rock


Red Rock


Green Rock

Right-Hand Lady

Orange Rock


Blue Rock


Purple Rock

Whatever you can get away with