Specialist organisers of barn dance bands, ceilidh bands and folk/dance/concert groups throughout the UK

© 2018 Jigs 'n' Reels

Jigs 'n' Reels, 'Homeleigh', Claphill Lane, Rushwick, Worcester WR2 5TP

Call or Text brief enquiry to 0788 788 7917

Callers for Ceilidhs and Barn Dances

All the bands have a caller with them on the night - so novices or 'first-timers' need not worry if this type of dancing is entirely new to them! And on this page, we are presuming that your event will comprise mainly inexperienced Barn Dance or Ceilidh dancers.
At just about every event, the caller is the person who decides which dances will be danced and makes sure that the band know which type of music (jigs, reels, marches, hornpipes etc) is required to suit any particular dance.

To get the event started, the caller will invite/encourage dancers on to the dance floor, make sure that the dancers are in suitable sets (or otherwise) for the dance and briefly explain the moves/patterns that the dancers will need to know to make the dance work with the music. Usually, each move is given a 'call' - a shortened term for that particular move. Depending on the dance, simple verbal instructions may be enough - sometimes the caller may do a quick demonstration or ask a fairly experienced couple or set of dancers to quickly demonstrate the moves. This really does not take very long at all and makes sure that the dancers are not going to start the dance 'blind'.
Generally, the caller will be 'voice-amplified' as well as the band - either with a stand microphone from where the band are sited or with a 'wireless' microphone or head-set which, of course, allows the caller to move around amongst the dancers both during the 'walk-through' and the actual dance itself and making sure that the calls can be heard by all the dancers.

The whole idea of this 'walk-through' before the music starts is particularly aimed at those who have never done the dance before! No previous experience should be needed by the dancers - the whole idea is that they pick up the basic moves during the 'walk-through'. And it's the caller's job to try to make this aspect clear and concise and pretty damn quick! You don't want the dancers nodding off......or being totally confused. So...(unless there are loads of experienced dancers on the floor)...most callers will work on the age-old KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!) principle for the first few dances of the night.
And it is rare that the caller will dwell on the actual dance 'steps' or techniques. Really, there just isn't enough time for teaching such detail - and the dancers with natural rhythm will work it out anyway while the rest usually get by without falling over!

Now, the band is going to strike up the live music - so it's for real, folks! The caller will be aware of any musical introduction and call the first move just that split second before the dancers make their first move and will continue to call the reminders throughout the dance just at the right moments until such time as the caller can see that people have got the hang of the dance - there's no more satisfaction for a caller than 'seeing the baby walk'!

Basically, that's how it all pans out - and the caller (and the band) will expect some dancers to make mistakes.....see C'MON HAVE A GREAT NIGHT on our homepage

However, you should expect more from your caller than just dance instructions. The caller will often have a trick or two up the sleeve to encourage the more reluctant dancers up on to the dance floor and will act as the MC throughout the night. At events such as fund-raisers or charity events where the focus is very much on people coming to do some dancing, you can ask the caller to run the raffle, make important announcements ('last orders at the bar!') or introduce a speaker/votes of thanks etc. Some people may not be aware as to the degree of technique involved in public speaking or simply using a microphone properly - so it is often better if you ask the caller to perform these tasks.
The caller will also be accustomed to gaining the attention of everyone present, won't be nervous when making announcements and will probably be heard better and more clearly ('cos the caller knows that you should speak..just.. that..tiny..bit..slower..than in a normal one-to-one conversation.....Now! - did you know that?)

Importantly, always make sure that your caller is well aware of the proposed time-table of events throughout the night - food breaks, raffles, other performers, finishing times - so that the dancing can be planned to fall in with everything else. It's a waste of time and effort for all if, say, 40/50 people have just walked-through a dance and somebody else (like the catering manager/event manager) comes along to call a halt because the buffet is just about to be served! Or, even worse, the last dance cannot go ahead because some grumpy caretaker for your hall is insisting that the whole night stops - like, NOW ! With just a little notice to your caller, such problems can easily be avoided.

FINALLY - use the caller's experience! You will be taking advice from somebody who has done all this sort of thing before and is aware of any pitfalls and traps to avoid. For a slightly more tongue-in-cheek view on the caller's role in proceedings see http://www.jigsnreels.com/pagedetail.php?ID=3