Our Caller

by Steve Minkin

I began square dancing in 1980, started calling in 1981 and went full-time six years later. I regularly lead over 350 dances each year.

I work very well with brand new beginners, providing lots of dancing with a minimum of teaching. Square dancing is ideal for non-dancers, and comes from a tradition of dances for people who didn't have a lot of time to practice dancing. My program for beginners includes traditional and modern squares, the Virginia Reel, circle mixers, line dances, novelty dances and more, all done to a wide variety of music. I also have a large and wide-ranging collection of personally selected music on hand, so I can function as a DJ for you during the non-dancing portions of the event, if you choose.

Working with children is another my specialties, and I have an extensive program of calling in schools. I also do many parent-child dances and lots of dances for camps.

My home program consists of four weekly club nights, two in Sebastopol, one in Santa Rosa and one in Novato. These clubs periodically host classes. I have called hoedowns all over California and festivals in Maui, Napa, Lodi, Lakeport, Guerneville and elsewhere, served for years as the Chairman of Advanced Quarterly Selection Committee of Callerlab, and am a member of Callerlab. I call through C-1, cue Phase II rounds, and lead line dances every week.

How did a boy from New York City become a Square Dance Caller?

Very unexpectedly! Growing up in Brooklyn and The Bronx, the only thing I knew about square dancing was that it wasn't to be done! But my wife is from rural Michigan and has been square dancing all her life. She asked me to go just once, and said if I didn't like it she wouldn't ask again. I was hooked in the first ten minutes. I've always loved music and dancing, but when I saw how unique and multi-dimensional square dancing was I fell in love with it. A few months later, in beginners class, when I learned the move All 8 Circulate, I realized that the elegant choreography of the modern square dance was similar to chess, a life-long passion of mine, and at that point I decided to be a caller and threw myself into the activity.