The Perfect Caller

The Perfect Caller…

  1. Remembers when it has been asked to call.
  2. Knows every detail of all existing dances, their tunes, how the dance fits to the music, which figures most often go wrong and why.
  3. Knows the tastes and abilities of the dancers, plans a programme that will please all of them, with variety of shape, speed and difficulty, with a few dances in reserve (see 16), then looks up and learns all of them (despite not needing to, see 2).
  4. Can do all of 3 at a moment's notice, in time of emergency.
  5. Never gets stage fright or memory loss, never repeats corny jokes and has no irritating mannerisms.
  6. Knows every detail of how to work the tape recorder and how to find tapes, and knows the quirks (e.g., 4-bar introduction to La Russe). The Perfect Caller can also cope with records or a band.
  7. Can be heard clearly in any room above any noise.
  8. Can tell whether one or two sets would be better, and whether sets should be up-and-down or across the room.
  9. Explains everything briefly but clearly, can tell who has not understood, what they haven't understood, and can explain again in different words as many times as necessary, without boring the expert dancers and without reference to any form of crib.
  10. Can give a summarized explanation, either after a long walk-through or as a reminder of a well-known dance.
  11. Can suggest that couples or partners swap without making anyone feel inferior. (Of course, the Perfect Caller will explain so well that no dance will crash so badly that it has to be stopped and re-explained.)
  12. Calls ever briefer instructions during the dance, clearly, loudly and promptly. It can watch everyone at once, and never loses track of how many times a figure has been done.
  13. Can do all of 12 while dancing as the wrong sex in a set with 2.5 ghosts, but will not dance if that would force anyone to sit out who didn't want to.
  14. Can tell without asking who does, or doesn't, want an encore (including those sitting out).
  15. Leaves exactly the right time between dances.
  16. Can alter its programme at a moment's notice to accommodate first-half callers who've used its dances, the wrong number of couples, an unexpected number of beginners or too much or too little time.
  17. Always finishes exactly on time.
  18. Improves its calling by learning new dances, by watching other callers and copying or avoiding what they do, and by occasionally inviting criticism from friends.

Hilary Johnson, Chairman of the Round, 1987-88