While I know how to call square dances, I also know that I am still learning my craft. I learn something at every dance I call as well as every dance I attend as a dancer.
One of the lessons (I think) that I learned early on in my calling career is to “shut up and call.” Yes, I tell the occasional story or try to deliver a joke or two. However, that’s not why I’m paid to be in a dance hall. I’m there to call a dance.
I have a real problem going to dances where the caller (or anyone) get’s up and tells a story. It’s not that I don’t care, I do. I just think there’s a time and place for it. Jokes, if told at all, should be quick and (mostly) painless. When I’m teaching, I use humor as a distraction. Facts and figures are best learned (according to research), when there’s an emotional component. So, I add something to make people chuckle/groan. Then, I do what I’m paid to do. I entertain by getting people to move to music. (Sometimes, against their will. However, that’s another story for another day.)