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I’ve found that, over the years, being a square dance caller is very much like being a public speaker. You have to know what you’re going to say *before* you open your mouth.

Some people have to read their notes. Think teleprompter. That’s not me. Other people just start talking. Ever hear someone drone on and on and on? That’s not my style either.

I have notes, don’t get me wrong. I use them to remind myself of what I’ve prepared for the evening’s dance. It is important to me to be *present* at a dance. This means that I am as much a part of dance as I am leading it.

When I was a music major in college, one of my teachers taught me that a horn is a bunch of metal and that a violin starts as a block of wood. I, and I alone, am the instrument that makes the music. Likewise, I am both the dance leader and the dance itself. It’s a magical feeling for me.

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