“Pride of Callers” by Alain Buzzard reprinted from the June 2003 issue of Times Squared

We really should be grateful for all the wonderful callers who have called for us over the years. And remember that it wasn’t always like this!

How things have changed for the better in the last twenty years! “In the olden days,” Times Squares only enjoyed national callers by playing their tapes and records. Homophobia and/or fear of the unknown prevented the Bid Cats from calling for us. The came Betsy Gotta!

Following in the tradition of social responsibility set by her father (one of the first callers to actively encourage Jewish couples to join the dance, breaking the unwritten code of anti-Semitism rampant in the nation), Betsy started calling regularly for us. In recognition for her support of Gay Square Dancing, Betsy was the recipient of last year’s GOLDEN BOOT award at the IAGSDC convention.

And once the door was opened, other callers worked up the courage to start calling for same sex couples. Don’t forget: those were the days when straight couples usually wore “twin-look” western garb, making it a lot easier for callers to recognize who was whose partner. To suddenly be confronted with a floor of same gendered couples, many of whom kept change “roles” during the evening, presented a significant new challenge for callers.

Praises be: homophobia is no longer sanctioned in the larger square dance community and we regularly have some of the best callers in the word at our dances.

For example, did you know that Mike Jacobs is the Chairman of the Board for Callerlab, the largest and most influential association of square dance caller in the word. Todd Fellegy, Anne Ueberlacker, Saundra Bryant, Ben Rubright, John Marshall, Ron Libby, Lee Kopman, Vick Ceder, Barry Clasper, Deborah Parnell Carroll, Lloyd Sparks, Ed Foote, and … and … and … – are among the international callers who have shaped the word of square dancing as we know and love it – and called for us.

Among the big cats, not to forget our own home-grown cubs – Nick Martellacci, Howard Richman and Geo Jedlicka – who qualify as international callers too.

Geo, regularly calling at the highest levels for those clubs here and I Europe who can field C-4 dancers; Howard, on stage at The Met; and then there is Nick.

Many of you who started dancing under Nick’s tutelage may not yet appreciate how incredibly gifted he is – not only as a teacher, but as a choreographer and performer. We have every right to be proud of our pride of Kings and Queens.