Trad Callers

Trad Callers
Photo by Doug Plummer

Trad Callers is a discussion list with wide-ranging interests. We welcome callers from any interested in community dances, dancing for children, one-night stands, traditional squares, and other forms outside the contra dance and ECD realm. 

This list is great for anyone interested in calling at:

  • Dances in elementary and secondary schools or settings with young dancers
  • Barn dances, community dances, and family dances
  • Dance parties: Birthdays, weddings, father/daughter, any kind of dance for non-dancers
  • Square dances: new trad-style squares, singing squares, modern western from the ‘50s, Appalachian, etc. —>  Special Note: This list was started to focus on squares and there are lots of traditional and MWSD callers on the list!
  • Dances from other traditions (e.g., ceilidh dances)

We discuss a wide variety of topics including:

  • Dance Leadership: Advice, ‘cheap tricks’, encouragement and feedback
  • Dances: Concepts and choreography
  • Dances: Ideas for programs that will work specific kinds of dancers/non-dancers
  • Tools and Techniques: Dealing with challenging situations
  • Music: Working with musicians; working with recordings
  • Business Matters: Billing, contracts and dealing with the folks who hire you
  • Identification of Dances: Name and author questions
  • Anecdotes: Can you believe this happened?
  • Dance history
  • Friendly, Slightly Off-Topic Conversation

-Ridge Kennedy, list founder


From Ridge Kennedy (list founder): The list was started about 20 years ago, being  hosted on servers at Youngstown State University where the Modern Western Square Dance callers list was hosted. It was promoted to that group and has always had a fair number of members from the MWSD community. The list moved to YahooGroups some years later, to allow more administrative control. 

This list was created to connect callers from different backgrounds together.  Originally, we wanted to connect modern contra callers with old time square dance callers.  As the list grew and morphed, it became a kind of all-purpose resource for any kind of participatory dance.  In recent years, the focus has been on leadership skills and material for community dances; dance parties, ceilidh dances and similar dances where participants have little or no dance experience. The list members also have a wealth of experience with four-couple square dances, and other dances in “other” formations.

The list moderator (manager) is: Ridge Kennedy

The current list champions are: Claire Takemori, Sue Hulsether, Tony Parkes, Bob Dalsemer, Leslie Gotfrit, Amy Cann, Colin Hume, Karen Dunnam, Diane Silver, and Emily Addison.

List champions actively support the list by promoting its existence and encouraging conversation. If you would like to become a list champion, reach out to Chris and Seth.

You can subscribe to the trad callers list in one of two ways:

  1. Signing up for a Shared Weight account prior to subscribing.
  2. Subscribing without creating an account.

Creating an account takes a few more steps but they are quick and having an account has definite advantages:

  • You can manage your Shared Weight messages (e.g., sign up to receive the digest version – helpful if you want to limit the number of emails in your inbox).
  • The ECD list archives (a VERY helpful resource!) are only accessible through logging in with your account.

Follow these steps to subscribe with an account:

  1. Visit 
  2. Click ‘Sign Up’ in the top right corner. Then follow the instructions to create an account. Note –> your username can’t have a space.
  3. Check your email inbox and follow the instructions in the confirmation email. This will lead you to the login page.
  4. Once you are logged in, click on the list you want to join and then click  ‘Subscribe’. 
    Note -> You can use the same account to subscribe to more than one list!
    Add your email address. We highly recommend that you also add your name – the Shared Weight lists are a supportive community and it’s good for folks to know who you are! 
  5. Click subscribe.
  6. One you have a Shared Weight account and have subscribed to the list(s), you can manage your settings.  Check out our technical FAQ page.
Follow these steps to subscribe without an account:
  1. Go to
  2. Add your email address. We highly recommend that you also add your name – the Shared Weight lists are a supportive community and it’s good for folks to know who you are!
  3. Click Subscribe.
  4. Check your email inbox and follow the instructions in the confirmation email.

If you have questions about joining, email the moderator – Ridge Kennedy.

If you are a list member, you can access the private archive by visiting this link.

Because the list is private, you will need to enter your username (or email) and password.  If you don’t yet have an account on Shared Weight (new December 2019) OR you’ve forgotten your account information, visit the technical FAQ page.  It is easy to set up an account and then you access the archive anytime.

FAQs specific to the trad callers list are coming soon.

In the meantime, if you have technical questions about how the list works, please check out the technical FAQ page.  If you still haven’t found the answer to your question, email the list moderator –  Ridge Kennedy.