Hello, my name is Jeffrey Garbutt from Western Australia. I am a square dance caller for “Jay Gees”. Jay Gees started in 2003 formed from the dancers from the previous clubs of “Circle-C” and “Ross’s Sou-Westers”. Of course the “Jay Gees” is based on my initials and represents the old saying that if one really believes in a service or product – they should put their own name on that service or product. We do things a little differently to other clubs in Western Australia.
We start dancing first, then collect the nightly fees. I reckon that dancers have come to dance, so why make them wait? The want to start immediately and they deserve a small sample of what the rest of the night will be like.
We do two number brackets instead of three. And we always have. I reckon that dancers are not really after a marathon, two numbers is enough, and we can always add extra brackets when needed.
We do make mistakes, but no matter who caused the mistake, it was always the caller’s fault for the mistake. Even if a dancer actually made the mistake, it was still ultimately caused by the caller. It was probably caused by a less than ideal delivery of the call, or bad training years ago or something like that – so it was the callers fault really.
We have a rowdy atmosphere. If dancers are having fun, why not let them express that fun.
We also do “square dancer contras” and the occasional line dance for diversity value.
We take new dancers all year around. Why wait for formal classes? We are doing “Square Dancing” not “Lessons in how to Square Dance”. It is not hard to fast track one or two extra people any time of the year. I have found this way works easier in a regional area than trying to recruit big numbers once a year.
We have a supper break at the end, to help dancers wind down. But we also encourage dancers to have a tea, coffee or drink of water during the night to keep refreshed.
Our raffle prize is simple, half the take of a night goes back as the raffle prize – this means that the raffle prize is bigger as more tickets are sold. The other half get’s saved for an end of year function for the dancers. So the dancers win in two possible ways. I believe it is OK for a caller run club to take the net proceeds of the door take, but not the net proceeds of the raffle take – the raffle take should go back to the dancers – either on the night or at a free function at the end of the year.
The last bracket is a request bracket – and the winners of the door and raffle prizes choose their request from a list of tunes stuck up on the back wall.
Technically it is a caller run club – but the dancers seem to make the decisions anyway. Example in 2014 the dancers organised for the club badge to be re-designed.