Calling Workshop

Lost Squares Procedure

Approved by CALLERLAB November 19, 2004


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In 1986 CALLERLAB introduced a procedure for 'LOST SQUARES'. It was approved with some small changes in 1987 and has now been revised. CALLERLAB recommends that dancers use the following Patter and Singing Call Procedures to help lost squares quickly resume dancing. Callers should teach these procedures to their dancers and be alert for sets waiting to re-enter the action and for sets struggling with singing calls.

PATTER PROCEDURE - Make Normal Lines, Wait for Entry, and Sort during Promenade

The following procedure is intended for use during Patter or Hoedown calling when longer sequences are likely and at least half the square is confused. If only one or two dancers are lost then they should look for a helpful hand and attempt to fill the vacant spots within the still functioning square.


  1. If dancers in a confused but partially functioning square hear "Make Normal Lines", then lost dancers should quickly adjust to Normal Couples (Boy left, Girl right) ready to join the forming Normal (Boy-Girl-Boy-Girl) Facing Lines.
  2. In the case of total breakdown each dancer should return to home position as soon as possible. Then the head ladies join hands with their corner and the head couples back out to form normal lines at the sides of the square.
  3. On the caller's command, "Normal Lines, Go Forward and Back", all lost squares enter into the dance pattern. If a resolution is heard first, then dancers in lost squares should simply readjust to a squared set.
  4. Dancers in a lost square must remember that re-entering from normal lines does not guarantee a correct resolution. Full recovery will probably require rapid sorting to home during the Promenade (move counter-clockwise but step out at your home).


  1. Recognize that a number of sets have broken down and have formed lines.
  2. Place the dancing squares into facing lines that are in a normal BGBG arrangement (#0L).
  3. Give the command "NORMAL LINES, Go Forward and Back" in a bold voice, which is the command for the lost squares to enter into the dance pattern.
  4. Allow enough time during the Promenade for squares that were lost to complete their Promenade and sort as necessary to get home. If an "at home" resolution is used, make sure all the sets are squared up.   BACK

SINGING CALL PROCEDURE - Swing, and Men Sort during Promenade

The following procedure is intended for use during a Singing Call where the sequences are short and closely timed to the music. The minimum needed to avoid more confusion and resume dancing at the next sequence is each man at home with some lady for a partner.


Since partners probably should be changing, dancers in a lost square should be ready for a quick Swing with their corner or nearest opposite sex and then expect to make adjustments during the Promenade so that the men end at home. If still lost during the Promenade, men should quickly head for home while ladies should join the closest un-partnered man.


In the case of significant breakdown on the floor, adjust the choreography or provide more clues and cues to improve the success rate on the next figure.   BACK