Dayle Hodge

Dayle Hodge

Dayle Hodge

The benign beginning

Or maybe I was born a middle-class white child in North Eastern, PA, way back in the early 60's. I had a normalish childhood with some really great stories. (Ask me how I learned to ride a bike.) Family was and is very important and we had huge family gatherings at least once per month.

The awkward early early years

High school brought a move to the Amish country of PA, with a short stint on an actual Amish farm. I started my performing career as a tour guide on buses through the Lancaster countryside. For some reason the grandmothers all loved me, but none of the HS girls ever gave me a second look. (Ah well)

The uncool middle early years

Next up - college. I attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania (yes, really in PA). Spring break, 1981 I attended a square dance with my parents (students at the time). They said "Doesn't this look like fun?" I said "Sure, but I like that guy, the caller. He gets to tell everyone where to go!!" But first I had to learn to dance. Now, one thing you should know about me is: I'm impatient. So, they gave me the Callerlab MS book and said "OK, we're going to another student level dance tomorrow. You study this and you can dance." I studied overnight, then went and made EVERY mistake possible, including apologizing after each call. Now impatience is just one of my good traits. I'm also obstinate. I went back home and studied more, but now with a frame of reference. Three more dances that week and I was totally hooked. OK, Now on to calling ...

The educational late early years

While at college, I was befriended by a caller named Norm Shaffor. The next 3 years, for 4-6 nights/week, we would ride together into Pittsburgh. We'd talk calling the whole way there. At the dance, he'd let me call a tip. Then he'd critique me the whole way home. Honest immediate and direct criticism was very motivating.

The independent early middle years

Late 1984, I moved to the Washington DC area and decided to give up square dancing. Before quitting, I went to one more dance. There, I met a group of singles my age. Instead of quitting, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the cult. Within a year I was the club caller for 2 clubs. I worked my way up to calling C3B by 1986 (did I mention impatience?) Soon after, a DC Lambda Squares member heard me call, and asked if I'd like to audition to be the DCLS club caller. I'm proud to still be with DCLS, more than 24 years later.

The familial middle middle years

I called my first fly-in for Baltimore’s Chesapeake squares. This included an hour of die-hard hot hash lying on my back with my eyes closed (we were all young and stupid once). My first IAGSDC convention was in NYC in 1989. 1990 brought “married with children.” I continued to call, but my focus was more at home.

The static late middle years

A blur of coaching soccer games, piloting airplanes and calling dances and fly-ins.

The progressing early late years

In the early 2000’s I became the club caller for Baltimore’s Chesapeake Squares and continued calling for DCLS as well. I also began teaching Boot Camp weekends (A complete program/level in a weekend). These were done at MS, Plus, A and C1. In addition, I was fortunate enough to begin mentoring callling students. All have gone on to call dances and a few are now entering the fly-in circuit. I’m so proud!!

The static middle late years

Square dance wise, things continued to move steadily forward I was on staff for the Cleveland and DC conventions … and on the homefront my daughter Erin graduated from High School. (Yes, that’s a big deal!!)

The present-day late late years

Now divorced, I am very happily dating the gorgeous young Chi-Town member, Kathy Zottmann. And I'm proud to be a Chi-Town member. My youngest daughter, Callie, will graduate high school in 2011. I’m currently calling 15-20 weekends per year, including staff for Shakedown 2010 and Gone with the Windmill 2011.