Rick Gittelman Profile 2012            


Rick began calling and teaching Square Dances in 1974 while still in high school. He began his career in the Philadelphia area inspired by his Uncle and Aunt- Henry and Lydia Vendor Vender (deceased) who were avid Dancers and Round Dance Cuers. Rick's parents Dave and Shirley (deceased) were also very supportive of his calling career.


Co-founder of the area's first solo Square Dance Club where he served as the club caller from 1976-85. His friends at that club- Lone Rangers, which is still in existence, helped and supported him is the early days of calling and he is still very grateful to them.


Rick became very busy calling and teaching in the Philadelphia area in the late 70's and early 80's and at the same time worked full time in a retail business with his father. He began traveling out west to Arizona and Colorado in the mid 80's and began to expand his career to part time traveling calling. He fell in love with Arizona and in the late 1980's began spending part of the year in the Phoenix area.


In 1990 he gave up his retail career, moved to Phoenix and began to pursue a full time career in Calling and Teaching Square Dancing. He soon became busy calling all over Arizona and expanded his travels to California, New Mexico and Colorado. He changed his home base to Tucson in 1995 as he became the club caller for Diamond Squares, Tucson Twirlers and started a Caller Run Advanced Club- Rick A Shays.


From 1991 through 2002 Rick traveled to the remote town of Ajo, AZ to call for the Ajo Amigos. Ajo was an old mining town but became an attractive heaven for winter visitors. Rick would travel to Ajo, 140 miles from Tucson to teach a class, call a club dance and stay over night and teach a Plus workshop every week from November through March. The Ajo Amigos really lived up to their name says Rick. “They were one of the friendliest group of dancers I ever had the experience of calling too. It was one of the highlights of my calling career.”


Rick is well known for his creative choreography, great sense of humor and singing voice.

He currently keeps busy nearly every day of the week as he is the club caller for: Tucson Twirlers, Swingin' Singles, Rick A Shays, C1nders, T-Squares and Green Valley Squares. In Fall-Winter season he teaches daytime classes and workshops in Green Valley and evening classes in Tucson. Since 2004, teaches Youth Square Dance 3rd through 8th Grade at Desert Springs Academy in Tucson. He also keeps busy guest calling over Arizona. He calls beginners through C1 and is strong supporter of calling and teaching non-standard applications.

Rick travels all over the United States. Does a major tour that covers over 10,000 miles of driving, calling for several clubs in Colorado, (New Mexico- sometimes)- Midwest- and the East Coast every April-May an early June. In the summer and fall he frequently calls in California.



In Phoenix Rick was the President of the Central Arizona Callers Association. He is the current President of Southern Arizona Callers Association and has been for over a decade. He is the Chairman of the Tucson Area Square Dance Festival held every January. Recently Rick has been a caller coach, most recently at the Tucson Callers College this past winter, 9 new callers attended. Rick has been a CALLERLAB member since 1981.


Rick's other passion is writing: fiction- lyrics- poetry and journalism. He returned to college in the fall of 2011 to pursue a degree in writing/liberal arts. He has written for several Square Dance publications and is the current editor of the Dancing Cactus in Tucson. Rick hopes to see you at one of his dances soon.