Rick Gittelman, in the spring of 1974, even before he graduated from square dance class, even before he graduated high school, began calling and teaching Square Dancing in the Philadelphia, PA, area.
Rick’s Uncle and Aunt- Henry and Lydia Vender, who lived next door (now deceased) were avid Dancers and Round Dance Cuers.
The Vender’s inspired Rick to take up square dancing. Rick attended Club Sashay, Buck Fish was the instructor. While still in class Rick would practice calling singing calls in Henry’s basement, using Henry’s 45 rpm records. Rick and his uncle would spend hours working on choreography. Rick credits Henry and Lydia for his eventual success as a caller.
Rick’s parents Dave and Shirley (deceased) were also very supportive of his calling career. You would find them at many of his dances.
Some of the area Callers, all who are gone now, Bob Clark, Gordan Lentz and Chick Stone inspired and helped Rick become successful. Chick and Doris Stone were especially encouraging and influential. They remained friends throughout the years.
Rick co-founded the area’s first area, solo dancer adult Square Dance Club- Lone Rangers. He served as the club caller/teacher from 1976-85. His friends at that club, where he still occasionally calls, encouraged and supported him in the early days of his calling career and he is very grateful to them.
Rick became very busy calling and teaching in the Philadelphia area in the late 70’s and early 80’s, he even returned to Club Sashay to teach their class, while his old instructor Buck Fish was ill. He also still calls dances for Sashay on his annual tour.
While working full time in his father’s retail business, he began traveling out west to Arizona and Colorado in the mid 80’s and began to expand his career to part time traveling caller. 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, then later to Tucson and became a full-time traveling caller. He soon became busy calling and teaching all over Arizona and expanded his travels to California, Colorado and all over the U.S.A.
Rick travels and calls all over the United States. His annual spring tour (mid-April to early June) encompasses over 20,000 miles of driving, calling for several clubs. This annual tour includes Colorado, the Midwest- the East Coast and South.
In the summer Rick calls a full schedule in the Sacramento, CA area and also travels all over California and Nevada.
In February and October, he does a Texas Tour. Although he is mostly home October through March he frequently does many out of town dances especially on the weekends.
While at home in the fall and winter Rick keeps busy, nearly every day of the week, as he is the club caller and guest calls for several clubs in the Tucson, AZ area.
He also calls several daytime sessions, teaching, work-shopping- basic,SSD, Mainstream, Plus and C1. Rick is well known for his creative choreography, excellent teaching skills, variety of music, great sense of humor and singing voice.
AJO AMIGOS A VERY SPECIAL SQUARE DANCE CLUB
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 overnight 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.”
Publishes a square dance newsletters President of Central Arizona Callers Association 1992-1995. President of the Southern Arizona Callers & Cuers Association-SACCA 1995 to 2022. Former Chairman for the Tucson Square Dance Festival (sponsored by SACCA)
Active member of CALLERLAB, since 1981 serving on several committees.
Rick Mentors and coaches many other square dance callers. To see my full schedule click on website links. You can follow Rick and his square dance adventures on FACEBOOK.