Sandie was born, raised and still lives on the South Side of
Chicago, Illinois, with her husband Albert and daughter
Alexandra Jeannae. She first started square dancing when she
was 8 years old as a Girl Scout with her best friend Alicia.
The leader of the troop happened to be Alicia's mother,
Swersie Dumetz Norris, who called for square dance clubs in
Chicago's African-American community. Swersie also taught
square dancing to youth groups and coached boy's basketball
and baseball. In fact, that's how Swersie found dance partners
for the girls; she would make the boys dance with them before
they could play ball!
After going to college, Sandie returned to square dancing in
September 1976. By this time, CALLERLAB had established dance
levels and calling lists. She went back to a Beginners class
Swersie was teaching, but didn't believe she'd remember any
of her past training. To everyone's surprise, she wound up
directing traffic in the square. So Swersie gave her the
entire Mainstream and Plus lists to study and told Sandie to
come to Swersie's next Plus level club dance.
By October 1977, Swersie thought Sandie had lost her mind.
Sandie had gone from non-dancer to C3 in one year!
In 1979 Swersie provided calling tutelage as well as a Plus
group for Sandie's first calling endeavors. Every so often, a
little piece of Swersie’s vocabulary will fall out of
Sandie's mouth, especially when she says, "You got to know
By the summer of 1980, Sandie called her first National
Convention in Memphis, Tennessee and proceeded to establish
herself as one of the premiere callers in the country.
To further her calling knowledge, in 1981 she attended her
first CALLERLAB convention in Kansas City, Missouri. There
she became familiar with finer points of Square Dance calling
and she also developed close friendships with many of her peers.
Her pursuit of calling did not diminish her desire to square
dance. She joined Bill Heimann's Challenge tape workshop
group and to this day still sets aside one night a week to
dance with that group allowing her to continually improve
her dancing ability by dancing to other callers as well as
occasionally dancing to herself which she considers one of
her greatest challenges.
Uniquely Sandie - SHE is the one with the low voice. One of
12 or 14 African-American Square Dance callers in the whole
world - this group has declined in number from a high of
around 30. Sandie's accomplishments are on-going. She is on
the calling staff for AACE (Academy for Advanced and Challenge
Enthusiasts) and various national and international festivals.
Sandie is a CALLERLAB and Gay Callers Association (GCA) member
and has called at numerous conventions, festivals and square
dance events in many U.S. states as well as Austria, Canada,
China, England, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and Sweden.
In 2012, the IAGSDC's Golden Boot was presented to Sandie.
The Golden Boot is presented each year to a person or group
that has made significant and sustained contributions to the
LGBTQ Square Dance community.
"The spirit of the Golden Boot Award belongs to everyone.
For it is all of us contributing together, sharing our energy,
our dedication and most of all our love that is truly the
spirit that is honored. When any one of us gives 100% of the
best of what and who we are, that is the finest example of the
essence of what the Golden Boot Award exemplifies."