Sandie Bryant

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 your definitions!"

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."

Source: December 2015 Trailblazer newsletter

Page updated: 2015-12-04