Saundra McElroy Bryant
I'm the one with the low voice
Saundra Bryant was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. 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, world famous square dance caller Swersie Norris. Swersie 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 1978. 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.
By October, Swersie thought Sandie had lost her mind. Sandie had gone from non-dancer to C4 in one year! By the summer of 1980, Sandie called her first National Convention in Memphis and proceeded to establish herself as one of the premiere callers in the country.
Around 1988, a Times Squares dancer told her about a new year-old club called the Chi-Town Squares, who were looking for a caller. Club co-founder, Ron Goodman, called Saundra to inform her that Chi-Town Squares was a gay club. Sandie's response was basically, "And I'm a black caller!" Ron and Sandie had a little laugh, and it was never an issue from the start. As it turned out, Sandie wasn't available to teach that year on Tuesdays, but she recommended a man by the name of Lindle Jarvis, and the rest is history!
Sandie called a few dances for Chi-Town Squares at Carol's Speakeasy and then called many regular club dances at the Wellington Ave. Church. In 1989, she called at Chi-Town's first fly-in and has called at every one since. Her first IAGSDC convention was Remake The Circle in Seattle in 1993.
Sandie is internationally known, having called in Japan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and Mexico.
Sandie still lives on the South Side of Chicago with her husband, Albert, and their daughter, Alexandra.
Is it Sandie or Saundra?
Here's what Sandie wrote when asked which she prefers:
- I prefer Sandie but my email is SaUndra because I can't get people to pronounce my name correctly. I HATE SANDRA. It is NOT my name and it bugs me that people CAN'T READ!!!!! My name is a part of my profession. If people can't spell it correctly or pronounce it correctly it burns me up. I have even had people try to "correct" the spelling of Saundra by omitting the U. It is MY NAME! You would think I would know how to spell it.
- Just like Sandie is IE because it is the feminine spelling. There are lots of males named Sandy. Sander Vanocer was a famous announcer. Sandy Kofax was a baseball player. A lot of guys named Alexander are called Sandy. So since I am female, I spell it SANDIE.
- That is the story of my name and please excuse my ranting.
- Love ya,
Good Twin or Evil Twin?
For many years, Sandie and Anne Uebelacker have perpetrated a running joke, in which any complaints about their calling were answered by "Oh, that must have been my evil twin," (meaning the other one). This has extended to custom shirts, one reading "Good Twin", one reading "Evil Twin", or sometimes both shirts reading "Evil Twin".
- Based in Chicago, Illinois.
- Calls Mainstream through C4
- Sandie's mentor was Swersie Norris, who made a name for herself calling for Chicago's square dance clubs in the African-American community. 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!"
- On the IAGSDC Convention calling staff at:
- Remake The Circle
- Stars & Squares Forever
- Track II Chicago
- Stars, Thars & Cable Cars
- Wheel & Deal
- Weave The Rose
- Lights, Camera, Linear Action
- Remake The Heatwave
- Star Thru The Silicon Galaxy
- Wish Upon A Thar
- Touch A Quarter Century
- DC Diamond Circulate
- Chi-Town Shakedown
- Gone With The Windmill
- Dance Up A Storm
- Weave Your Heart in San Francisco
- Squeeze The Hive
- Swing Me in St. Louis
- Maple Leafs Regroup
- Palm Springs Swing & Mix 2017
- Circle Back to Seattle
- Belles Run Philadelphia 2019
- Follow Your Northern Neighbour
Sandie's profile on ceder.net
- Saundra Bryant, Square Dance Caller (Article from the Chicago Reader.)
At Track II Chicago, 1995
Sandie and Anne calling at Crossfire XX, 2009