About the Square Dance History Project
Square dancing has been an integral part of American social life for centuries. Traditional square dance was vital for generations of Americans, especially in rural communities; in the post-World War II era, modern square dance similarly enjoyed participants numbering in the millions.
Despite its popularity, the history of square dance has not been well documented. Scores of books explain specific figures and calls, but there are few current sources that offer a detailed discussion of the development of this form of American social dance. We hope this site helps to fill that need.
This 1972 documentary, half an hour in length, describes the work of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. It includes footage of Dorothy Shaw speaking to participants at a gathering of the Lloyd Shaw… View item
Biographical information about caller Pam McKeever, Albuquerque View item
Square dance caller and music producer Buddy Weaver has an original recording of the dances called at the famed "World's Largest Square Dance" in Santa Monica, CA, in 1950. He has… View item
These two articles were written by Erna Egender, a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers for that group's first trip east, in 1939. The title relates to a ful-page layout created by the Associated… View item
Ammouncement cards featuring square dance images, used for Texas Folk Dance Camp, 1949 View item
This scrapbook documents the early years of the Texas Folk Dance Camp, starting in 1949. Inspired by Jane Farwell's camp at Oglebay Institute in West Virginia, the camp brought together Texas… View item
This is an excerpt-- the dance part; a later song section is omitted-- from an article that includes the author's experiences at a cowboy dance in 1903. The author includes typical patter heard… View item
This website, created by the Square Dance History Project, honors the 34 nominees to the Sets in Order American Square Dance Society Hall of Fame. Dorothy Shaw was the first person named, in January… View item
Larry Edelman writes, "It’s a drill that I picked up from an issue of SIO, probably from 1959 or so. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t note which issue or year. If it had an author attributed to… View item
Larry Edelman comments: "I believe I first saw it called by Paul Tyler in 1983 and he attributed it to Bernie Chalk. Years later, when Bernie was staying with me on one of his annual trips to the US I… View item
The author describes the overall structure of a southern Appalachian big circle dance: an opening sequence, the second phase with two-couple figures, and the closing sequence that involves all the… View item
This article profiles caller Ray Shaw, brother of Lloyd Shaw. Ray started calling square dances in Los Angeles in 1939, and was featured as the guest on the first television show that Bob Osgood… View item
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