Square Dance History Project
The rich story of North American square dance finally has a home in the digital age.

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 is no current source that offers a detailed discussion of the development of this form of American social dance. We hope this site helps to fill that need.

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Les Gotcher choreography, 1958

The transcription is shown here; you can hear audio clip under Additional Files. If you open that audio in a separate tab, you can listen while you follow along the text.Jim Mayo: "Les Gotcher was… View item
Website

Alabama Square Dance, 1937

This is a collection of 45 black and white photographs taken at a square dance in Alabama. Photos show dancers, musicians, spectators. View item
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Royal Lancers Quadrille

A "Royal Lancers," according to the notes of the historical pageant presented at the eighth National Square Dance Convention (Denver, 1959), is "any square dance that is doubled -… View item
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Square Dancing in the Park

Short article describing the start of Ed Durlacher's program of teaching square dancing in Riverside Park in New York City. The Related Item is Durlacher's look back at that program from… View item
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Let's Square Dance – Claude Chadwick

This 24 page booklet was produced by Claude S. Chadwick, a Texas native and a professor of biology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He begins with an overview of the activity: "All we need for… View item
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Gym Classes in Square Dancing

This article describes the author's experiences teaching square dancing at Vanderbilt University. In addition to describing how the program developed, Prof. Chadwick concludes on an uplifting… View item
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Duluth Stomp (original choreo)

Original description of Duluth Stomp View item
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Duluth Stomp

Square dance figure originally created by Lloyd Yesberger (Duluth, MN) and published in Sets in Order, March, 1953. Caller Jim Saxe took the dance and modified it, keeping the key figure, the series… View item
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D. B. Hendrix correspondence

A Selection from the Papers of David B. Hendrix, Smoky Mountain Square Dance Callerby Bob DalsemerIn 1999 the John C. Campbell Folk School received a donation of several boxes of papers from the… View item
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Classic Squares of 1960 - CALLERLAB demonstration

This is the handout of a workshop held at CALLERLAB's 2001 convention. The goal was to illustrate square dancing in 1960, a time when modern square dancing was branching off in new directions. This… View item
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Aggie Haylofters - Colorado

Author Cal Campbell shares his memories of dancing with the Aggie Haylofters, a square dance group at Colorado State University. (CSU was Colorado A&M until it changed its name in the 1950s;… View item
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Chinese Fan - Lisa Greenleaf

This clip only shows the actual Chinese Fan part of the dance. Omitted are the opening figures, breaks, and the ending. The dance is usually done with dancers linking elbows; here, the caller simply… View item