Show Menu

Items from "Northern squares": 252

Shoo-Fly (clip) - Mac McKenrick

Singing square, called to the familiar children's song; not to be confused with the "Shoo-Fly Swing," a figure sometimes found at the end of big circle dances.

Silver and Gold - Ted Sannella

Ted Sannella wrote this dance in 1952, specifically to accompany the tune of the same name. In Balance and Swing, Ted writes, "This simple dance is a favorite of mine, one that I use with any group that is able to do a right and left through. Sometimes I use it as a teaching aid after explaing that figure to beginners. This works out well because…

Silver and Gold (clip) - David Park Williams

From the CD set "Mostly Quadrilles," containing two CDs of called dances, 24 in all, and two CDs of just instrumental tracks, arranged by David Park Williams. Musicians are Bill J. Sparrow, fiddle; Elizabeth Olsen, piano; Mark Williams, bass.

Silver Bell (clip) - Paul Hunt

music by the Rock Candy Mountaineers

Singing Calls - a short history

History of Singing Squaresby Tony ParkesThe earliest description of a singing square I've found so far (in fairly shallow digging) appears in the first edition (1925) of Good Morning, prepared by Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Lovett for Henry Ford. It is Plain Quadrille No. 13, Figure 4, page 65, "Girl I Left Behind Me." It is first described in the same…

Sioux City Sue - Adam Boyce

Traditional singing square dance, recorded in West Newbury, VT, on July 24, 2010. The caller and fiddler is Adam Boyce. This dance is held on the 4th Saturday of each month; Adam drives 55 miles each way to be there. He is continuing a series that was called by fiddler Harold “Chuck” Luce, Adam’s mentor in the Ed Larkin Dancers of…

Sioux City Sue (clip) - David Park Williams

From the CD set "Mostly Quadrilles," containing two CDs of called dances, 24 in all, and two CDs of just instrumental tracks, arranged by David Park Williams. Musicians are Bill J. Sparrow, fiddle; Elizabeth Olsen, piano; Mark Williams, bass.

Six Pass Thru - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes, caller. Recorded at Dare To Be Square, Brasstown, NC, November 19, 2011. Musicians for this session were Steve Hickman and Jim Morrison, fiddles; Claudio Buchwald, piano; and Sam Bartlett, banjo. The tune is "Woodchopper's Reel" (aka Pea Soup Reel).

Although this dance uses traditional basics and is called in phrased New England…

Six Pass Thru (clip) - Ted Sannella

This clip is part of a series of eight square dances called by Ted Sannella at the Chesapeake Spring Dance Weekend, sponsored by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. (Ted called another four or five squares during the weekend, plus contras and triplets.) Each clip includes Ted's walkthrough, plus the introduction and first time through the…

Smoke on the Water - Tod Whittemore

Tod Whittemore is the caller; music is provided by Bob McQuillen, piano; Randy Miller, fiddle, and Peter Siegel, mandolin. This was part of a dance workshop on singing squares, recorded on January 15, 2011, at the 24th annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend in Durham, NH.Named in honor of the great New England caller of contra and square dances,…

Square Dance (with Corky Calkins)

This 1955 film, produced by Roger Tilton, features Corky Calkins and his band. Calkins was a popular caller in the Springfield, MA, area. Among the dances shown here are Nellie Bly, The Route and the Virginia Reel.

Ralph Sweet comments: "When we first moved into this area [near Springfield, MA] Corky Calkins was going strong. He had regular…

Square Dance and Square Dance Music in Western New York State

Two articles by the pre-eminent scholar of this region's traditional music and dance traditions, and included on the site with the permission of the author. Kimball discusses the history of dances in this region, looks at the dances themselves and their social context, and describes the music commonly played.

An excerpt:
"...As early as the…

Square Dance Tonight - with Elisha Keeler

This 1949 film features caller Elisha Keeler of South Salem, NY. Keeler was featured in The New Yorker in a brief "Talk of the Town" piece in 1949 and then was given a lengthy profile (some 5,000 words) in The New Yorker (February 9, 1957). That portrait apparently inspired choreographer George Balanchine to create his ballet "Square Dance," and…

Square Dancing in Western New York

The New York Folklore Society produced a number of five-minute radio documentaries featuring the folklife (skills, traditions, stories, music, dance, folk art and material items) found in New York State. This one focuses on the square dance traditions of western New York and the efforts being made to keep those traditions vibrant.The Folklore…

Squareback Reel - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes calls this composition by Roger Whynot at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC.

The tune is "Red Apple Rag." Musicians are Steve Hickman and Jim Morrison, fiddles; Claudio Buchwald, piano; Sam Bartlett, banjo.

Roger Whynot wrote this figure in the early 1970s…

Squareback Reel walkthrough - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes leads the walkthrough for this dance by Roger Whynot at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC.

Recorded 19 November 2011 by John-Michael Seng-Wheeler and David Millstone

Standard Club Quadrille (clip) - Benjamin Lovett

Benjamin Lovett, a New England dancing master, was hired by Henry Ford and relocated from Massachusetts to Michigan. He recorded numerous albums with the Henry Ford Orchestra, as well as authoring Good Morning, Ford's country dance book.

Star the Ring (clip) - Ralph Page

Recorded by the Ralph Page Trio, to the tune of Girl I Left Behind Me (Disc 364)

Summer Sounds - Ralph Sweet

Recorded at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, Durham, NH, January 15, 2000. Musicians are Swallowtail: Ron Grosslein, fiddle; David Cantieni, saxophone; George Marshall, bodhran; Timm Triplett, piano; Tim Van Egmond, hammered dulcimer.

Susanna (instruction) - Ed Durlacher

This is the very first dance on the first disk of Ed Durlacher's Honor Your Partner series, an extensive collection of dance and rhythmic music albums that were widely-used in schools. Here, Durlacher introduces a circle dance to teach the concept of partners, do-si-do, swing and promenade. Other albums in the series build to more complex dances.…