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Items from "Northern squares": 243

Florilla Perkins Ames, Vermont

Florilla Perkins Ames was 102 years old when she recorded this interview. She lives in northern Vermont, and remembers her father calling dances. Before that, her mother's grandfather used to play fiddle for dances: "In fact, in this house where I am right now they used to dance squares upstairs, in the 1800s."

Comin' Round the Mountain - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013. Another video of this dance, with NH caller Lester Bradley, can be found here.

Buffalo Gals - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013.

Climbing Up the Golden Stairs - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013.Here done as a circle mixer, the dance is often done as a four-couple square. Some…

Engine #9 - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013.

As the lead couple starts to promenade around the square, the next two couples fall…

Four Poster / Soldier's Joy - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013. The tune is Soldier's Joy.

Heads go Forward, & Back with you – Forward again and…

Dip and Dive / Redwing - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013. The classic dip and dive figure here is set to the song Redwing. A search on this site…

Pistol Packin' Mama, with jitterbug - Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, caller, with the Falltown String Band: Jack Arensmeyer, acoustic guitar and mandolin; Jason Burbank, keyboard, fiddle; Jack Nelson, bass; Champ Dickinson, electric guitar, and Linwood Clark, drums. Recorded in Chesterfield, CT, November 16, 2013. During the swing, the dancers adopt a jitterbug style.Livingston writes, "Those…

Darling Nellie Gray - Happy Hale

Happy Hale was a caller from Bernardston, MA, and some have speculated that Ralph Page patterned his style as a singing caller on Hale's technique. Other Happy Hale recordings at the Library of Congress are a mix of contras and squares: Hull's Victory, Pop Goes the Weasel, Morning Star, Miss McLeod's Reel, Merry Widow, a Quadrille, Lady Walpole's…

Darling Nellie Gray - Ralph Page (clip)

This dance was Ralph Page's signature closing dance for an evening program. Compare it with Happy Hale, whom some think was Page's source for the dance. There are many examples of this classic singing square on our website.

Hilton Kelly, Catskill fiddler and caller

Hilton Kelly, of Fleischmanns, New York, is a Catskills fiddler and square dance caller. He started playing in 1932, at age 5, and started calling in 1937. By the time he was 15, he had a regular band and was playing regularly at house parties, schools, and public events throughout the region. In 1953, Kelly says he was doing 6 or 7 dances a week,…

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…

Circle to the Middle - Ted Sannella

Ted Sannella calls his "Circle to the Middle" square dance, recorded 1990 at American Dance Week, a program of the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) at Pinewoods Camp, Plymouth, MA. The last part of the dance has been cut off in this recording; the complete directions are given below.Ted Sannella was one of New England's best known and…

My Little Girl - singing square - Gene Ward

Singing square dance called by Gene Ward; recorded at the Original Dulcimer Players Non-Electrical Funfest, Evart, Michigan, July 18-22, 1990. Ward, a caller from Durand, Michigan (near Flint), was the headliner for the Michigan Dance Heritage Fall Dance Camp, September 1988, in Lexington, MI.

Musician and caller Glen Morningstar Jr. shared this…

Adirondack Square Dancing

The author describes her experiences traditional square dancing in the Adirondacks from 1918 to 1965, when she began modern squares. This story appeared in the final edition of Ralph Page's Northern Junket magazine.She describes how, as a 19-year-old school teacher (1933), she boarded with a family who had a dance at their house each Saturday…

Folk & Square in Manitoba and Ontario

Broad look at dance traditions in both provinces. As the article's title suggests, square dancing is discussed as are folk dances from different countries. The Ontario portion of the article talks at length of the contributions of John Madsen and Erma Weir.

Farmhouse Fiddlers: Music & Dance Traditional in the Rural Midwest

This is an excerpt from a detailed and loving look at what the author terms "house-party music." His focus is Wisconsin, and he based the book on interviews with nearly 100 musicians and dancers. Profusely illustrated with photographs and quotations from the interviews, all carefully cited in the appendices.An early section describes "the pioneer…

Fifty Miles from Times Square

This is an excerpt from John Cohen's 1972 film, used here by permission of the filmmaker.

caller: Herb Strickland
musicians: Bud Snow, Jay Ungar, Lyn Hardy, Abby Newton, Tom Allen

Fiddler Jay Ungar, seen in the dance footage, writes: "The dances were started by the Concerned Democrats in Putnam County, NY to raise money for the McGovern…

Bob Aylward - caller biography

This is an excerpt from an unpublished memoir by Robert Aylward, who called square dances in the Boston area, starting in the 1930s. It's a detailed portrait of the evolution of a caller.

Bob Aylward - related items

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