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Asilomar 1953 - Sets in Order Summer Institute

Note: Several of these files are large and will take longer to load.The first three files are part of the binder presented to participants at the 6th annual Sets in Order Institute held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA, in 1953. The staff included Bob Osgood, Joe Lewis, Ralph Maxhimer & Fenton "Jonesy" Jones. (The last file…

Ed Gilmore interview, 1961

This interview was recorded in 1961 between Christmas and New Year at the Mission In Hotel, Riverside CA between Ed Gilmore and the then president of the Square Dance Society of New South Wales (Australia), Jack Luby. Among other points, Gilmore states that sociability is vital in keeping people interested in square dancing. He argues that callers…

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Bill Peters & Jim Mayo - Australia, 1986

View full record for details.

Square Dance Articles - Buddy Weaver resources page

Buddy Weaver has collected on his website a series of transcriptions and printed essays by numerous well-respected square dance callers. On this site, you'll find pieces by Doc Alumbaugh, Ed Gilmore, Les Gotcher, Lee Helsel, Ernie Kinney, Ralph Maxhimer, Jay & Helen Orem, and Bob Ruff.

The Beginnings of Modern Square Dancing - Jim Mayo

Article by Jim Mayo looking at the transition from traditional to modern square dancing, a short version of the ideas presented at length in his book.

Chicken Plucker - Lee Helsel

This is an excerpt of a 1957 recording (Sets in Order #1102) by Lee Helsel that was the first recording of the Chicken Plucker routine created by Bill Shymkus. The dance figures appeared in the October 1957 issue of Sets in Order; the same issue contained ads for the new record release. This routine has been cited by caller and historian Jim Mayo…

Chicken Plucker - choreographic innovation

The Chicken Plucker routine created by Bill Shymkus appeared in the October 1957 issue of Sets in Order; the same issue contained ads for the new record release by Lee Helsel. This routine is considered by caller and historian Jim Mayo as "a very substantial change in the choreography of square dancing." His lengthy article, originally written in…

Bruce Johnson, patter - 1961

Live recording of Bruce Johnson calling to a jig.

Jim Mayo comments: "Bruce kept on using 6/8 time music long after most others had abandoned it. It also shows his nearly unique ability to fill every beat with at least one word and to keep them rhyming all the way through the tip while maintaining better timing than most before most callers had…

Bob Ruff - Teaching Can Be Fun!

This 10-page handout is designed for callers interested in leading beginners' classes. Ruff argues that many callers are more interested in the latest flashy gimmick than in learning the basics of how to teach, especially how to work with beginning dancers.

The handout includes teaching techniques, the use of key words, styling, a program of…

Pancho Baird - square dance medley

This is a rare home recording made by Pancho Baird, a medley of singing squares:

End of the World
Alabama Jubilee
Rose of San Antone
Down Yonder
You Call Everybody Darling

Let's Square Dance - instructional films, 1950s

In the mid-1950s, Janet R. MacLean, a professor in the Indiana University Department of Recreation, produced a series of six instructional films to introduce square dancing. The films, each approximately 10 minutes in length, show young dancers, probably students at the university, demonstrating different dance figures. Dancers wear large numbers…

Captain Jinks / Divide the Ring - Leonard Hurst

Two clips from Colorado caller Leonard Hurst, who came to Australia in 1951 to do a series of radio broadcasts. He played an important role in spreading square dance to that area. More information about him is on p. 8 of the extensive series of articles here.The first dance, Captain Jinks, is a singing square; the second is patter.

El Paso Star - Bill McGrath

Bill McGrath was one of the leading callers in Australia, a self-taught patter caller based in Melbourne.

Sally Goodin - Eddie Carol & his Corn Cobbers

Eddie Carol, called by some "the greatest authority on the American square dance In Australia," was a leading Australia caller who specialized in a singing patter style of calling after making a trip to the U.S. in 1943. Here he does a version of the traditional American dance figure.

Square Dance attendance & new calls

This slide contains two graphs, part of a presentation by Guy Steele on "The Mathematics of Square Dance Singing Calls," complete with dancers from MIT's Tech Squares group demonstrating figures. You can watch Part I of Steele's talk here.The first graph shows the rise and fall of attendance at the National Square Dance Convention, which peaked in…

Pam McKeever - Cheyenne Mountain Dancers demo

Pam McKeever is the caller; the dancers are demonstrating a routine like that used by Lloyd Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers in the late 1930s and 1940s. You'll note a series of dramatic aerial figures that helped make the Cheyenne dancers such a sensation as they toured the country. The musicians are Brendan Doyle, banjo; Chris Romaine, fiddle;…

10th National Square Dance Convention - Detroit, 1961

Two television stories about the 10th Annual National Square Dance Convention, Cobo Hall, Detroit, recorded June 30, 1961. The reporter in both programs is Shelby Newhouse.The first is a half-hour broadcast, probably aired on local television. The second is shorter, and was aired nationally as part of the Today show, where host Edwin Newman gives…

Goal Post variation - Rickey Holden

Caller Rickey Holden calls a sequence of easy figures at a workshop in Taastrup, Denmark, August 19, 2005. It's similar to a Goal Post" routine except that Rickey has the active dancers swing behind the inactives rather than go around them. The end of the dance incorporates a Birdie in the Cage routine.

Shredded Hash - Lloyd and Myrtis Litman

Several years after the 1962 publication of Instant Hash by Lloyd Litman and Rickey Holden, Shredded Hash was created by Litman and his wife, Myrtis. An unusual aid for callers seeking choreographic variety, the book's pages were divided in three sections so that each section could be turned independently. The top section gave a series of calls…