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Smoke On The Water, introduced by Ed Gilmore

During a morning workshop at the 1954 Minnesota State Convention Ed Gilmore introduces a "new" singing call written by his friend Pancho Baird.Tony Parkes comments:===It may have been new, but Ed had clearly studied it and made it his own; he changed some word metering, as he often did, to give the actual commands earlier and keep the dancers…

Uptown – Downtown (Golden Slippers) - Ed Durlacher

Classic square dance figure, Uptown Downtown, done as a singing square to Golden Slippers by caller Ed Durlacher; music provided by The Top Hands, directed by Frank Novak. One of the Related Items is a newsreel with Durlacher calling this very dance in Central Park, New York. More detailed information about this recording, part of a collection,…

Square Dances With Calls - Lee Bedford, Jr.

In 1949, Texas caller Lee Bedford released on Imperial Records a four-album set of recordings with music provided by The Big D Ranch Hands. The liner notes, written by Paul Erfer, start by noting, "The interpretation of the figures described follows the style of square dancing as dances in some parts of Texas."Each record had a patter call on the A…

Cowboy Loop (clip) - Lee Bedford, jr.

This dance was called by Mildred Blakey at the big 1950 Santa Monica dance.

The Girl I Left Behind Me (clip) - Lee Bedford, Jr.

In his brief look at the development of singing calls, Tony Parkes cites the publication of this dance in 1928 as "the earliest description of a singing square I've found so far (in fairly shallow digging)." This SDHP website includes an 1893 reference, plus other early mentions of the dance.

Lines About Squares - Western Square Dancing

In this article, part of his long-running column, the author looks at the typical programs of Western square dancing in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He discusses the different kinds of patter, mentioned the predominance of singing calls at this time, and looks in depth at Rickey Holden's "Star By the Right."

1954 National Square Dance program - Dallas

This is the program for the 3rd National Square Dance Convention, held April 8–10, 1954.

West Texas Square Dances - Index

This is the cover and index of the booklet published by Jimmy Clossin and Carl Hertzog, showing dances that were common to that region around 1950. The book offers a dictionary, "Around-the-Ring Dances," suqdrilles, and "Callers Chatter."

The title page announces that this is "A Revised and Enlarged Edition of "Honor Your Partner" The Original…

Rickey Holden Interviews

These are four interviews conducted with Rickey Holden— dance caller, organizer, author, editor and publisher. He was co-author of The Contra Dance Book (1956) andInstant Hash (1962) as well as numerous articles and two books about international folk dance. He danced with Ralph Page in the Boston area in the 1940s, hitchhiked around the US…

Class Notes - Jim Mayo, 1963

Unlike traditional square dance, modern SD is based on a series of classes that teach the basic figures. As the activity has increased its vocabulary of figures, the number of suggested classes has grown over the years, from six to 30 or more weeks. In addition to the instruction at classes, some teachers have given their students handouts with…

Kentucky Set Running - 1914 firsthand account

After graduation from Vassar and a summer holiday with family, Marguerite Butler, at age 22, headed for Pine Mountain Settlement School in a remote area of eastern Kentucky to try to make some satisfactory contribution to a 1914 world where few such opportunities were allowed for women. A few nights after her arrival at the school, folks gathered…

Maple Sugar - Don Messer and His Islanders

No calls, just a choreographed routine from Messer's popular television show; The dances on the Don Messer show were choreographed by Gunter Buchta; he created two new dances each week for the show.

Two related items show other choreography set to the same well-known tune.

On the Road to Boston - Don Messer

The dances on the Don Messer show were choreographed by Gunter Buchta; he created two new dances each week for the show.

Don Messer - souvenir booklet

The Don Messer Jubilee Show toured extensively, bring Down East music, song, and dance to audiences throughout the US and Canada. Messer was well known thanks to his weekly television show broadcast and three-times-a-week tadio broadcasts.

The short biography below came with his Messer's induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in…

Lancers, 5th figure - Wayside Inn, 1932

This home movie is one of eight reels filmed in the 1930s at the Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA. (More information about these films is available here.) The Inn at the time was owned by Henry Ford. Ford had encountered dancing master Benjamin Lovett at the Inn and hired him to come to Michigan to teach dancing there to his employees. This is the earliest…

Jubilee Promenaders 1

The dancers had received national acclaim as the Lake of the Ozarks Dancers in appearances on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour (see Related Item). Their fast tempo, fancy jig steps, and lively performances were a crowd pleaser, and they picked up, renamed as The Jubilee Promeanders, and became regular performers with caller L. D. Keller on the Ozark…

North Carolina Cloggers

Clogging in square dancing has a long history, going back at least as far as Sam Queen's Soco Gap Dancers. It is a form of dance that deserves its own detailed site, but we are including a few examples in the SDHP collection.

This clip includes footage from four television performances; in the first they are introduced as the "North Carolina…