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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…

Contemporary Accounts of Dance From the American West in the Nineteenth Century

Doctoral dissertation based on primary sources; includes a look at dances on the pioneer trails, in logging camps in mining camps, rural social life and urban social life.

From the author's introduction:

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This study originated with an attempt to establish evidence for a theory of how dance was an integral part of the growing society of…

Old-Time Revival: Traditional Appalachian Square Dancing Slowly Refinds its Footing in Knoxville

Reprinted by permission of Metro Pulse and Holly Haworth, © 2013 This well-written and lengthy article (available as a PDF through the link above or on its original website posting) captures the feeling of many of the new dance series spring up that feature southern Appalachian tunes and dances.

Lisa Greenleaf 6 - the future of squares

Last in a series of six Lisa talks about ways to keep modern square dancing alive in the future. She cites the Pacific Northwest Teen Competition as one promising model to involve young people, and suggests that a "Dirty Dancing" kind of movie focused on square dance competition would provide a boost. She also is excited by the new dance series…

Lisa Greenleaf 5 - squares in the contra culture

Fifth in a series of six

Lisa is a well-known caller of contras and squares, usually working at events that are advertised for contra dancers. She discusses some of the challenges of incorporating squares into a program of contras.

Lisa Greenleaf 4 - finding material

Fourth in a series of six In this segment, Lisa offers some advice for individuals interested in learning to call squares. She also discusses where to find new material, and describes the difficulties she encountered when trying to incorporate into her repertoire some dances from Sets in Order in the 1950s and '60s.

Lisa Greenleaf 3 - modern and traditional squares

Third in a series of six

Lisa is one of a relatively small number of individuals who dance both modern and traditional squares. Here she describes what she likes about each form.

Lisa Greenleaf 2 - discovering squares

Second in a series of six

Lisa described how she moved into squares, discovering exciting squares at Pinewoods Camp from the calling of Larry Edelman and Kathy Anderson. Later, also at Pinewoods, she got a taste of modern Western squares from Bob Dalsemer and went on to take MWSD lessons at Bay Path Barn in Boylston, MA. From there, she…

Lisa Greenleaf 1 - working with a contra mentor

First in a series of six.

Lisa Greenleaf, a well-known caller of traditional squares and modern squares from the 1950s and 1960s, describes how she got started as a contra caller. She describes working with Larry Jennings, a Boston-area dance organizer and choreographer, who became her mentor.

Square Dance Video collections

There are thousands of videos on sites such as YouTube that show modern square dancing. Several individuals have done their own collecting, presenting many videos on one location. Andy Abeles is based in southern California. His own videos frequently start with an interview with the club president and the callr for the event, as well as showing…

Dave Taylor - Patter, 1965

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