Show Menu

Browse Items: 1325

Nils Fredland - Birdie in the Cage and Seven Hands Round

Birdie in the Cage is a traditional square dance figure and a common one; a search for "birdie" on this SDHP website will bring up more than half a dozen other examples. In this version, each of the "birdies" fly out in turn to join another square before they return to their original square at the end of the dance. The figure at the start is also…

Carcassonne big set, #2

This is another example of traditional southern Appalachian big set square dance, recorded by John Ramsay in Carcassonne, Kentucky, September 19, 1991. With relatively few examples on our site of this style of dancing, we have included the dance in its entirety. This one includes at least one figure not shown in #1, lady fall through the old side…

Carcassonne big set, #1

This is an excellent example of traditional southern Appalachian big set square dance, recorded by John Ramsay in Carcassonne, Kentucky, September 19, 1991. ("Big set" is the name given by outsiders; locally it's just "square dance.") The tune is Liza Jane. The caller is Randall Caudill; he is the son of Clifton and Ruby Caudill; they hosted the…

Swing yore partner round 'n round (The Desert Magazine, 1944)

Author Oren Arnold describes square dancing in Arizona in the early 1940s:

"...A rock fireplace big enough to stand in was at one end of the room, and its blaze made dancing shadows everywhere. Indian blankets hung on the walls beside an austere picture of grandma in a golden frame. A rifle rested in deer antlers, and doors had been burned with…

Ed Durlacher - Central Park, photos

Photographs documenting Ed Durlacher's series of dances in Central Park, New York City. These date from August, 1946.

Scottish Country Dance - 4 couple squares

Most Scottish country dances are done as four-couple longways sets. There are, however, dances in square sets, and this Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary provides a brief overview of the formation.

Tags:

Golden State Round Up 1964

Grand march at the Golden State Round Up, Oakland, CA, 1964. Each row is 4 squares, and there are about 50 rows That's 200 squares, or 1600 dancers. The event featured live music, with an 11 piece band.

Dorothy Shaw - reminiscence

Two anecdotes abut Dorothy Stott Shaw, written by Dena Fresh, a student at the Cheyenne Mountain School and a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers.

Cheyenne Mountain Dancers - typical program

This is a typical program presented by the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, Lloyd Shaw's demonstration team of high school students.

Square dance callers - photos

A series of square dance magazine covers featuring these modern square dance callers:

Baldwin, Charlie
Brower, Jim
Brundage, Al
Burdick, Stan
Calhoun, Louis
Castner, Bill
Davis, Johnny
Gaudreau, Herbie
Gilmore, Ed
Haag, Jerry
Helt, Jerry
Johnson, Bruce
Jones, Jon
Lacky, Harry
Lane, Frank
LeClair, Johnny
Leger, Dick
Lewis,…

Square Dance festival programs

This collection of more than two dozen festival programs from the 1940s until early 1960s gives a good sense of what material was being called as well as names of featured callers.

In chronological order, the festival programs in this collection are:
Texas, 1948
Albuquerque, 1949
Minnesota, Winona, 1949
Minnesota, Winona,…

Square Dance - Ary, KY - 1963 (4 cpl square)

see previous item A search for "Grapevine Twist" in this project's digital collection will return references, audio clips, and video clips showing that figure, including Elizabeth Burchenal's silent footage from the 1930s.

Square dance - Ary, KY - 1963 (big set)

The caller is Corbett Grigsby, with music provided by fiddler Marion Sumner and guitarists Martin Young and Roscoe Holcomb. Grigsby introduces the figure as "around behind, lady in the lead."This footage was recorded by filmmaker George Pickow at the Home Place Community Center in Ary, Kentucky, a small town in south central Kentucky. (Ary is about…

Henry Ford’s Dance Revival and Fiddle Contests:
Myth and Reality

Square dance enthusiasts generally know something of the important role played by Henry Ford in encouraging an American square dance revival. This lengthy article by Paul M. Gifford examines this story in more detail and provides a more nuanced view than is commonly presented of Ford's actions and motivations.

Hoodoo Religion and American Dance Traditions: Rethinking the Ring Shout

Article by Katrina Hazzard-Donald looks at the relationship between African-American churches and traditional dance. As the article's summary puts it: "When one considers the history of American dance traditions one rarely thinks about its possible relationship to the local African American "Sanctified" or fundamentalist church described in works…

The Afro-American Transformation of European Set Dances and Dance Suites

Scholarly article that looks at the way that European set dances such as the quadrille became changed by African Americans. The article looks in detail at the quadrille tradition in the Caribbean islands as well as on the US mainland:"It is well acknowledged that the court dances which developed in Europe from the seventeenth century onward spread…

Haynes Family manuscript - Oregon

This manuscript of sixty-five dance tunes was handed down through several generations of the Haynes, Shuck, and Adams families who came West over the Oregon Trail from Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa and Missouri between 1847 and 1853. Many of the family members were musical, and over the years several people contributed tunes to the manuscript, from which…

Peter Beemer manuscript - Idaho

This is a collection of mid-19th century dance tunes from a remote Idaho location; as such, it is a useful record of the music being used for dances of the period. This website also contains background information on dancing in the mining community that is the source of the manuscript.

In 1862, gold was discovered on Warren Creek in the…

Washington Fiddlers Project Panel Discussion

This is an edited transcript of the panel discussion at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunesl, Port Townsend, Washington, July 2, 1986, as a part of the Washington Fiddlers Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and initially administered by Centrum Foundation. A version of this previously was published in The Washboard, the…

Lucky Strike cigarettes - commercial

Television commercial featuring animated cigarettes doing square dance figures, with caller's patter describing the cigarette's many virtues.