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Soco Gap Dancers at the White House

This is the program for the evening entertainment provided for the visiting King and Queen of England at the White House, Thursday, June 8, 1939. Among the performers (see page 5) were the Soco Gap Square-Dance Team, directed by Sam Queen and presented by Bascom Lamar Lunsford.

Eleanor Roosevelt was interested in traditional dance, witness her…

Arizona Double Star (clip) - Johnny Melton

Johnny Melton calls the Arizona Double Star, with the tune Nobody's Business played by Roy Sexton and others. The clip illustrates southwestern calling style, moving dancers along without necessarily being locked into the musical phrase. You'll hear the figure several times and then the middle break.The dance is published in Advanced Square Dance…

Traditional Square Dance Figures

One section of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation's website provides detailed instructions (and source information) for 20 figures from traditional Western and southern Appalachian squares: Arkansas Traveler Four in a Center Line Bachelor Mill Bouquet Waltz Chase That Rabbit, Chase That Squirrel Dive and Rescue the Lady Divide the Ring Docey Doe and…

Youth in Square Dancing

This is a thorough look at how to involve younger dancers in square dancing, prepared by Sets in Order and published in the 1960s.

The handbook opens with an essay by Ralph and Zora Piper on "The Child's Nature and Square Dancing." Among other topics discussed are:
• A Bit About the Teacher
• Finding a Good Place to Dance
• Tips on…

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Square Dances in Western Style

A handbook of basic dance figures, written by a Virginia dance caller in the early 1950s.

Square Dance Party handbooks

These handbooks, published by Bob Osgood and Sets in Order, describe how to plan a square dance party. They offer a look at modern square dance culture in the years from the early 1950s through the mid-1960s.• So You're Going To Give a Square Dance Party was prepared by Osgood in 1950 for Capitol Records.• The Record Square Dance Party…

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Basic Movements of Square Dancing

This early handbook from Sets in Order provides detailed instructions for 20 basic figures, "the foundation movements for most square dancing." As such, it offers an overview of what was considered essential in the early years of MWSD.Many figures contain subdivisions; for example, Figure 16 is Arch and Under: a. Inside Arch - Outside Underb.…

ABC's of Square Dancing

This informal guide to square dancing is aimed at beginners, an easy-to-ready pamphlet that a caller could distribute to dancers in a class. It strikes a friendly tone:

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So you wanta' square dance?

There are probably a million different reasons why you got started in on this square dancing thing. Maybe it was just the need of a good…

5 Steps to Better Dancing

The "5 Steps" of the title can be taken literally; this tiny handout, illustrated with stick figures, is all about how to move on the dance floor:

1. Keep both feet on the floor, don't walk. [Instead, use a shuffle step.]
2. Keep weight forward
3. Stand tall, move lightly
4. Take smaller steps
5. Listen to the music, dance to the music

Catalogs

This collection of seven catalogs from the 1950s and early 1960s illustrates the range of materials offered to participants in the early square dance boom years, from recordings to clothing to badges and caller PA equipment.

Joe Lewis - Callers Class

This is a fragment of a callers' class led by Joe Lewis; unfortunately, we do not know the location or the date. Lewis comments, "When a lot of people suddenly do the same thing wrong, the caller did it." He focuses a lot of this session on problems of timing the delivery of calls: "If you can't see the timing errors in a singing call and try to…

Jessy Polka Square

Here are the directions for Red Warrick's dance. See the related item for a video showing Warrick calling for his demo team.