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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.

10,000 Square Dancers Can't Be Wrong

1954 newspaper article and photographs about popularity of modern square dancing in St. Louis

Northern Junket  and Ralph Page

In a labor of love, Ralph Page single-handedly published 165 issues of this journal from 1949 through 1984. The University of New Hampshire's Library of Traditional Music and Dance has digitized and made available a complete set of these magazines, along with biographical information about Page. The library is also the repository for an extensive…

Square Dance ~ Where?

A comprehensive, large (72 pp.) booklet describing square dance activities in northern California in the mid-1970s, attesting to the popularity of the activity at that time and place.