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Life on the Ocean Wave (clip) - Benjamin Lovett

Benjamin Lovett, the noted dancing master who was hired by Henry Ford to promote social dancing, leads Life on the Ocean Wave, also known as the Head Two Ladies Cross Over. The musicians are the Henry Ford's Old-Time Dance Orchestra. Lovett wrote Henry Ford's "Good Morning" square dance books, and this dance appeared in the 1941 edition of that…

Allemande Alphabet

This look at the "allemande alphabet" is by Dick Pasvolsky, writing in The American Dance Circle, quarterly publication of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. A concise listing of the figures can be found here; Pasvolsky adds more commentary and explanations of how the figures might be used.

Chuck Jones - square dance adventures

Famed animator Chuck Jones (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, and many more) was an ardent square dance enthusiast, part of the southern California boom in squares in the early 1950s. This is an excerpt from a letter to his daughter, Linda. It describes a square dance demonstration that did not run smoothly. Another Chuck…

American Squares Summer School, 3 (photos)

A series of photographs taken at an American Squares summer camp session, plus one postcard

American Squares Summer School, 2

More material from the American Squares summer camps:
• A report on the 1950 camps
• A roster of participants from the 1950 Minnesota camp
• Diploma awarded to a camper

American Squares Summer School, 1

American Squares magazine sponsored a series of summer dance camps for eager square dancers. Faculty included Jimmy Clossin, Ralph Piper, Charley Thomas, Fred and Mary Collette, and Luke Lukaszewski.Items in this collection include:• Brochures advertising camps for 1950 and 1953• An ad for the camps, from the magazine (1952)See additional…

Jimmy Clossin - record album

Cover and label of instrumental album produced by Jimmy Clossin

Jimmy Clossin, producer - square dance instrumental music

Although he never recorded albums featuring his calling, Jimmy Clossin did produce recordings of instrumental music. These clips come from Square Dances without Calls (1940), with music by the Blue Bonnet Playboys. The first clip is Ragtime Annie; the second one is billed as Two Step and Waltz Circle Mixer, a combination of Down Yonder alternating…

Jimmy Clossin - photos

A collection of photos showing Jimmy Clossin at Camp Ihduhapi, Loretto, Minnesota, August 27 - September 4, 1950. Other instructors at the camp, which was sponsored by American Squares magazine, were Charley Thomas, Ralph Piper, and Fred and Mary Collette.

Jimmy Clossin - card, biography, flyer, letter, news story

Jimmy Clossin was an influential Texas caller who unfortunately never recorded commercially. (This Square Dance History Site would dearly love to post clips from live recordings—please contact us if you know of any.) Shown here are several items: • his business card • a letter in which he outlines his terms to call for a club…

Berea Country Dancers - Set Running (1917)

In this re-creation of dances from 1917, the Berea College Country Dancers, under the direction of Ethel Capps, show several figures described by Cecil Sharp in his Country Dance Book V. Sharp first saw dancing at Pine Mountain Settlement School, Kentucky, in 1917. The footage ends with a few words from Marguerite Butler Bidstrup who was present at…

Bill Bailey - Debbie Gray

This is the first in a series of videos posted from a 1989 program of singing squares presented by caller Debbie Gray and the Deb-U-Tones (vocals by Alice La Pierre and Julia Huestis). Musicians are Jack O'Connor, banjo; Mary Lea, fiddle; and Peter Barnes, piano. The venue is the First Congregational Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Larry Jennings…

Rural Square Dances in East Tennessee: A Personal Account of Visits to Four Communities

This article appeared (1981) in the scholarly journal published by Country Dance and Song Society. The author describes four East Tennessee square dance communities, including discussion of typical program; he also includes verbatim transcripts of some of the calls. See also a similar account (1974) by Bob Dalsemer of dances in Maryland Line,…

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Midwestern Fiddle Masters:
Michigan's Les Raber and Indiana's Francis Geels

Biographies of two fiddlers, each of whom played extensively for square dances in Michigan and Indiana.

Michigan Fiddle Style

Folklorist Eliot Singer presented a paper—"How to Start Figuring Out What "Michigan Fiddle Style" Is"—at a Michigan Historical Society meeting in 1988. In it, he references Michigan fiddler Les Raber's comments that Michigan fiddle music is dance music. This website presents his original remarks and a 2012 introduction with further thoughts.

Otto Wood - singing squares

Caller Otto Wood's calls and notes for singing squares. You can hear Belle of the Ball called by Ira Huntley here; it's the second dance in the set of three on this link.This collection was created by storyteller and dance caller Donald Davis, and are included here with his permission. Davis writes, "What you have are copies of the notes and music…

Square and Contra Dance Posters

A collection of 43 flyers and posters collected by Steve Green that advertise contra and square dance events in northwestern Massachusetts, southwest New Hampshire, and southeast Vermont dating from the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Three singing squares - Vermont, 1956

Three singing squares from an October 6, 1956 recording of the Dick Perry Orchestra and caller Ira Huntley playing a square dance in Newfane, Vermont. Original tape donated to the Vermont Folklife Center by John Stone. This audio is very clear, professionally digitized by the VFC staff. 1) Marching through Georgia: Note that the caller finishes the…

Paul Phillips - photographs

The first photo is a portrait. The second photo shows Paul Phillips at the microphone. In the third photo, it looks as though he is one of the dancers; note the similarity of the shiny dark shirt. The final picture shows him painting.

Paul Phillips - record album

This is the record album and label for "If You Knew Susie" by Paul Phillips.