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A Look at Square Dancing in Colorado

"Square dancing evolved a western version probably sometime in the late 1800s when the pioneers moved to settle the states west of the Mississippi. It was a square dance form that was much different from the Eastern Quadrilles and different still from the Kentucky Running Set which was probably the other source. It was more exuberant and much less…

American Country Dancing on Colorado's West Slope

The article is based on oral history collected in 1979, though no footnotes or direct quotations are included. Instead, it is a generalized summary of the author's findings.

"Depending on the orchestra, both "country" (squares, polkas, schottische, etc.) and "city" (ballroom) dancing were popular around the turn of the century. Among the local,…

At the Keith Ranch (1893)

This short story, published in 1893, focuses on events at a square dance at a Colorado ranch. Although the plot itself is melodramatic, the author includes helpful bits of information about the dancing, including various snippets of calls ( The Girl I Left Behind Me). Mention is made of the "caller-out," a job that rotated among different men. The…

Bill Litchman 1 - Traditional Western Squares

Caller Bill Litchman discusses characteristic features of traditional western square dances, incorporating his memory of Colorado dances that he encountered starting in the 1950s.For a more detailed look at this topic, see Litchman's article on Rocky Mountain Square Dancing.

Captain Jinks / Divide the Ring - Leonard Hurst

Two clips from Colorado caller Leonard Hurst, who came to Australia in 1951 to do a series of radio broadcasts. He played an important role in spreading square dance to that area. More information about him is on p. 8 of the extensive series of articles here.The first dance, Captain Jinks, is a singing square; the second is patter.

Central City dancers, 1967 & 1968

The first picture is a 1968 publicity photo taken of the square dancers, used by the Central City Opera Association to send to local newspapers:back row: Sharon _?_, Gary Schaub, Larry Wylie, caller, Les Brown, and Evelyn _?__front row: Nancy (Gibbs) White, Bob Loefler, Dennis Michael, and Jerry TuffieldIn 1967 the four couples who danced in…

Central City, Colorado - 1955

The caller featured here is Ray Smith; we have not yet identified the fiddler and piano player. By 1960, Al "Tex" Brownlee was the caller and he used recorded music.Dancers:Couple 1: Dave Chandler and Edie Vecqueray (Edie was a Cheyenne Mtn. Dancer with Pappy)Couple 2: John Bradford and Dolly MayerCouple 3: Max Smith and Diane Smith (not…

Colorado dancing - Cal Campbell

Dance caller Cal Campbell started dancing at age 6 in 1943; he has written a series of reminiscences of his experiences growing up in a small Colorado town and the vital role that dancing played in the social life of that community."Dancing in Uruvan and Rifle" begins with his parents meeting at a dance in 1934; "The Girl in the Gingham Dress" is a…

Ed Austin's Life in Dance

This autobiography by Ed Austin focuses on his lifetime involvement with traditional dance, including a detailed description of the dances he filmed in Central City, Colorado. Click here to watch his film.

Frontier Dances - Bob Cook

A native of Colorado, Bob Cook's dancing experiences go back to the time when he was a seventh grader at the Cheyenne Mountain School. He was a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers from 1939 to 1941. In this series of articles published Square Dancing magazine from May 1971 thrugh September 1972, Cook looks at a series of chapters that created…

Lighted Lantern Folk Dance Camp

The Lighted Lantern was also known as the Rocky Mountain Square Dance Camp. It was operated by Paul and Pauline Kermiet from 1948to 1967. This website pays homage to the camp and includes a roster of the camp staff for each year.A collection of photographs from the camp's history is also available online.

Lloyd Shaw Fellowship - John Bradford

John Bradford was 13 years old in 1947 when his mother, Mary Jo Bradford, took their family to attend Lloyd Shaw's summer class in square dancing. (He and his sister were the only two teenagers allowed in the class, other than members of Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers.)

The author explains, "This was presented as a morning talk at the 1997…

Lloyd Shaw Foundation Summer Workshop, 1971

Brochure describing a 1971 summer workshop presented by the Lloyd Shaw Foundation in Colorado.

Oldest Square Dance Club?

Pictured above, taken when the Kilowatt Eights danced at the PSC Garage from 1939-1942, (L to R): Andy Anderson-Violin & Bass, Stew Clark-Banjo, Russ Levine-Piano, Jim Cook-Violin, Tom Parfet-Drums, George Boles-Violin, Joe Lang-Caller.American Square Dance magazine conducted a search for the oldest square dance club. This is the article…

Pappy's Do-Si-Do – Rocky Mountain Dancers

This video shows the group dancing to a recording of Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw calling. The calls are designed to showcase a series of different figures.Performed by the Colorado Rocky Mountain Dancers. The group started up in 1999 to represent Lloyd Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers in a historical pageant to be presented at the 50th National Square Dance…

Popcorn Quadrille

Variations on Grand Square figure, danced to early electronic music, a record named "Popcorn." Chicago caller Andy Anderson created the dance to go with it. From a demonstration of historical dances, recorded at the 2007 CALLERLAB convention in Colorado Springs, CO; video editing by Cal Campbell, and used by permission

Rocky Mountain Dancers - Lloyd Shaw tribute

The Colorado Rocky Mountain Dancers formed in 1999 to represent Lloyd Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers in a historical pageant to be presented at the 50th National Square Dance Convention. The pageant was called off, but the dance group continued. From a demonstration of historical dances, recorded at the 2007 CALLERLAB convention in Colorado…

Royal Square

This demonstration number is for eight couples forming a double square, one inside the other. The choreography was created by Kira Heartsong for Calico and Boots.

The High Country Squares club hails from the Denver area. The caller here is Todd Albright. Much of the group's repertoire comes from Calico & Boots; many of the High Country Dancers,…

Square and Couple Dances with Directions and Calls - Lloyd Shaw

This is a supplement to Cowboy Dances and Good Morning that was used in a 1947 summer session 1947 at the University of Colorado. "Most of these dances have been taken from the mimeographed material supplied by Lloyd Shaw during his 1945 summer class at the Cheyenne Mountain School, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Some of the variations described are…

Square Dance - Steamboat Springs, 1951

This silent movie shows children dancing at the second annual Square Dance Festival held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The film was taken by Leonard Fisher, whose daughter was one of the dancers; the original footage comes from the collection of the Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs, and is used by permission of the museum and the…