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The Beginnings of Modern Square Dancing - Jim Mayo

Article by Jim Mayo looking at the transition from traditional to modern square dancing, a short version of the ideas presented at length in his book.

Jim Mayo - "Little Black Book"

This is caller Jim Mayo's book of dances, dating from the 1950s and into the 1960s. It's a good example of a serious caller's repertoire during this period.For comparison with another well-known New England caller, see Al Brundage's Little Black Book, stored on the website of the Square Dance Foundation of New England.

Show Me the Way To Go Home - Jim Mayo, Joe Casey, Johnny Wedge

The callers are Jim Mayo, Joe Casey, and Johnny Wedge; videotaped October 27, 2010, at East Hill Farm, Troy, NH

Brasstown Callers

The six callers at Dare To Be Square, Brasstown, NC, 2011. They are also consultants to this Square Dance History Project. From left to right: Phil Jamison, Bill Litchman, Larry Edelman, Tony Parkes, Bob Dalsemer, and Jim Mayo

DTBS Callers & musicians

The callers are joined by the musicians from the Dare To Be Square Weekend. Front row: Jim Morrison, guitar and fiddle; Sam Bartlett, banjo; Claudio Buchwald, piano and fiddle; Steve Hickman, fiddle

Jim Mayo 1 - Early Years of Modern Square Dance

Jim discusses his own introduction to modern squares with caller Al Brundage in 1949. He talks about the early development of modern, showing how this new activity began to separate from its traditional roots.

Jim Mayo 2 - Square Thru and Changing Choreography

The call "square through" provided callers with a new tool for moving dancers around on the dance floor. Jim describes how callers experimented with the figure and how he introduced it in many different setups in his classes.

Jim Mayo 3 - Start of CALLERLAB

The 1970s saw a dramatic increase in the number of calls, which led to repeated cries from dancers for someone to bring order out of chaos. This led to the formation of CALLERLAB.

Jim Mayo 4 - New choreography

New calls such as Wheel and Deal and Swing Thru gave modern square dance callers powerful tools for creating new choreography and patterns of movement. Callers discovered that the sequence "Wheel and Deal, Double Pass Thru, Centers In, and Cast Off 3/4," repeated three times, would get all dancers back where they had started—a triple zero, which…

Jim Mayo 5 - Basic Formations, Complex Calls

Jim points out that there are only a few basic formations in modern square dancing. One of the distinctive features of modern squares is the way that a series of basic moves are combined into one call. Swing Thru was an early example of this; Ed Gilmore objected to that term, saying that he could call the moves using more basic terminology. Later…

Jim Mayo 6 - Key Elements of Modern Square Dance

Jim discusses features that make modern square dancing different from traditional squares, including the unpredictable nature of the calls, the necessity for lessons, and the club structure that provides an important social element.

Another Square Dance Caller - Jim Mayo

Jim Mayo calling a dance created by Marshall Flippo and released on Chaparral 710. Recorded Memorial Day weekend, 1993, by Tim Stanger at the Papoose Pond square dance weekend, N. Waterford, Maine.