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Square Dance Articles - Buddy Weaver resources page

Buddy Weaver has collected on his website a series of transcriptions and printed essays by numerous well-respected square dance callers. On this site, you'll find pieces by Doc Alumbaugh, Ed Gilmore, Les Gotcher, Lee Helsel, Ernie Kinney, Ralph Maxhimer, Jay & Helen Orem, and Bob Ruff.

Les Gotcher - patter, 1961

Enjoy the fast-paced opener of this one! This clip is also interesting because of the way Gotcher sets up two lines of three facing five.

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.

Square Dance camp brochures

A small collection of brochures illustrating various dance camps and square dance travel. Just as different callers developed their own magazines and newsletters, so did they find additional opportunities to connect with an ever-growing number of square dance enthusiasts in the 1950s and 1960s.

Forward Eight and Chain Around (clip) - Les Gotcher

The main figure of this dance involves ladies chaining across and along a line, mixed in with grand chains. Unlike the visiting couple pattern of I'll Swing Yours, for example, in which just one couple initiates the action, here Les Gotcher has both head couples and then both side couples moving at the same time. The opening and middle break is the…

Les Gotcher - record albums

Record album covers; click to listen to I'll Swing Yours from this recording or Forward Eight and Chain Across.

I'll Swing Yours, You Swing Mine (clip) - Les Gotcher

In his prime as a modern square dance caller, Les Gotcher was known as the Hash Master. (For an example of Gotcher in full hash mode, listen to this live recording from 1958.) Here, in an earlier recording, he shows his comfort with traditional square dance figures, calling a visiting couple figure. Traditional callers may note that his calls are…

Les Gotcher - caller talk, 1962

Talk given by Les Gotcher to Tri-State Callers Association (New England) in March of 1962. Les emphasizes the importance of callers understanding the action of each call and describes early forms of diagramming. He also talks about tempo, timing and ends (beginning at about 14:22, three quarters of the way through) with a discussion of the call…

Les Gotcher - callers' class

This recording comes from the collection of Stig Malmo. It has some gaps, which you may notice when the audio jumps from one thing to another, but as the contributor notes, this gives you a good glimpse into the mind of one inflential caller.Gotcher and Ed Gilmore represented two very different approaches to square dance calling, dancing, and…

Les Gotcher recordings

A selection of record labels and a record jacket, samples of Les Gotcher's prolific output

Hashing the Breaks (clip) - Les Gotche

Les Gotcher was the self-proclaimed king of hash. Here's an example of his calling. Square dance enthusiasts who followed him from dance to dance in New England in the 1950s noticed, though, that he called the same sequence of figures; this in no way detracted from the excitement for the dancers. The caller making up figures on the fly was an…