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Bill Litchman - Rocky Mountain Square Dancing

(To open the PDF document, click on the underlined link to the right.)This overview of square dance history focuses on two major groups of square dance. One group (northern, Eastern, Maritime, etc.) relies on quadrille-style figures, with couples interacting across the set; this style is prompted like a contra. The second form is found in the…

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.

SDFNE 1960's Era Recordings

Jim Mayo undertook a project to use the Square Dance Foundation of New England's audio archives and locate representative samples of square dance calling from the time period when Modern Western square dancing was taking off, but before the call Swing Thru was invented.

For each caller he has collected a representative patter tip and singing…

Do Paso What (clip) - Les Gotcher

sample of Les Gotcher's calling style, in this case building a dance from a break sequence

Black Mountain 128

Les Gotcher - Square Dancin'

Published in 1950, the book contains directions to 100 dances, as well as photographs illustrating basic moves for beginners. Among those are Do-Ci-Do, Docey, Do-Sa-Do, and Do-Paso. (see the Contents page, included in this file) The book also has a section called "New Changes and New Calls." This includes Alimande O, Wagon Wheel, Dishrag Whirl,…

Wheel and Deal (clip) - Les Gotcher

excerpt from a live recording in the early 1960s

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…

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…

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…

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 - 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.

Les Gotcher - two live calls, 1955

From a dance that Les Gotcher called, probably in 1955, we have an example of a very early Hash & Breaks style of calling that was to become his trademark in future years. In those later years Gotcher was known to use singing calls sparingly but that 1955 dance shows him singing "Home in San Antone." The audio clip here starts with some of the…

Patter - Les Gotcher

This is a short clip of patter calling from a dance called by Les Gotcher in 1959. The dance was held at the Newton Pavillion in Newton, NH

False Hearted Girl - Les Gotcher

This is a short clip from a dance called by Les Gotcher in the mid 1959 at the Newton Pavilion in Newton, New Hampshire. The record is probably Kalox #1004

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 - photo

Gotcher was a recipient of the Milestone award from CALLERLAB, with this biographical information.

Les Gotcher recordings

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

Les Gotcher - record albums

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

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.