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The Route - Tony Parkes

The caller is Tony Parkes; musicians are Yankee Ingenuity (Jack O'Connor, mandolin; Mary Lea, fiddle; Cal Howard, bass; Peter Barnes, piano), joined by Steve Hickman, fiddle and harmonica. Filmed by Bob Dalsemer in 1992 at the Scout House, Concord, MA. The dance is sometimes spelled "Route," perhaps because that word is in some parts of the country…

Auctioneer (description and history)

The Auctioneer by David Millstone July, 2012 The Auctioneer is Ralph Sweet's signature number, and the dance has a storied history before him. The Auctioneer song was a 1956 hit, selling 2.5 million copies for for Leroy Van Dyke and catapaulting him to country music fame. (Here he is singing it on a 1962 television show.) Two years later,…

Dick Leger figure - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes calls a quadrille-style figure that he learned from the calling of Dick Leger. Leger did it as a singing call to the tune of "Wolverton Mountain," a country song made famous by Claude King in 1962.

The musicians are Yankee Ingenuity (Peter Barnes, piano; Mary Lea, fiddle; Cal Howard, bass; Jack O'Connor, mandolin), joined by Alasdair…

Forward Five - Tony Parkes

The dance is based on one used by Ralph Page. Tony's shortened version goes as follows:

A1 All go forward and back
Go forward again, gent #1 bring two ladies home

A2 At the heads, go right and left five
Do a right and left back and look alive

B1 On the corner, do an allemande left
Come back home and swing your…

Two Little Right Hand Stars - Tony Parkes

This dance appeared in Ralph Page's Northern Junket in Volume 1, #2, p. 17. This clip includes Tony's walkthrough of the dance.The dance is attributed to Ralph Page. Tony is using Rod Linnell's version of the call, which Rod adapted to fit the tune "Blue Mountain Rag" as a semi-singing call. As New England musicians do not generally know that tune,…

Lazy H - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes is calling Ed Gilmore's classic dance, the Lazy H. As the dance progresses, Tony adds variations so that instead of couples doing a right and left through around a standing line of four, he directs the ladies to chain over and back through an arch in the middle of the line of four. Tony also uses a break from around 1950, the Triple…

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

Lisa Greenleaf 2 - discovering squares

Second in a series of six

Lisa described how she moved into squares, discovering exciting squares at Pinewoods Camp from the calling of Larry Edelman and Kathy Anderson. Later, also at Pinewoods, she got a taste of modern Western squares from Bob Dalsemer and went on to take MWSD lessons at Bay Path Barn in Boylston, MA. From there, she…

Shindig in the Barn - Ralph Sweet

Recorded at the Greenfield, MA, Grange Hall on June 27, 2010. The event was sponsored by Country Dance and Song Society to celebrate the publication of "On the Beat with Ralph Sweet."

Ralph Sweet, caller; Ralph created the singing square, basing it on the "Left Hand Star Breakdown" by Tony Parkes. Words and music available in Ralph's book.…

Tony Parkes 1 -
New England Squares

In this videotaped interview, caller Tony Parkes discusses the typical characteristics of northeastern traditional squares in general, and New England squares in particular.

Tony Parkes 2 - Quadrilles and Visiting Couple Squares

In this interview, caller Tony Parkes describes the basic structure of quadrilles, the 19th century dance form that set the pattern for traditional New England squares, and contrasts that with visiting couple squares. In a typical quadrille, head couples interact often with each other (and the same for sides with each other). In a visiting square,…

Tony Parkes 3 - Changes in New England squares

Caller Tony Parkes discusses some changes that took place in New England squares, particularly in the years after World War II as the modern square dance movement developed.

Festival Quadrille (clip) - Ted Sannella

This clip is part of a series of eight square dances called by Ted Sannella at the Chesapeake Spring Dance Weekend, sponsored by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. (Ted called another four or five squares during the weekend, plus contras and triplets.) Each clip includes Ted's walkthrough, plus the introduction and first time through the…

Swing Two Ladies (includes walkthrough) - Tony Parkes

Tony Parkes leads the walkthrough and calls the dance at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. Musicians are Steve Hickman and Jim Morrison, fiddles; Claudio Buchwald, piano; Sam Bartlett, banjo. The tune is "Mulvihill's Jig" (aka "Burke's Jig").Tony found this dance in the Fall…

Box the Gnat - a short history

Box the Gnat - a short historyby Tony ParkesNobody seems to know when "box the gnat" took on the standardized meaning it has today inrecreational square and contra dancing. In Instant Hash (1962), Rickey Holden (who is passionate about square dance history) doesn't include it on a list of terms whose originator and date of introduction are known.…

Gents and Corners - Tony Parkes

Danced during a Retrospective session at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, January 15, 2011. The caller is Tony Parkes; musicians are Randy Miller, fiddle; Peter Siegel, mandolin; and Bob McQuillen, piano. The tune is Dusty Bob's Jig. Tony found this figure, called "Heads and Sides" and attributed to Ralph, in a copy of American Square Dance…

Patter Calling - origins

Patter calling is a style of square dance calling in which the caller speaks the words or chants them on a musical pitch, hopefully in harmony with the tune. The classic form of patter is rhyming couplets. Typically the caller supplements the dance directions with extra words to make the call lines fit the four-beat musical phrases; these words can…

Marianne - Tony Parkes

Recorded at the Greenfield, MA, Grange Hall on June 27, 2010. The event was sponsored by Country Dance and Song Society to celebrate the publication of "On the Beat with Ralph Sweet."In his introduction, caller Tony Parkes mentioned that this dance, created by the great New England caller Dick Leger, was "the surprise hit" of the 1957 National…

Trail of the Lonesome Pine - Tony Parkes

Recorded at the Greenfield, MA, Grange Hall on June 27, 2010. The event was sponsored by Country Dance and Song Society to celebrate the publication of "On the Beat with Ralph Sweet."

Tony Parkes, caller. Don Armstrong is credited with setting the dance figures (by Ralph Page) to this tune. "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" is the title of a…