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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…

Lisa Greenleaf 3 - modern and traditional squares

Third in a series of six

Lisa is one of a relatively small number of individuals who dance both modern and traditional squares. Here she describes what she likes about each form.

Lisa Greenleaf 4 - finding material

Fourth in a series of six In this segment, Lisa offers some advice for individuals interested in learning to call squares. She also discusses where to find new material, and describes the difficulties she encountered when trying to incorporate into her repertoire some dances from Sets in Order in the 1950s and '60s.

Lisa Greenleaf 5 - squares in the contra culture

Fifth in a series of six

Lisa is a well-known caller of contras and squares, usually working at events that are advertised for contra dancers. She discusses some of the challenges of incorporating squares into a program of contras.

Lisa Greenleaf 6 - the future of squares

Last in a series of six Lisa talks about ways to keep modern square dancing alive in the future. She cites the Pacific Northwest Teen Competition as one promising model to involve young people, and suggests that a "Dirty Dancing" kind of movie focused on square dance competition would provide a boost. She also is excited by the new dance series…

Phil Jamison 1: Southern Appalachian Dance

Dance caller, musician, and historian Phil Jamison discusses the distinguishing characteristics of southern Appalachian square dance forms.

Phil Jamison 2: African influences, and African-American callers

Phil Jamison discusses his research into the origins of American square dance in the south, and describes the key role that African-American musicians played . There are the well-known musical elements—the role of the banjo, for example—and Phil also points out that the first callers were African-American. Even some distinctive square dance…

Phil Jamison 3 - The caller's role in Southern squares

The square dance caller in Southern dance traditions plays a somewhat different role than his Northern counterpart. Phil looks at the way a Southern caller improvises and uses basic figures in different ways.

Phil Jamison 4 - Cecil Sharp and the "running set"

Phil discusses the origins of the term "running set," going back to when the English folklorist and collector Cecil Sharp first encountered southern Appalachian dancing.For a demonstration of the actual dance, see this video called by Stew Shacklette.

Sammy Spring - fiddler & square dance caller

Sammy Spring (1883–1958) was a fiddler and square dance caller from Otis, Massachusetts, in the western part of the state. This website includes photos of him and a lengthy interview conducted in 1939 by Edward Welch, a worker with the Federal Writers Project.

---excerpt from the 1939 interview:
“So you want to know how I come to take up…

Sandy Bradley 1 - Getting started

Sandy Bradley interviewed by Bob Dalsemer.

After a brief discussion of the fun of watching the room come together in a dance, Sandy discusses how she got started as a musician and then a square dance caller.

Recorded by Doug Plummer at Dare To Be Square, Seattle, 2009

Sandy Bradley 2 - Keeping it fun

"The thing that I thought was crippling people's attitude toward dance was rules. 'You have to do THIS, you have to swing like that, you have to get it right!'" It doesn't have anything to do with getting it right. I wanted to scrape all that burden off of it. So, I never tried to say, 'You have to do it like this.' If they did it some other way,…