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American Square Dance - Coronet Films, 1947

This 1947 instructional film, produced by Coronet Films, was created in collaboration with the Chicago Parks District. (Note that Lloyd Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers performed in Chicago in 1939 on their return home from their first trip east. Shaw also made a presentation to American Association for Health, Physicial Education, and Recreation…

Square Dance Tonight - with Elisha Keeler

This 1949 film features caller Elisha Keeler of South Salem, NY. Keeler was featured in The New Yorker in a brief "Talk of the Town" piece in 1949 and then was given a lengthy profile (some 5,000 words) in The New Yorker (February 9, 1957). That portrait apparently inspired choreographer George Balanchine to create his ballet "Square Dance," and…

Saturday Night Square Dance - Jim Boyd, 1949

"Saturday Night Square Dance" was released in 1949 as a Soundie; the footage included here is all that we have been able to locate. (We would appreciate information from anyone having a complete copy of the film.)

Featured here are Jim Boyd and His Men of the West. Jom Boyd was the brother of Bill Boyd, well known for western swing music, and…

West Texas Square Dances - Index

This is the cover and index of the booklet published by Jimmy Clossin and Carl Hertzog, showing dances that were common to that region around 1950. The book offers a dictionary, "Around-the-Ring Dances," suqdrilles, and "Callers Chatter."

The title page announces that this is "A Revised and Enlarged Edition of "Honor Your Partner" The Original…

The Girl I Left Behind Me (clip) - Lee Bedford, Jr.

In his brief look at the development of singing calls, Tony Parkes cites the publication of this dance in 1928 as "the earliest description of a singing square I've found so far (in fairly shallow digging)." This SDHP website includes an 1893 reference, plus other early mentions of the dance.

Cowboy Loop (clip) - Lee Bedford, jr.

This dance was called by Mildred Blakey at the big 1950 Santa Monica dance.

Square Dances With Calls - Lee Bedford, Jr.

In 1949, Texas caller Lee Bedford released on Imperial Records a four-album set of recordings with music provided by The Big D Ranch Hands. The liner notes, written by Paul Erfer, start by noting, "The interpretation of the figures described follows the style of square dancing as dances in some parts of Texas."Each record had a patter call on the A…

Uptown – Downtown (Golden Slippers) - Ed Durlacher

Classic square dance figure, Uptown Downtown, done as a singing square to Golden Slippers by caller Ed Durlacher; music provided by The Top Hands, directed by Frank Novak. One of the Related Items is a newsreel with Durlacher calling this very dance in Central Park, New York. More detailed information about this recording, part of a collection,…

Around the Outside - Ed Durlacher

Honor Your Partner was a series of rhythmic activities and dance albums, more than 20 in all, released by Ed Durlacher starting in 1949 and extending into the 1950s. This dance is from Album 1, the first dance in the series with partner changes.

Susanna (instruction) - Ed Durlacher

This is the very first dance on the first disk of Ed Durlacher's Honor Your Partner series, an extensive collection of dance and rhythmic music albums that were widely-used in schools. Here, Durlacher introduces a circle dance to teach the concept of partners, do-si-do, swing and promenade. Other albums in the series build to more complex dances.…

Australia Square Dance History

An overview of how American square dance became popular in Australia

Bob Aylward - caller biography

This is an excerpt from an unpublished memoir by Robert Aylward, who called square dances in the Boston area, starting in the 1930s. It's a detailed portrait of the evolution of a caller.

Bar Nothin' Squares - record ad

This ad for Bar Nothin' Squares, the live album recorded with Bud Udick calling, proclaims proudly, "DON'T USE MONOTONOUS RECORDS WHERE ALL THE COUPLES DO THE SAME THING." It's an early indication of the direction that modern square dancing would go.

Smoky Mountain Square Dances

Biographical information obtained from a telephone conversation between Bob Dalsemer and David Hendrix's son Charles, June 10, 1999. Charles had donated to the John C. Campbell Folk School a manuscript in progress that his father had started, an expanded version of Hendix's earlier book (1941) on Smoky Mountain Square Dances.David B. Hendrix…

Farmhouse Fiddlers: Music & Dance Traditional in the Rural Midwest

This is an excerpt from a detailed and loving look at what the author terms "house-party music." His focus is Wisconsin, and he based the book on interviews with nearly 100 musicians and dancers. Profusely illustrated with photographs and quotations from the interviews, all carefully cited in the appendices.An early section describes "the pioneer…

Square Dance in Haywood County, NC

Detailed look at western North Carolina, a region rich in square dance traditions including that of Sam Queen and the Soco Gap Square Dancers. Jamison starts his article with a look at the turn of the century house dances and "Shindigs" then surveys the grand hotels and the tourist trade. His survey continues through the post World War II era.

A Look at Square Dancing in Colorado

"Square dancing evolved a western version probably sometime in the late 1800s when the pioneers moved to settle the states west of the Mississippi. It was a square dance form that was much different from the Eastern Quadrilles and different still from the Kentucky Running Set which was probably the other source. It was more exuberant and much less…

Adirondack Square Dancing

The author describes her experiences traditional square dancing in the Adirondacks from 1918 to 1965, when she began modern squares. This story appeared in the final edition of Ralph Page's Northern Junket magazine.She describes how, as a 19-year-old school teacher (1933), she boarded with a family who had a dance at their house each Saturday…