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Bill Litchman 1 - Traditional Western Squares

Caller Bill Litchman discusses characteristic features of traditional western square dances, incorporating his memory of Colorado dances that he encountered starting in the 1950s.For a more detailed look at this topic, see Litchman's article on Rocky Mountain Square Dancing.

Bill Litchman 2a - Lloyd Shaw, part 1

An interview with caller Bill Litchman about educator Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw and the important role he played in square dance. Many see Shaw as a defining figure in the transition from traditional to modern squares. Certainly his demonstration team of high school students, the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, attracted great attention and got viewers excited…

Bill Litchman 2b - Lloyd Shaw, part 2

Bill Litchman continues his discussion about educator Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw and the important role he played in square dance. Here, he focuses on the impact that Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers had in creating interest in squares, how Shaw's summer classes started, and a description of Shaw's philosophy of dance.

Interview conducted 18 November…

Lloyd Shaw and kids

Lloyd Shaw, surrounded by some of the young members of the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers

Cowboy Dances

This is the dust cover to Lloyd Shaw's book, Cowboy Dances, first published in 1939.Used copies are common and inexpensive. A clean reprint of the book is also available from the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. Still, in this digital era it's not surprising that it is also available at the Internet Archive so that it can be read online, downloaded as a PDF,…

Redwing - Dip and Dive - Ed Durlacher

Ed Durlacher, caller. The tune is Redwing.

Durlacher's vocal style is distinctive. Recorded in 1941, with music by Al MacLeod's Country Dance Band.

Lloyd Shaw calling (clip)

This short audio clip illustrates Shaw's calling style and voice.

Other items on this site refer to full-length recordings posted elsewhere.

Ed Durlacher - Central Park newsreel

Newsreel footage of square dancing in Central Park, New York City, in the 1940s. Ed Durlacher called to crowds in the thousands.Jim Mayo: "I danced with Durlacher at Jones Beach in 1951 when I was working in Oyster Bay during the summer. It was absolutely mind boggling to watch him start with an empty floor and fill it with 1000 people off the…

Sets in Order archive

The complete collection of Sets in Order (which changed its name to Square Dancing in 1968) is available online through the University of Denver. The issues were scanned by New Jersey dance caller Gardner Patton. You can read more in this interview of Gardner Patton conducted by Bob Brundage in 2011. The complete run of the magazine was 444 issues.…

Eleanor Roosevelt square dancing

Newsreel footage of Eleanor Roosevelt dancing in Arthurdale, West Virginia, 1940

Square Dance in Japan

(Note: also available is information on the start of square dancing in Germany.)The linked article, by Lane Earns, describes the key role played by Winfield Niblo in bringing American square dance to Japan in the years immediately following World War II. The article also highlights the enthusiastic participation in square dancing by Prince Mikasa…

Winfield P. Niblo

Photographs of Winfield P. Niblo, widely credited with bringing American square dance to Japan after World War II. In one photo he can be seen calling with cupped hands; there simply was no PA system available to use.

Bud Udick - Hash #1

This 1949 audio clip features Bud Udick calling with "Cactus" Tait's Orchestra, recorded live "at the regular weekly square dances at the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel" in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A set of five ten-inch 78rpm recordings with Udick calling was released by Pikes Peak Records asBar-Nothin' Squares, "an album of real Western square…

Bud Udick - Hash #2

This 1949 audio clip features Bud Udick calling with "Cactus" Tait's Orchestra, recorded live "at the regular weekly square dances at the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel" in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A set of five ten-inch 78rpm recordings with Udick calling was released by Pikes Peak Records asBar-Nothin' Squares, "an album of real Western square…

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Going to the Barn Dance Tonight - Soundie

Carson Robison (on guitar) was a country music star. The Wikipedia article about him says, "According to Billboard, his 1942 recording of the standard "Turkey in the Straw" was that year's top selling country recording."From CineGraphic, YouTube contributor:"Here's yet another "Soundie" from my collection. The original opening and closing titles…

Docey-Doe Hoedown - Lloyd Shaw

A YouTube site that plays Lloyd Shaw calling from his Cowboy Dances album

Chase that Rabbit - Roy Rogers

audio clip

Recorded September 4, 1940, with Spade Cooley (fiddle) and Cooley's Buckle Busters. Decca 3733.

Lady Round Two, Gent Cut Through (clip) - Arkie Woodchopper

Arkansas "Arkie" Woodchopper was the stage name and persona adopted by Luther Ossenbrink. He was a star of the WLS National Barn Dance show, and he recorded more than three dozen sides between 1929 and 1945. Discography.This clip offers a straightforward version of Lady Round Two, Gent Cut Through, though the timing of the calls makes it unlikely…

Star the Ring (clip) - Ralph Page

Recorded by the Ralph Page Trio, to the tune of Girl I Left Behind Me (Disc 364)

Chain Down the Line (clip) - Herb Greggerson

Herb Greggerson is one of the most important names in southwestern U.S. square dance calling. This routine is also known as The Route.This site contains video footage of The Route called by Tony Parkes in 1992 and by Bob Dalsemer in 2009.