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Douglas Kennedy on American dances, 1939

Douglas Kennedy succeeded Cecil Sharp as director of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. He visited the United States in 1939 to teach dancing and to observe what he could while in this country. While he was in the south, a Smoky Mountain square dance leader, D. B. Hendrix, organized a demonstration of southern Appalachian dancing for Kennedy,…

Old Time Square Dancing on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Author Bob Dalsemer discovers a long tradition of the "big circle" square dance on this island off the North Carolina coast, far from the Appalachian Mountains where it is usually encountered.

The Independence (PA) Lancers

For moving images of the dance, click here.This is Bob Dalsemer's account of discovering an old dance form maintained in a rural Pennsylvania community:"On two occasions in 1979, I had the good fortune to visit the bi-weekly Saturday night square dance at the Grange Hall in Independence, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. I found…

The Buzzards' Glory Barn Dance 1928–1966

In the early 1970s, Bob Dalsemer heard about a dance series in Albanstown, northern Baltimore County, Maryland; the dances were no longer being held so he interviewed two sources to create this portrait of the local square dance.

West Virginia Square Dances by Robert G. Dalsemer

Dalsemer describes dance figures as done in five rural West Virginia communities in the mid- to late 1970s and reports on their regular dance events, including programming, type of audience, price and method of admission, and the traditions of figure calling and musical performance. He discusses the history of each dance event and their on-going…

Marching Through Georgia - Worley Gardner

(Note: This site also contains a video clip of the dance as called by New England caller Dudley Laufman.)from the chapter on Morgantown, WV, in West Virginia Square Dances, by Bob DalsemerSinging square, recorded by Bob Dalsemer in Morgantown, West Virginia."Everybody circle eight, now circle eight around Everybody circle eight, now all the way…

Duck for the Oyster / Grapevine Twist

This square incorporates two well-known figures.Filmed in Super-8 by Bob Dalsemer, May, 1979, at the Vandalia Gathering, an annual festival in Charleston, WV, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Culture and History. These dancers are from Glenville, WV, which now hosts the annual West Virginia Folk Festival, which begins the 3rd Thursday…

Chase the Rabbit

Filmed by Bob Dalsemer in Independence, Pennsylvania

Take a Little Peek

Filmed in Super-8 by Bob Dalsemer, May, 1979, at the Vandalia Gathering, an annual festival in Charleston, WV, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Culture and History. These dancers are from Glenville, WV, which now hosts the annual West Virginia Folk Festival, which begins the 3rd Thursday in June each year. There's dancing each year on a…

Butterfly Whirl

Filmed in Super-8 by Bob Dalsemer, May, 1979, at the Vandalia Gathering, an annual festival in Charleston, WV, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Culture and History. These dancers are from Glenville, WV, which now hosts the annual West Virginia Folk Festival, which begins the 3rd Thursday in June each year. There's dancing each year on a…

Birdie in the Cage

The well-known Birdie in the Cage figure, filmed in western Pennsylvania, on the border between northern and southern Appalachian styles of square dancing.

Dip and Dive

Other examples of the dip and dive figure can be found on this website.

Red River Valley

View full record for details.

Dip 'n' Dive Around the Square - Larry Edelman

Recorded in 1990 by Bob Dalsemer at Lovely Lane Church, Baltimore. The caller is Larry Edelman. Musicians are John Herrmann, Dirk Powell, Dave Grant and Greg Hooven. Larry thinks he learned the dance from Pittsburgh caller Dolores Heagy around the time this footage was filmed. She in turn calls the dance Dip 'n' Dive Around the Square.

Four Little Sisters with a Do-Si-Do - Larry Edelman

Recorded in 1990 by Bob Dalsemer at Lovely Lane Church, Baltimore. The caller is Larry Edelman. Musicians are John Herrmann, Dirk Powell, Dave Grant and Greg Hooven.

Lancers Quadrille - Pennsylvania

The Lancers is a form of quadrille dating from the 19th century. It appears in many communities throughout the western world. Here is a version (filmed in Super-8 by Bob Dalsemer, September, 1979) that was kept alive in Independence, PA, in the southwestern part of the state.Dalsemer's detailed description of the dance figures, and music…

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…