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Jubilee Promenaders 1

The dancers had received national acclaim as the Lake of the Ozarks Dancers in appearances on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour (see Related Item). Their fast tempo, fancy jig steps, and lively performances were a crowd pleaser, and they picked up, renamed as The Jubilee Promeanders, and became regular performers with caller L. D. Keller on the Ozark…

Lancers, 5th figure - Wayside Inn, 1932

This home movie is one of eight reels filmed in the 1930s at the Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA. (More information about these films is available here.) The Inn at the time was owned by Henry Ford. Ford had encountered dancing master Benjamin Lovett at the Inn and hired him to come to Michigan to teach dancing there to his employees. This is the earliest…

Asilomar 1953 - Sets in Order Summer Institute

Note: Several of these files are large and will take longer to load.The first three files are part of the binder presented to participants at the 6th annual Sets in Order Institute held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA, in 1953. The staff included Bob Osgood, Joe Lewis, Ralph Maxhimer & Fenton "Jonesy" Jones. (The last file…

5 Steps to Better Dancing

The "5 Steps" of the title can be taken literally; this tiny handout, illustrated with stick figures, is all about how to move on the dance floor:

1. Keep both feet on the floor, don't walk. [Instead, use a shuffle step.]
2. Keep weight forward
3. Stand tall, move lightly
4. Take smaller steps
5. Listen to the music, dance to the music

Catalogs

This collection of seven catalogs from the 1950s and early 1960s illustrates the range of materials offered to participants in the early square dance boom years, from recordings to clothing to badges and caller PA equipment.

Barn Owls square dance club

Items connected with one mid-1950s square dance club:

• Program for 3rd anniversary dance, 1954, including club roster
• Invitation to 5th anniversary party
• invitation for regular dance
• stationery and envelope

The Barn Owls club was hosted regular dances at the Gardena Barn, Gardena, CA, in the Los Angeles area.

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Square Dance camp brochures

A small collection of brochures illustrating various dance camps and square dance travel. Just as different callers developed their own magazines and newsletters, so did they find additional opportunities to connect with an ever-growing number of square dance enthusiasts in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mac McKenrick photos

Photograph of McKenrick
advertisement for square dance instruction at his barn

Tulip Square (clip) - Jim Brooks

Square dance set to the popular tune, "When You Wore a Tulip (and I Wore a Big Red Rose").

Barnacle Bill (clip) - Cal Golden

Cal Golden was a prominent modern caller; another audio clip on this website shows him at the giant 1950 Santa Monica square dance, being introduced by Lloyd Shaw. He was a caller with deep Arkansas roots who called in all 50 states.See this entry on Vic and Debbie Ceder's website for more information and a photograph. The Ceders write: "The term…

Buffalo Girls - 1927

The recording is [Tommy} Dandurand and his Barn Dance Fiddlers, recorded in 1927, with caller Ed Goodreau. Dandurand was a fixture on the National Barn Dance on WLS radio in Chicago. For a detailed appreciation of this program, see fiddler Paul Tyler's post on his DrDosido blog.The dance follows a familiar pattern: First lady (and others on…

McLeod's Reel - 1926

Recorded by Tom Owens and the WLS Barn Dance Trio; this band was featured on the National Barn Dance on WLS radio in Chicago. For a detailed appreciation of this program, see fiddler Paul Tyler's post on his DrDosido blog.

Basic Movements of Square Dancing

This early handbook from Sets in Order provides detailed instructions for 20 basic figures, "the foundation movements for most square dancing." As such, it offers an overview of what was considered essential in the early years of MWSD.Many figures contain subdivisions; for example, Figure 16 is Arch and Under: a. Inside Arch - Outside Underb.…

Texan Whirl - Rickey Holden

Rickey Holden calling the Texan Whirl figure attributed to caller Bob Sumrall, an influential caller starting in the 1930s in Abilene and other West Texas communities. The distinctive part has the women circling left underneath the men's arms making a right hand star, and then each woman rolls back around the gent behind her to reform the circle.…

Four in Line You Travel - Rickey Holden

Caller Rickey Holden teaches the figure for "Four in line you travel," and then calls a square dance using that figure. The figure is described in detail in the notes for Ed Gilmore's Square Dance Callers Instruction Course, 1949. Recorded in 1999 in Denmark.

"Abilene lift" - Rickey Holden

Caller Rickey Holden calls and dances the "Abilene lift," a style of movement created and popularized by west Texas caller Bob Sumrall. The 1-2-3 shuffle of feet gave the dancers a smooth movement; Holden has written that "at one time, at every dance, the entire floor could be heard to move, everyone, in unison, with an almost mystical, magical…

Goal Post variation - Rickey Holden

Caller Rickey Holden calls a sequence of easy figures at a workshop in Taastrup, Denmark, August 19, 2005. It's similar to a Goal Post" routine except that Rickey has the active dancers swing behind the inactives rather than go around them. The end of the dance incorporates a Birdie in the Cage routine.

Denver Wagon Wheel / Triple Duck - Rickey Holden (dance)

Caller Rickey Holden teaches the "triple duck" figure, also known as the Denver Wagon Wheel. (In his "Square Dances of West Texas" book, Holden credits the figure to Joe Lang, of Denver.) Another video on this site video shows that figure being taught. Recorded in Denmark, 1999.

Denver Wagon Wheel / Triple Duck - Rickey Holden (instr.)

Caller Rickey Holden teaches the "triple duck" figure, also known as the Denver Wagon Wheel. (In his "Square Dances of West Texas" booklet, Holden credits the figure to Joe Lang, of Denver.) A subsequent video shows that figure being danced. Recorded in Denmark in 1999. The accompanying diagram shows the key figure.