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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…

Arkansas Traveler with a Cross Trail Thru - Bob Dalsemer

Bob Dalsemer calls at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. This version of Arkansas Traveler, with the cross trail figure, comes from "Dance a While" by Harris, Pittman & Waller. The 9th edition (2005) of this long-running collection, now by Pittman, Waller and Dark, still…

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.

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…

Chase the Rabbit

Filmed by Bob Dalsemer in Independence, Pennsylvania

Cindy - Bob Dalsemer

Cindy is a singing call as called by Maryland Line caller Jake Jacoby in the mid-1970's. The tune seems to be an amalgam of Cindy and Oh Susannah.

At the Dare To Be Square dance weekend, Bob Dalsemer led a workshop on "Dances of Maryland Line," a small town in northern Maryland that he visited often in the 1970s. Attentive viewers will note the…

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.

Dip and Dive

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

Down Yonder - Bob Dalsemer

Bob Dalsemer calls the well-known singing square dance Down Yonder at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. Bob credits the Handy Square Dance Book (Cooperative Recreation Service, Delaware, OH, 1955, p.146) as his source.

Musicians are Steve Hickman and Jim Morrison,…

Duck and Dive - Bob Dalsemer - Maryland Line 7

At the Dare To Be Square dance weekend, Bob Dalsemer led a workshop on "Dances of Maryland Line," a small town in northern Maryland that he visited often in the 1970s. Attentive viewers will note the distinctive style of promenade, a one-step around the square that was typical of Maryland Line dances.

At Maryland Line, Duck and Dive was always…

Duck for the Oyster - Bob Dalsemer - Maryland Line 5

This is what might be termed a semi-singing square. Maryland Line caller Jake Jacoby always called Duck for the Oyster to the tune Little Brown Jug (as played by The Sawmill Boys). Note the Georgia Rang Tang/Southern Do-si-do type figure following the main figure and the progression which keeps this visiting couple figure faster moving than…

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…

Forward Six and Back - Bob Dalsemer

Bob Dalsemer calls a traditional square dance -- Right Hand High, Left Hand Low-- with music provided by Notorious (Larry Unger and Eden MacAdam Somer) and Old New England (Bob McQuillen, Jane Orzechowski, and Deanna Stiles). Recorded at the final session of the annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, Durham, NH, January 19, 2013.

Bob usually…

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.

Gents Three-Quarter Star - Bob Dalsemer

Bob Dalsemer calls at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. The dance was composed by the great New England caller Ted Sannella, and is published in Ted's book "Swing the Next." Suffering from an acute case of Dance Weekenditis (aka lack of sleep), Bob calls the opening sequence…

Going Down South - Bob Dalsemer

Bob Dalsemer calls this singing square, with music provided by Notorious (Eden MacAdam Somer on fiddle, Larry Unger on guitar). Recorded January 18, 2013, at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, Durham, NH.

Golden Slippers - Bob Dalsemer

At the Dare To Be Square dance weekend, Bob Dalsemer led a workshop on "Dances of Maryland Line," a small town in northern Maryland that he visited often in the 1970s. Attentive viewers will note the distinctive style of promenade, a one-step around the square that was typical of Maryland Line dances.

This session was recorded on November 19,…

Grand Square - Bob Dalsemer - Maryland Line 6

Grand Square was always danced at Maryland Line to one part of the polka tune Bye, Bye My Baby. The late Bob Osgood, publisher of Sets in Order magazine, recorded "Grand Square Quadrille" to a more complete version of the same tune.

At the Dare To Be Square dance weekend, Bob Dalsemer led a workshop on "Dances of Maryland Line," a small town in…

Just Because - Bob Dalsemer

Caller Bob Dalsemer and "Just Because," recorded 1990 in Oerbygaard, Denmark. This clip includes some of the walkthrough, with the dance itself starting at 00:58. The recording to which he is calling features musicians Steve Hickman, fiddle; Peter Barnes, piano, and Bill Tomczak, clarinet.

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…