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Adam Boyce - Virginia Reel

Traditional American dance, recorded in West Newbury, VT, on July 24, 2010. The caller and fiddler is Adam Boyce, accompanied by piano player Donna Weston. With seven couples in the set, the dance took a full 14 minutes to complete; this is just an excerpt.

Al Brundage recollections

Al Brundage wrote these recollections of his experiences growing up in Connecticut and the growth of square dancing. His story includes discovering square dance as a boy, followed by the whole Brundage family getting involved in the activity and forming the King Street Pioneers. He mentions some of the important figures in the Northeast in those…

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Alex Boustead – biographical info

Alex Boustead was also one of the founding members of the Canadian Olde Tyme Square Dance Callers Association. He was introduced to squares in the winter of 1931-32, and in a short time he started calling. He wrote:

"In 1954, Jimmy Fisher decided to form a callers' association and invited me as a founding member along with six others. There was…

Folk & Square in Manitoba and Ontario

Broad look at dance traditions in both provinces. As the article's title suggests, square dancing is discussed as are folk dances from different countries. The Ontario portion of the article talks at length of the contributions of John Madsen and Erma Weir.

Hilton Kelly - Catskill fiddler & caller

Article about Catskills fiddler and caller Hilton Kelly, who has been playing and calling square dances in that region of New York for more than 75 years.

Shall We Dance? - Maine, 19th century

This article, written by theMaine Memory Network Curator and Historian for the Maine Historical Society, takes two mid-19th books as a focal point for looking at etiquette and social status as reflected on the dance floor. H.G.O. Washburn's 1863 Ball-Room Manual of Contra Dances and Social Cotillions with Remarks on Quadrilles and Spanish Dance…

Corky Calkins - two programs

These are two programs of Massachusetts caller Corky Calkins, one from 1965 and the other from 1967. They were noted by Connecticut caller Ralph Sweet who for decades carried a small notebook with him to dances and recorded the programs and any unusual figures used by the caller. The 1967 program took place in Sweet's own Power Mill Barn in…

The Rural Square Dance in the Northeastern United States: A Continuity of Tradition

This doctoral thesis in folklore is based on a study of square dances in New York state, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Especially interesting are the descriptions of traditional dances, based on the author's observation, and interviews with dancers, augmented with questionnaires.The author notes the difficulties of collecting information from…

West Newbury, VT & Adam Boyce

West Newbury, VT: Adam leads a traditional dance in this tiny Vermont village, continuing a series that he inherited from his calling and fiddle mentor Harold Luce. Adam is active in the Ed Larkin Dancers, a group in central Vermont that continues a long dance tradition; for example, his version of Portland Fancy is that maintained by the Larkin…

Honor Your Partner - 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 item shows a sample cover, a listing of the square dance albums, and the back liner notes from the first three square dance albums.

"Folk Dances of the United States: Regional Types and Origins"

Scholarly presentation by noted dance researcher Elizabeth Burchenal and published in the Journal of the International Folk Music Council. Burchenal begins her talk thus:

"The term "folk dance" as used here does not refer to "popular dance" or to "revivals" but rather to "authentic" folk dance as a folk art which has been handed down through the…

Irving Andert interview

Video or just audio

Interview with Connecticut square dance caller Irving Andert, conducted by Paul Trowbridge, July 9, 1983, recorded in the Brooklyn (CT) Grange. At that time, Andert had been calling 52 years, starting when he was 13 years old. He describes some of the early callers who influenced him, and talks about calling at a major square…

Florilla Perkins Ames, Vermont

Florilla Perkins Ames was 102 years old when she recorded this interview. She lives in northern Vermont, and remembers her father calling dances. Before that, her mother's grandfather used to play fiddle for dances: "In fact, in this house where I am right now they used to dance squares upstairs, in the 1800s."

Square Dance and Square Dance Music in Western New York State

Two articles by the pre-eminent scholar of this region's traditional music and dance traditions, and included on the site with the permission of the author. Kimball discusses the history of dances in this region, looks at the dances themselves and their social context, and describes the music commonly played.

An excerpt:
"...As early as the…

Fifty Miles from Times Square

This is an excerpt from John Cohen's 1972 film, used here by permission of the filmmaker.

caller: Herb Strickland
musicians: Bud Snow, Jay Ungar, Lyn Hardy, Abby Newton, Tom Allen

Fiddler Jay Ungar, seen in the dance footage, writes: "The dances were started by the Concerned Democrats in Putnam County, NY to raise money for the McGovern…

Square Dancing in Western New York

The New York Folklore Society produced a number of five-minute radio documentaries featuring the folklife (skills, traditions, stories, music, dance, folk art and material items) found in New York State. This one focuses on the square dance traditions of western New York and the efforts being made to keep those traditions vibrant.The Folklore…

Kathy Anderson - four styles of squares

Caller Kathy Anderson gives an overview of the characteristics of four different regional styles of traditional square dances-- old-time Southern, New England, traditional Western, and singing squares.