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Square Dance (with Corky Calkins)

This 1955 film, produced by Roger Tilton, features Corky Calkins and his band. Calkins was a popular caller in the Springfield, MA, area. Among the dances shown here are Nellie Bly, The Route and the Virginia Reel.

Ralph Sweet comments: "When we first moved into this area [near Springfield, MA] Corky Calkins was going strong. He had regular…

Square Dance Tonight - with Elisha Keeler

This 1949 film features caller Elisha Keeler of South Salem, NY. Keeler was featured in The New Yorker in a brief "Talk of the Town" piece in 1949 and then was given a lengthy profile (some 5,000 words) in The New Yorker (February 9, 1957). That portrait apparently inspired choreographer George Balanchine to create his ballet "Square Dance," and…

Swing Like Thunder - Richard Kraus

Kraus writes, "This lively square dance is especially popular with teen-agers." In his book, Square Dances of Today, he writes, "This one goes under a variety of names. Some call it the 'California Fruit Basket' and others call it 'Ladies Bow, Gents Bow Under.' "Let's Square Dance!, Album 4

Lady Go Halfway Round - Richard Kraus

Kraus says, "This is not a difficult square, but for a few moments the active boy has to keep his ears open, and do some fast stepping!"

Let's Square Dance!, Album 3

The Basket - 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 is the final dance on album 3; the dance introduces a basket figure for two, three, and four couples.

Around the Outside - 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 dance is from Album 1, the first dance in the series with partner changes.

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.

Susanna (instruction) - Ed Durlacher

This is the very first dance on the first disk of Ed Durlacher's Honor Your Partner series, an extensive collection of dance and rhythmic music albums that were widely-used in schools. Here, Durlacher introduces a circle dance to teach the concept of partners, do-si-do, swing and promenade. Other albums in the series build to more complex dances.…

Duck for Oysters (clip) - Burns & Wheeler

"Duck for the Oyster, Dig for the Clams" is surely one of the most common traditional square dance figures. There are many examples of this dance on the SDHP website. Here it's "Duck for Oysters, Dig for Clams." This clip comes from a series of recordings aimed at elementary school age children. The set was arranged and recorded by Joseph V.…

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.

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…

Lazy H - Bob Dalsemer

Bob Dalsemer calls a condensed version of Ed Gilmore's "Lazy H" figure.

Polka Square - Ralph Page (clip)

This clip of Ralph Page calling Polka Square demonstrates his melodic style, part patter call and part singing. The musicians are Page's Boston Boys: George Gulyassy, fiddle; Bob Gulyassy, guitar; Phil Jamoulis, bass, joined here by Walter Erickson, accordion, and Walter Lob on fiddle.

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…

Don Armstrong - square dance

By this time in his long career, Don Armstrong was mostly calling contra dances. In this example, he keeps dancers moving smoothly with a relaxed cadence to his calls.

Duck and Dive - Jerry Goodwin

Yet another example a classic square dance figure. See the many related items for other versions.Recorded at a square dance on February 7, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA.Jerry Goodwin, CallerMountain Express: Chuck Monticello, fiddle Joe Fry, electric guitar Bob Hill, piano Dodie Goodwin, electric bass

Circle to the Middle - Ted Sannella

Ted Sannella calls his "Circle to the Middle" square dance, recorded 1990 at American Dance Week, a program of the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) at Pinewoods Camp, Plymouth, MA. The last part of the dance has been cut off in this recording; the complete directions are given below.Ted Sannella was one of New England's best known and…

Warp and Weft - grid square

Grid square composed by Rick Mohr; dance directions on his website. Called here by Lisa Greenleaf; the tune is Julia Delaney, played by Daron Douglas (fiddle), Anna Patton (clarinet), and Karen Axelrod (piano). Recorded June 1, 2013.