Show Menu

Browse Items: 24

Let's Square Dance! - Richard Kraus

This series of five albums was recorded in 1956 featuring the calling of Richard Kraus, a caller and professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. This item serves as a general introduction to the series, including the table of contents showing how dances were arranged by age / grade level. Subsequent items will present clips from different…

Square Dance in Haywood County, NC

Detailed look at western North Carolina, a region rich in square dance traditions including that of Sam Queen and the Soco Gap Square Dancers. Jamison starts his article with a look at the turn of the century house dances and "Shindigs" then surveys the grand hotels and the tourist trade. His survey continues through the post World War II era.

Origin of Appalachian Square Dance

Thurston rejects the notion that Appalachian squares did not originate from American Indian dances nor were they independently created. He concludes that they came from Europe, particular from the British Isles and even more particularly from Ireland. He demonstrates a strong connection between the structure of typical Appalachian squares with that…

Square Dance Fight on Ball Top Mountain

Phil Jamison: These are square dance skits on two sides of a 78 (Vocalion 5419) with a few random calls by John Dilleshaw (aka Seven Foot Dilly) of Paulding County, GA. It was recorded in Atlanta in 1930. The "Square Dance Fight" was one of many dance skits that were recorded in the late 20s and early 30s. Most of them simply have a few calls for…

Old-Time Revival: Traditional Appalachian Square Dancing Slowly Refinds its Footing in Knoxville

Reprinted by permission of Metro Pulse and Holly Haworth, © 2013 This well-written and lengthy article (available as a PDF through the link above or on its original website posting) captures the feeling of many of the new dance series spring up that feature southern Appalachian tunes and dances.

Soco Gap Dancers at the White House

This is the program for the evening entertainment provided for the visiting King and Queen of England at the White House, Thursday, June 8, 1939. Among the performers (see page 5) were the Soco Gap Square-Dance Team, directed by Sam Queen and presented by Bascom Lamar Lunsford.

Eleanor Roosevelt was interested in traditional dance, witness her…

Square Dance History Pageant, part 1 - 1976

The 25th annual National Square Dance Convention took place in 1976, the year of the United State Bicentennial Celebration. A historical pageant at the convention features a series of dances illustrating American social dance through time, with a particular focus on squares. This was an edited version of that presentation.

New Squares - video and web links

Recent years have seen the appearance of a new audience for square dances. One important starting point was a series of dances in the Portland, Oregon, area, led by caller Bill Martin and the Foghorn Stringband. Those dances featured old-time southern Appalachian tunes and high-energy, simple dances, often big sets. A similar pattern has emerged in…

Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing

Written in 1949 and republished many times, this is a vital reference for anyone interested in southern Appalachian dance. Patrick Napier is a well-known dance leader at the Christmas Country Dance School in Berea, Kentucky, and this is his compilation of dance figures from eastern Kentucky. It is a PDF file available for download (easier…

"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…

Mountain Dance Trail - West Virginia

Created by folklorists Gerry Milnes and Becky Hill at Davis & Elkins College in Augusta, West Virginia, the Mountain Dance Trail is a statewide effort to support local square customs. The project received a lengthy article in the New York Times, which included a slideshow and video of dancing on its website, and a story (September 5, 2013) on…

"Dancing to the Music: Domestic Square Dances and Community in Southcentral Kentucky (1880-1940)"

This detailed examination of the role of square dances in south central Kentucky is written by a folklorist, who based his findings on interviews with 20 musicians, dancers, and callers in that region. (Another look at Kentucky dancing, by researcher LeeEllen Friedland in the late 1970s, can be found here.)In his introduction, Feintuch writes:…