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Four Bachelor Boys

Let's Square Dance!, Album 5

Cowboys' Christmas Ball - Anson, Texas

Poem written in 1890 describing the Cowboys' Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas. For more information about the author, see this website on cowboy poetry. The Ball continues, following the original rules requiring women to wear skirts and men to check their hats and spurs. Chittenden's poem was set to music and included in John Lomax's Cowboy Songs and…

Texas Cowboys - dance poems and lore

A collection of pieces related to square dance in southwest cowboy culture, published in 1925

Abilene Lift - Rickey Holden

An early description by Rickey Holden of the so-called "Abilene lift," a distinctive style of incorporating a two-steps into square dance movement.

American Country Dancing on Colorado's West Slope

The article is based on oral history collected in 1979, though no footnotes or direct quotations are included. Instead, it is a generalized summary of the author's findings.

"Depending on the orchestra, both "country" (squares, polkas, schottische, etc.) and "city" (ballroom) dancing were popular around the turn of the century. Among the local,…

Western Square Dances at Fox Creek, Colorado (ca. 1880-1930)

Article based on conversations with Bessie Stafford from the San Luis Valley, western Colorado.

"In these early days, the dances were held outside on the hard dirt, the music being supplied by local people, and the dances were called by local neighbors. ... The early dances were all-night affairs and the waltzes, polkas, schottisches, and other…

A Look at Square Dancing in Colorado

"Square dancing evolved a western version probably sometime in the late 1800s when the pioneers moved to settle the states west of the Mississippi. It was a square dance form that was much different from the Eastern Quadrilles and different still from the Kentucky Running Set which was probably the other source. It was more exuberant and much less…

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.…

"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…

Docey-Doe hoedown #2 - Bill Litchman

Caller Bill Litchman calling a mix of traditional figures. He explained, "I used three or four visiting couple figures and then the Colorado-style Docey-Doe each couple following up as the dance progressed." Recorded in the early 1990s in Belgium.

Docey-Doe hoedown #1 - Bill Litchman

Caller Bill Litchman at a dance workshop in Belgium, May, 1991, first teaching the Colorado docey-doe figure, then using it in a called dance, interspersing it with a series of traditional figures: lady round the lady, duck for the oyster, roll the barrel, etc.