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Jerry Helt

This is a short clip from a tip called by Jerry Helt at the 1954 National Square Dance Convention in Dallas, Texas.The choreography is the "classic" figure Texas Whirlwind.

Jimmy Clossin - card, biography, flyer, letter, news story

Jimmy Clossin was an influential Texas caller who unfortunately never recorded commercially. (This Square Dance History Site would dearly love to post clips from live recordings—please contact us if you know of any.) Shown here are several items: • his business card • a letter in which he outlines his terms to call for a club…

My Little Girl - Ed Gilmore

This is a short clip from a tip called by Ed Gilmore at the 1954 National Square Dance Convention in Dallas, Texas. Ed is singing the dance My Little Girl.

Ray Smith - Sally Goodin and a Do-Si-Do

Ray Smith was the "Caller of the Month" in Let's Dance magazine, published by the Folk Dance Federation of California, Northern Section.

Red Warrick - Dip and Dive (clip)

The dip and dive figures appear in many variations in the square dance repertoire. One common singing square has the figures set to the tune Redwing, while other callers chant the figures to Little Brown Jug. Here, Red Warrick chants the figures in a steady, rhythmic patter that does not fit the phrase of the music. Other examples of the dip and…

Red Warrick - Heel and Toe (clip)

Texas caller Red Warrick, on a rare recording on the Dude label, with music by Till's Square Dance Band. (See related materials here.) The tune is Golden Slippers, but this recording provides an excellent example of calls that are not phrased to the tune. For a caller of traditional New England material, this would be heresy, but Warrick is…

Square Dance Clubs, Texas Style

This is a detailed description of the organizational plan of the Sally Goodin square dance club of Houston, Texas, which followed a common Texas model at the time:

"Most of the square dancing is done in square dance clubs organized solely for this purpose, conducted entirely by the members, and with no profit except to the orchestra and in some…

Square Dance festival programs

This collection of more than two dozen festival programs from the 1940s until early 1960s gives a good sense of what material was being called as well as names of featured callers.

In chronological order, the festival programs in this collection are:
Texas, 1948
Albuquerque, 1949
Minnesota, Winona, 1949
Minnesota, Winona,…

Square Dance Institute - Rickey Holden, 1950

Syllabus of a workshop led by Holden in Massachusetts in 1950, introducing Texas style square dancing to New England dancers. In addition to notes on figures and styling, this handout included directions for some sample Texas dances. From the introductory remarks:

"One of the most common misconceptions about Western square dancing is that all of…

Square Dances With Calls - Lee Bedford, Jr.

In 1949, Texas caller Lee Bedford released on Imperial Records a four-album set of recordings with music provided by The Big D Ranch Hands. The liner notes, written by Paul Erfer, start by noting, "The interpretation of the figures described follows the style of square dancing as dances in some parts of Texas."Each record had a patter call on the A…

Texas Square Dances - Rickey Holden

This is a detailed description of three Texas squares, presented by Rickey Holden as an exhibition dance at the fourth annual New England Folk Festival, November 15–16, 1947. Holden based much of his material on Herb's Blue Bonnet Calls (Herb Greggerson, 1946).Holden had originally wanted to present three dances intact, as they are described…

The Girl I Left Behind Me (clip) - Lee Bedford, Jr.

In his brief look at the development of singing calls, Tony Parkes cites the publication of this dance in 1928 as "the earliest description of a singing square I've found so far (in fairly shallow digging)." This SDHP website includes an 1893 reference, plus other early mentions of the dance.

West Texans Do It Differently

In this 1949 article, caller Jimmy Clossin describes some of the distinguishing characteristics of west Texas square dance:

"Many people think when Western Square Dancing is mentioned that we have only one type in the West. That is not true. While there is a similarity between all western square dancing that would lead one not familiar with the…