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SDFNE 1960's Era Recordings

Jim Mayo undertook a project to use the Square Dance Foundation of New England's audio archives and locate representative samples of square dance calling from the time period when Modern Western square dancing was taking off, but before the call Swing Thru was invented.

For each caller he has collected a representative patter tip and singing…

Hash with Daisy Chain - Jim Mayo

Jim Mayo calls a simple set of hash calls at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. Many of the dancers on the floor had never before experienced modern square dancing—no walkthroughs!—and Jim was getting a sense of how the crowd would respond to that. In this square,…

Bill Litchman - Rocky Mountain Square Dancing

(To open the PDF document, click on the underlined link to the right.)This overview of square dance history focuses on two major groups of square dance. One group (northern, Eastern, Maritime, etc.) relies on quadrille-style figures, with couples interacting across the set; this style is prompted like a contra. The second form is found in the…

Wheel and Deal (clip) - Les Gotcher

excerpt from a live recording in the early 1960s

Hashing the Breaks (clip) - Les Gotche

Les Gotcher was the self-proclaimed king of hash. Here's an example of his calling. Square dance enthusiasts who followed him from dance to dance in New England in the 1950s noticed, though, that he called the same sequence of figures; this in no way detracted from the excitement for the dancers. The caller making up figures on the fly was an…

Let's Stop Hashing Our Squares

This essay, written more than 60 years ago, speaks to the longstanding tension between those who like predictable dance figures and those who seek continual variety. The author admits "that I am just as guilty as those I condemn. Perhaps in the past I have been, but after giving much thought to the matter, in the past year I have quite generally…

Shredded Hash - Lloyd and Myrtis Litman

Several years after the 1962 publication of Instant Hash by Lloyd Litman and Rickey Holden, Shredded Hash was created by Litman and his wife, Myrtis. An unusual aid for callers seeking choreographic variety, the book's pages were divided in three sections so that each section could be turned independently. The top section gave a series of calls…