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"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…

Goal Post variation - Rickey Holden

Caller Rickey Holden calls a sequence of easy figures at a workshop in Taastrup, Denmark, August 19, 2005. It's similar to a Goal Post" routine except that Rickey has the active dancers swing behind the inactives rather than go around them. The end of the dance incorporates a Birdie in the Cage routine.

Pearl Beer square dance commercial

This mid-1950s advertisement for Pearl Beer features San Antonio television personality Thomas Reynolds. The square dancers are dancing in the West Texas style popularized in the 1930s by caller Bob Sumrall. Known as the "Abilene lift," the dance style has dancers doing a 1-2-3 shuffle step with a slight lift during the brief pause after the third…

10th National Square Dance Convention - Detroit, 1961

Two television stories about the 10th Annual National Square Dance Convention, Cobo Hall, Detroit, recorded June 30, 1961. The reporter in both programs is Shelby Newhouse.The first is a half-hour broadcast, probably aired on local television. The second is shorter, and was aired nationally as part of the Today show, where host Edwin Newman gives…

Denver Wagon Wheel / Triple Duck - Rickey Holden (dance)

Caller Rickey Holden teaches the "triple duck" figure, also known as the Denver Wagon Wheel. (In his "Square Dances of West Texas" book, Holden credits the figure to Joe Lang, of Denver.) Another video on this site video shows that figure being taught. Recorded in Denmark, 1999.

Denver Wagon Wheel / Triple Duck - Rickey Holden (instr.)

Caller Rickey Holden teaches the "triple duck" figure, also known as the Denver Wagon Wheel. (In his "Square Dances of West Texas" booklet, Holden credits the figure to Joe Lang, of Denver.) A subsequent video shows that figure being danced. Recorded in Denmark in 1999. The accompanying diagram shows the key figure.

My Little Girl - singing square - Gene Ward

Singing square dance called by Gene Ward; recorded at the Original Dulcimer Players Non-Electrical Funfest, Evart, Michigan, July 18-22, 1990. Ward, a caller from Durand, Michigan (near Flint), was the headliner for the Michigan Dance Heritage Fall Dance Camp, September 1988, in Lexington, MI.

Musician and caller Glen Morningstar Jr. shared this…

Pam McKeever - Cheyenne Mountain Dancers demo

Pam McKeever is the caller; the dancers are demonstrating a routine like that used by Lloyd Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers in the late 1930s and 1940s. You'll note a series of dramatic aerial figures that helped make the Cheyenne dancers such a sensation as they toured the country. The musicians are Brendan Doyle, banjo; Chris Romaine, fiddle;…

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.

Teacup Chain - Bill Litchman

Caller Bill Litchman at a dance workshop in Belgium, May, 1991, teaching the Teacup Chain figure and using it in a series of dances. The figure is credited to Mrs. Pat Morrison Lewkowicz, Austin, Texas.

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…

Square Dancing in Western New York

The New York Folklore Society produced a number of five-minute radio documentaries featuring the folklife (skills, traditions, stories, music, dance, folk art and material items) found in New York State. This one focuses on the square dance traditions of western New York and the efforts being made to keep those traditions vibrant.The Folklore…

Colorado dancing - Cal Campbell

Dance caller Cal Campbell started dancing at age 6 in 1943; he has written a series of reminiscences of his experiences growing up in a small Colorado town and the vital role that dancing played in the social life of that community."Dancing in Uruvan and Rifle" begins with his parents meeting at a dance in 1934; "The Girl in the Gingham Dress" is a…

Square Dance attendance & new calls

This slide contains two graphs, part of a presentation by Guy Steele on "The Mathematics of Square Dance Singing Calls," complete with dancers from MIT's Tech Squares group demonstrating figures. You can watch Part I of Steele's talk here.The first graph shows the rise and fall of attendance at the National Square Dance Convention, which peaked in…

Square Dancers from Ava, Missouri, 1989

These two clips show dancers from the Missouri Ozarks with the characteristic jig stepping of that region.The first clip features Edna Davis as caller.In the second clip, Steve Hall isaccompanied by Kenny Applebee of Rush Hill and Nolan Sutton of Salem. They are playing Liberty and Ragtime Annie for square dancers from Ava and Rolla.

Virginia square dance, 1925, silent movie

This silent movie footage, created by Fox News, shows dancers and fiddlers recorded in an outdoor setting in Quitman [sic], Virginia. We cannot identify this location since it does not show up on current maps.

Grapevine Twist - Beth Molaro

Recorded at Augusta Dance Week in 1997, with caller Beth Molaro and the Volo Bogtrotters. This item includes two audio files. (Be patient... the second clip is longer and may take longer to load.) 1) Beth's walkthrough of the figures. She acknowledges West Virginia caller Mack Samples and says she's going to try to call it in his style. Beth…

Shoot the Owl - Beth Molaro

Augusta Dance Heritage, Elkins, West Virginia, 1997; the band is the Volo Bogtrotters.