Show Menu

Browse Items: 1345

The Afro-American Transformation of European Set Dances and Dance Suites

Scholarly article that looks at the way that European set dances such as the quadrille became changed by African Americans. The article looks in detail at the quadrille tradition in the Caribbean islands as well as on the US mainland:"It is well acknowledged that the court dances which developed in Europe from the seventeenth century onward spread…

The Barn Dance Returns! (1937 article)

Article in Recreation magazine giving detailed directions for holding a barn dance:

"There is joy and laughter, rollicking rhythm, sociability and informality in barn and country dancing which is largely lacking in the more sophisticated social dances of today. Perhaps that is why the barn dance is returning. Once young people-and the…

The Basket - Ed Durlacher

Honor Your Partner was a series of rhythmic activities and dance albums, more than 20 in all, released by Ed Durlacher starting in 1949 and extending into the 1950s. This is the final dance on album 3; the dance introduces a basket figure for two, three, and four couples.

The Beginnings of Modern Square Dancing - Jim Mayo

Article by Jim Mayo looking at the transition from traditional to modern square dancing, a short version of the ideas presented at length in his book.

The Birth of the Cotillion and the Quadrille, French Contredanses

This is a translation of Simonne Voyer's article, "La naissance du cotillon et du quadrille, contredanses françaises."The translation is by Susan Kevra, Senior Lecturer in French and American Studies, Vanderbilt University, as well as a caller of American contras and squares and English country dances.

The Buzzards' Glory Barn Dance 1928–1966

In the early 1970s, Bob Dalsemer heard about a dance series in Albanstown, northern Baltimore County, Maryland; the dances were no longer being held so he interviewed two sources to create this portrait of the local square dance.

The Caller - Jonesy

A list of qualifications and items to consider for would-be square dance callers

The Country Dance Goes To Town (1940 article)

Article from 1940 extolling the virtues of country dances—square dances, circle dances, and contra—and describing their recent rise in popularity. The author declares that country dances "provide speed, change, hilarity, good fellowship; their music is fast and the steps are varies. And the calls that go with them leave plenty of room for…

The Farmer

Square Dancing at the Firemen's Hall in Grafton, OH.

This dance starts as variation of the classic Cut Away Six / Divide the Ring figure, with additional weaving back to place by the lead couple.

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.

The Great American Folk Dance

The caller featured in many sequences is Bob Van Antwerp. This film was produced by KBYU, Provo, Utah, produced in cooperation with the Associated Square Dance Clubs of Utah. The original film had deteriorated in color fidelity; this is an attempt to do some rudimentary color correction.

Creative Commons license:…

The History of Square-Dancing - S. Foster Damon

The History of Square Dancing, published by S. Foster Damon in 1957, is one of the few books that presents a broad picture of the subject. The book was a reprint of his 1952 article published in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society.Dance caller and researcher Fred Feild summarizes Damon's main points about the development of squares…

The Independence (PA) Lancers

For moving images of the dance, click here.This is Bob Dalsemer's account of discovering an old dance form maintained in a rural Pennsylvania community:"On two occasions in 1979, I had the good fortune to visit the bi-weekly Saturday night square dance at the Grange Hall in Independence, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. I found…

The Lancers - Ralph Page's historical notes

In the pages of his Northern Junket magazine, caller and dance historian Ralph Page enjoyed sharing articles based on his dance research. He included a six-part series on the Lancers. California caller and choreographer Chris Page (no relation) created a highly personal index to some of his favorite pieces from the magazine, including links to this…

The Lloyd Shaw Foundation in Action

This 1972 film describes the many activities of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation at that time. The movie was written and narrated by Don Armstrong, and produced and edited by Truett Myers.

In addition to dance sequences—squares, contras, rounds—there are scenes of caller training classes, teaching dances to children, and singing.

The Ninepin (Liberty) - Donald "Jake" Jacoby - Maryland Line Square Dance, 1974:

Recorded by Bob Dalsemer, January 5, 1974 at the Maryland Line Fire Hall, Maryland Line, MD.
Caller: Donald "Jake" Jacoby
Band: The Saw Mill Boys

Each square has an extra woman standing in the center (the Ninepin). When the caller calls "all five ladies to the center" all five women circle left in the center of the square until the caller says…

The Route - Bob Dalsemer

Recorded at Dare To Be Square, Seattle, 2009

The Route - Tony Parkes

The caller is Tony Parkes; musicians are Yankee Ingenuity (Jack O'Connor, mandolin; Mary Lea, fiddle; Cal Howard, bass; Peter Barnes, piano), joined by Steve Hickman, fiddle and harmonica. Filmed by Bob Dalsemer in 1992 at the Scout House, Concord, MA. The dance is sometimes spelled "Route," perhaps because that word is in some parts of the country…

The Rural Square Dance in the Northeastern United States: A Continuity of Tradition

This doctoral thesis in folklore is based on a study of square dances in New York state, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Especially interesting are the descriptions of traditional dances, based on the author's observation, and interviews with dancers, augmented with questionnaires.The author notes the difficulties of collecting information from…