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Description of a Quadrille, 1870, West Virginia

Satirical description of a quadrille, from a West Virginia newspaper; no mention is made of a caller

Fifty Miles from Times Square

This is an excerpt from John Cohen's 1972 film, used here by permission of the filmmaker.

caller: Herb Strickland
musicians: Bud Snow, Jay Ungar, Lyn Hardy, Abby Newton, Tom Allen

Fiddler Jay Ungar, seen in the dance footage, writes: "The dances were started by the Concerned Democrats in Putnam County, NY to raise money for the McGovern…

Santa Monica 1950 - Don Ward comments

The Trad-Dance-Callers listserv in 2008 had a discussion that touched on the Santa Monica dance. Don Ward was a participant in that event and he shared a few memories with the group.

Santa Monica 1950 - interview with Bob Osgood

As part of his extensive series of interviews with notable figures in the square dance world, Bob Brundage conducted a lengthy interview with Bob Osgood. Included here is the part of that discussion that dealt with the Santa Monica event. (It has been slightly reformatted by inserting paragraph breaks to improve readibility.) Brundage's…

Santa Monica 1950 - interview with Dan Allen

"Calling All Folk Dancers" was a weekly radio show created by California caller Mildred Buhler. The next show after the Santa Monica dance included an interview with Dan Allen; this is a transcription of that portion of the show. It's valuable as a first-hand account from immediately after the event.

Santa Monica 1950 - Sets in Order

Bob Osgood was editor and publisher of Sets in Order; he was also one of the prime organizers of the Santa Monica event. Here is his magazine's story about the dance.

Santa Monica 1950 - Let's Dance

Cover story about the Santa Monica dance from Let's Dance magazine

Santa Monica 1950 - program

The program was announced ahead of time in Sets in Order magazine, and it's an excellent list of common dances and prominent callers of that era. At the dance itself, a round dance was inserted after every three squares.

Santa Monica 1950 - World's Largest Square Dance

At the time, it was the world's largest square dance event. Santa Monica, California, was celebrating its Diamond Jubilee in square dance style. Lloyd Shaw was invited to be the Grand Marshall of the the parade and he acted as MC for the dance, along with Bob Osgood, on July 13, 1950. Dancing lasted for four hours, and some 30,000 people watched as…

Don Armstrong - square dance

By this time in his long career, Don Armstrong was mostly calling contra dances. In this example, he keeps dancers moving smoothly with a relaxed cadence to his calls.

I Like Mountain Music - Don Armstrong

View full record for details.

Servel Square Dance Club

The Servel Square Dance Club of Evansville, Indiana was formed by employees of the Servel plant, which made refrigerators before and after World War II. In this photo are square dancers, caller Clarence Haller, and the four-piece square dance band. This picture was taken at the Evansville Coliseum in 1950 or 1951.

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 Dance Lessons - Doc Alumbaugh

A series of photographs with text illustrating basic square dance figures. This set, incomplete at the moment, appeared in a Rochester, New York, newspaper in 1950; Alumbaugh led a series of well-attended square dance classes in southern California in the mid and late 1940s. This geographical spread indicates the burgeoning appeal of square dance…

Dancing with Style - Lloyd Shaw

Lloyd Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers took the country by storm on their many cross-country trips; their stylish dancing, and Shaw's ideas on the subject, influenced subsequent generations of dancers, especially in the new movement to what we now term modern square dancing. In his Shaw attempts to explain what he means by stylish dancing.

Bar Nothin' Squares - record ad

This ad for Bar Nothin' Squares, the live album recorded with Bud Udick calling, proclaims proudly, "DON'T USE MONOTONOUS RECORDS WHERE ALL THE COUPLES DO THE SAME THING." It's an early indication of the direction that modern square dancing would go.

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:…