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Swing Your Partners! (1940 article)

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Swing Your Partners! (1940 article)

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Article published in 1940, profiling Lloyd Shaw and his Cheyenne Mountain Dancers.

"One of the most colorful and enthusiastic of the square dance revivalists is Dr. Lloyd Shaw, principal of the Cheyenne Mountain public school, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he has inspired into being twenty-five different square dance groups. Most of them meet every week. All of them grow at every meeting. Night workers, not to be deprived of the fun, have organized their own club for afternoon dancing. Square dance nights in the city municipal auditorium over-crowd the huge floor space with brightly costumed sets and pack the galleries with envious itching-footed spectators. ...

"It was only four years ago that the old American forms began to interest him. They delighted the youngsters, they suited Shaw's noisy vigorous personality. Today he can call every turn, every pungent line of patter for ninety different square and country dances. Directing a dance, he rears arrogantly, joyously back on his heels, his head high. His voice booms forth, now harshly unpleasant, now laughing, now singing off-key, melodramatic, pleading, sentimental, but as compelling at the pit of the stomach as a fog horn, a police siren or the tremolo stop of a pipe organ. He is so shrewd and adaptable that he can run off with roaring success a square dance for hypercritical college youth, or for San Luis Valley ranchers, or for society sophisticates in a country club. ...

"Men particularly enjoy the cowboy's dances. I have seen them by the score. And they are not young ballroom hounds and slickers. They are the postmaster, the dentist, the minister, the bank cashier, and lumber dealer, the football coach, the milk man, the millionaire mining engineer, the WPA truck driver.

"In a group they share movements larger, freer, more massive than any a man could achieve alone or while holding up a woman and pushing her around backwards. And so they can extend themselves. Their arms swing and their heels fly. Warming to the fun they grow red in the face, slap their hands, lustily sing, and sweat with the unashamed frankness of harvest hands.

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November 1940

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