"Rubber Crutches" - YouTube channel
Dan Freligh calls a regular dance in Saegertown, Pennsylvania, 45 minutes south of Erie. He has created a YouTube channel with nearly three dozen dances from his series.
Among the singing calls on his channel:
- Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight
- Wabash Cannonball
- Bully of the Town
- Red River Valley
- Spanish Caballero
- Little Red Caboose
- Buffalo Gals
- Pistol Packin' Mama
- Lady Round the Lady
- Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane
- Wreck of the Old 97
From an e-mail exchange in 2012:
What you see in the videos that I have posted is pretty much part of a "normal" dance night here for these folks. The style is, of course, hung over from the time period of 1920-1954... and is the distant relative of the Modern Western Style Square Dancing which was derived from this style. Many of the people here have been dancing this same style since it was popular back then... and we also have some young people who are learning this style from the older folks, as you can see in some of the videos. That has been how this style has survived all these years in this area, passed down from generation to generation.
It looks like you have footage posted so far from three different nights, and it seems to be always the same couple lined up as first couple in front of the camera. Do your dancers generally keep partners and dance in the same sets from one evening to the next?
In early America, much like in some places today, folks going to church seemed to always sit in the very same pews each Sunday. That same "feel" and that same "attitude" seems to prevail in this environment. Actually, right down to "whose seat is whose" when they come in the door and sit at the tables provided. They all seem to have their own seats, and newcomers coming in for the first time seem to discover that fact unexpectedly in very short order when it is announced to them: "...well, that's 'my' seat, but you are welcome to sit with us."
Sometimes the evolution in attitudes found in group dynamics is difficult to understand or alter. I'm the new guy here, and the hall and the square dancers are pre-existing... so in respect for the environment, and in allowing myself sufficient time to study the people prior to any necessary changes that "might" be necessary... I think that time to study them and the videos is important first. Then make gradual changes where necessary.
I am relatively a new caller to these people. In the past, I have danced both Eastern Style as well as Modern Western Style, and I even taught Modern Western Style Square Dancing for a local YMCA as well as for the University at Indiana, PA in their eurythmics department while I was doing my undergraduate study there. But, with these guys, I’ve only been on the scene here for about three years. These folks have virtually danced an unorganized “slop” for a lot of years, and I’m the new guy on the scene as far as they are concerned, so the changes to tradition have to be gradual over time to be effective.
The appearance of some of these folks is deceiving at times. We have a lot of people who are in their mid 80s to mid 90s in the group. We have lost a few to death, but none to any nursing facilities. They all keep very active in their dancing and many have been dancing longer than I am old, and I am currently 60. So, a good majority of these folks were dancing during the 1920-1954 traditional square dance era... and still are.
The folks here are pretty much old time country dance hall. You will see polkas, waltzes, schottisches, square dancing, 2 steps, and even a little classic rock along with the electric slide, the cha cha slide, and the cupid shuffle... but around here, Hank Williams Sr and Ernest Tubb still survive.
I seem to be in a "hot spot" within the country where this type of dancing is "still" the "norm"... so I don't care to pass up the opportunity to record it while I can.