Square Dance History Project
The rich story of North American square dance finally has a home in the digital age.

About the Square Dance History Project

Square dancing has been an integral part of American social life for centuries. Traditional square dance was vital for generations of Americans, especially in rural communities; in the post-World War II era, modern square dance similarly enjoyed participants numbering in the millions.

Despite its popularity, the history of square dance has not been well documented. Scores of books explain specific figures and calls, but there is no current source that offers a detailed discussion of the development of this form of American social dance. We hope this site helps to fill that need.

Document

Chicago Syllabus - Ralph Page, 1959

This is the square dance portion of a syllabus prepared by Ralph Page for a 1959 institute in Chicago. It's much smaller than similar syllabi prepared by Page, perhaps because he focused more on… View item
Document

"Meet Your Honey, Go Hog Wild"

This collection of anecdotes describes early dances and social norms in Texas cowboy country. View item
Document

Jack Fomby - bio

Bio of Jack Fomby, Sweetwater, Texas View item
Document

Jimmy Clossin - bio

Biography of Jimmy Clossin, from 1947. Although SDHP has numerous items related to Clossin, we would love to add an audio file of his calling. To the best of our knowledge, he never recorded… View item
Document

Texas Callers - 1948

This cover fromFoot 'n' Fiddle magazine puts the spotlight on six prominent Texas callers: Jack Fomby, Jimmy Clossin, Ray Smith, Grady Wilson, Red Smith and Bob Sumrall. Texas dancers and callers… View item
Sound

Comin' Round the Mountain - Bob Van Antwerp

Bob Van Antwerp, an important and early West Coast caller, was one of the founders of CALLERLAB. It's easy to forget that such individuals also had roots in traditional squares, as you can hear in… View item
Moving Image

Cut Off Six - Alex Boustead

Alex Boustead was one of the founders of the Canadian Olde Tyme Square Dance Callers' Association, a group formed in 1954 to preserve and promote Canadian square dancing. Recorded November 17, 2001,… View item