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Square Dance Callers’ Association of Northern California

This website offers a brief history of the SDCANC, including a list of past presidents, a selection of older photographs, and information about the founding of the group in 1949.

Prince Edward Island - quadrilles

Bowing Down Home is a detailed website devoted to the fiddle traditions of Prince Edward Island. The site includes videos, photographs, music files, and interviews (both as audio files and as transcriptions). Much of the website is devoted to fiddle music, of course, and there is also a lot of material on PEI step dancing. The site includes an…

Big Set - Berea Country Dancers, 2011

The Berea Country Dancers perform a version of the southern mountain Big Set. (Searching for that term will bring up several dozen additional Related Items.) Paul Adkins called the dance from the floor. As is the custom in this style, for "Partner swing" and "Corner swing" dancers do a two-hand turn just once around.This was was part of the weekly…

Square dance photos, Austin, TX, 1948

Two photographs taken at a square dance in Austin, TX

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Dance - Scotsville Fire Hall, Cape Breton

Documentation of a dance in Scotsville, a small community in Inverness County, in Cape Breton. You'll need to manually go back to the start of the video; for some reason, when this embeds it'sabout halfway through the video. The second half of the video is from a different venue, and includes music and step dancing.

Cape Breton - Inverness Country Dance Traditions

This is a collection of 59 audio and video files collected in 1986 by Barbara Leblanc and Laura Sedowsky for the Canadian Museum of History to document local music and dance traditions. Files include extensive interviews (in English and in French) as well as footage recorded at dances. For an enthusiastic overview and description of the collection,…

Parisian Varieties Quadrille

Mid-19th century quadrille, five figures, with music including waltz, polka, and mazurka.Les Variétés ParisiennesA new Quadrille, composed by the "Société Académique des Professeurs de Danse de Paris," etc. Introduced in America by William B. DeGarmoDeGarmo's 1868 book, The Prompter, is available online for…

Ladies to the Center

This short article by Texas dance historian Olcutt Sanders looks at the role played by women in that state's dance history. Sanders notes the early absence of women:

"A scarcity of woman and a general sparseness of settlement in the Texas cattle country until late in the Nineteenth Century (the frontier broke about 1886) made any kind of…

Waltz Quadrilles

This detailed booklet describes waltz quadrilles, a style of dance enjoyed by dancers in this Oklahoma City group. The author are careful to draw a distinction with traditional dances, and predict that this form (combining square and round dancing) will become popular:

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How many of us recall the old-time waltz quadrilles, the one that…

Herb Greggerson bio

This profile of El Paso caller Herb Greggerson was written in 1946. It mentions Greggerson's Blue Bonnet Set heading off on their first US tour in 1939; this was after the team triumphed over Bob Sumrall's Abilene Set in winning a square dance competition.

Chain Lightning - Butch Nelson (clip)

Another example of Butch Nelson's calling, with fast-paced patter keeping dancers moving briskly. Again, the patter clearly shows the caller's western roots.

"And the coyotes howl and the birdies sing,
Pick up your own and you make a little ring..."

Half Sashay - Butch Nelson (clip)

"Pull up your pants and tighten the tracesAll join hands, we're off to the races."With opening patter like this, we know we're in traditional western square dance territory. Thirty seconds later, when partners meet for a swing, there's barely enough time in the patter to swing once around. We're not in New England!The figure has first couple out to…

Sight Calling - Les Gotcher

Les Gotcher's detailed description offer a look into how he created various sight-calling techniques. He includes a section early on that describes the process he went through to create this method. Subsequent sections discuss equivalents and Sequence ("Not enough can be said, or written about Sequence. Sequence determines everything that is going…

Round Dances

Olcutt Sanders was a Texas dance historian. He writes, "The round dances that are included quite generally on square dance programs these days originated in Europe in the late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries and gradually found their way across the Atlantic and to Texas. They were called round dances, of course, because they are danced by…

Quadrille and Cotillion - history

Part of a history of English country dancing in America, this segment looks at the quadrille and the cotillion.

Caution: The author is mistaken when he asserts, "The French had imported the English country dance about the end of the 17th century and apparently took a special liking to the square formation which occurred in some dances." While…

Hot To Put On & Make Successful The Country Dance Party

This 16-page booklet is credited to Beth Tolman, though it's safe to assume that Ralph Page (her co-author of The Country Dance Book, published in 1937) had a hand in part of the text. It's a simple guide that encourages folks to hold small dance parties: --- You'll have lots of fun giving a country dance party, whether it is held in your kitchen…

Black Hawk Waltz

Black Hawk Waltz is a classic round (or couple) dance. The tune was composed by Mary Walsh in 1877. Here is a link to an illustration of the sheet music cover; you may also view instructions on the Lloyd Shaw Foundation website.The Black Hawk Waltz was one of the dances included by Lloyd Shaw in his Round Dance Book published in 1947. Round dances…

Round Dance history - the early years

Round dancing refers to choreographed couple dances, prompted by a cuer and found as part of most regular programs of modern square dancing, interspersed with the patter calls and singing squares. This short history of round dancing was created by Jim Mayo; the link above takes you to the website of the Square Dance Foundation of New England, from…

Otto and Marguerite Wood – photos

Three photos of Otto Wood (fiddler and dance caller) and Marguerite Wood (pianist and accordion player). In the second photograph, the piano player )seen from the back) is Phil Merrill.