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

Browse Items (101 total)

  • Subject is exactly "Traditional Western (pre-1940)"
Moving Image

"Abilene lift" - Rickey Holden

Caller Rickey Holden calls and dances the "Abilene lift," a style of movement created and popularized by west Texas caller Bob Sumrall. The 1-2-3 shuffle of feet gave the dancers a smooth movement;… View item
Moving Image

Texan Whirl - Rickey Holden

Rickey Holden calling the Texan Whirl figure attributed to caller Bob Sumrall, an influential caller starting in the 1930s in Abilene and other West Texas communities. The distinctive part has the… View item
Document

A Look at Square Dancing in Colorado

"Square dancing evolved a western version probably sometime in the late 1800s when the pioneers moved to settle the states west of the Mississippi. It was a square dance form that was much… View item
Document

Western Square Dances at Fox Creek, Colorado (ca. 1880-1930)

Article based on conversations with Bessie Stafford from the San Luis Valley, western Colorado. "In these early days, the dances were held outside on the hard dirt, the music being supplied by… View item
Document

American Country Dancing on Colorado's West Slope

The article is based on oral history collected in 1979, though no footnotes or direct quotations are included. Instead, it is a generalized summary of the author's findings. "Depending on… View item
Document

Abilene Lift - Rickey Holden

An early description by Rickey Holden of the so-called "Abilene lift," a distinctive style of incorporating a two-steps into square dance movement. View item
Document

Texas Cowboys - dance poems and lore

A collection of pieces related to square dance in southwest cowboy culture, published in 1925 View item
Document

Cowboys' Christmas Ball - Anson, Texas

Poem written in 1890 describing the Cowboys' Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas. For more information about the author, see this website on cowboy poetry. The Ball continues, following the original rules… View item
Sound

Four Bachelor Boys - Richard Kraus

Let's Square Dance!, Album 5 View item
Document

"The Texas Cattle Country and Cowboy Square Dance" – Olcutt Sanders

This article, scholarly yet accessible, provides an excellent look at square dancing in west Texas in the late 1800s. He starts with a look at the conditions that set this region apart from… View item
Document

1940 Texas Square Dance Contest

Newspaper accounts of a square dance competition won by Bob Sumrall's Abilene set. The story goes into detail about each of the six competing teams,naming each of the dancers, the judges, and… View item
Document

Bob Sumrall - Olcutt Sanders correspondence, 1939

These letters between Bob Sumrall and J. Olcutt Sanders provide a glimpse into Texas square dances in the late 1930s. Sanders was a serious student of square dance history, part of a group of… View item