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The Farmer

Square Dancing at the Firemen's Hall in Grafton, OH.

This dance starts as variation of the classic Cut Away Six / Divide the Ring figure, with additional weaving back to place by the lead couple.

The Girl I Left Behind Me (clip) - Lee Bedford, Jr.

In his brief look at the development of singing calls, Tony Parkes cites the publication of this dance in 1928 as "the earliest description of a singing square I've found so far (in fairly shallow digging)." This SDHP website includes an 1893 reference, plus other early mentions of the dance.

The Great American Folk Dance

The caller featured in many sequences is Bob Van Antwerp. This film was produced by KBYU, Provo, Utah, produced in cooperation with the Associated Square Dance Clubs of Utah. The original film had deteriorated in color fidelity; this is an attempt to do some rudimentary color correction.

Creative Commons license:…

The History of Square-Dancing - S. Foster Damon

The History of Square Dancing, published by S. Foster Damon in 1957, is one of the few books that presents a broad picture of the subject. The book was a reprint of his 1952 article published in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society.Dance caller and researcher Fred Feild summarizes Damon's main points about the development of squares…

The Independence (PA) Lancers

For moving images of the dance, click here and hereThis is Bob Dalsemer's account of discovering an old dance form maintained in a rural Pennsylvania community:"On two occasions in 1979, I had the good fortune to visit the bi-weekly Saturday night square dance at the Grange Hall in Independence, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.…

The Lancers - Ralph Page's historical notes

In the pages of his Northern Junket magazine, caller and dance historian Ralph Page enjoyed sharing articles based on his dance research. He included a six-part series on the Lancers. California caller and choreographer Chris Page (no relation) created a highly personal index to some of his favorite pieces from the magazine, including links to this…

The Lloyd Shaw Foundation in Action

This 1972 film describes the many activities of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation at that time. The movie was written and narrated by Don Armstrong, and produced and edited by Truett Myers.

In addition to dance sequences—squares, contras, rounds—there are scenes of caller training classes, teaching dances to children, and singing.

The Ninepin (Liberty) - Donald "Jake" Jacoby - Maryland Line Square Dance, 1974:

Recorded by Bob Dalsemer, January 5, 1974 at the Maryland Line Fire Hall, Maryland Line, MD.
Caller: Donald "Jake" Jacoby
Band: The Saw Mill Boys

Each square has an extra woman standing in the center (the Ninepin). When the caller calls "all five ladies to the center" all five women circle left in the center of the square until the caller says…

The Roberts - couple dance

Couple dance that was part of the regular program of dances at many New England dances. Here it's being danced by the New England Chestnuts performance group at the berth of the USS Constitution in Boston harbor. Musicians include Walter Lenk, Jack O'Connor, Debby Knight, and Dave Langford.

The Route - Bob Dalsemer

Recorded at Dare To Be Square, Seattle, 2009

The Route - Rickey Holden

Rickey Holden calling a classic square dance figure, alternately called The Rout or The Route. Rather than a full walkthrough, he gives only a general introduction, setting up the dancers for some lively confusion partway through. In addition to the usual right and left through and ladies chain, he finishes with a series of dip and dive figures.…

The Route - Tony Parkes

The caller is Tony Parkes; musicians are Yankee Ingenuity (Jack O'Connor, mandolin; Mary Lea, fiddle; Cal Howard, bass; Peter Barnes, piano), joined by Steve Hickman, fiddle and harmonica. Filmed by Bob Dalsemer in 1992 at the Scout House, Concord, MA. The dance is sometimes spelled "Route," perhaps because that word is in some parts of the country…

The Rural Square Dance in the Northeastern United States: A Continuity of Tradition

This doctoral thesis in folklore is based on a study of square dances in New York state, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Especially interesting are the descriptions of traditional dances, based on the author's observation, and interviews with dancers, augmented with questionnaires.The author notes the difficulties of collecting information from…

The Shuffle - Phil Jamison - Southern Appalachian squares

Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. Phil described this simple figure as a common dance from the area around Mount Airy, NC, and Galax, VA.

This was recorded at Dare To Be Square on November 19, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk…

The Slave Roots of Square Dancing

This is an easily-read summary of a scholarly article by Phil Jamison on the African-American roots of southern Appalachian dance and, in particular, the pivotal role played by African-American musicians and callers. The summary notes, "Today, few people know about the pivotal role black people once played in helping develop American dance…

The Slow One - Dudley Laufman

Dance as called by Lyn Cady, though Dudley said he's at a loss as to the title since it was always done at the same speed as every other square. He identifies the tune as Solomon Levi, though the tune here lacks the part found in Solomon Levi squares, where the dancers la-la-la along to the music.

Dudley Laufman calls a program of "Old Time…

There Is a Tavern in the Town / Three Ladies Chain - Dudley Laufman

To the tune of "There Is a Tavern in the Town," Dudley Laufman calls as part of the "Square Dance" Retrospective session at the annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend in Durham, NH. The musicians are Old New England (Bob McQuillen piano; Jane Orzechowski, fiddle; and Deanna Stiles, flute).Complete instructions for the dance will be found in the…

This Land Is Your Land - Bob Howell

The caller is Bob Howell; is is a clip from the "Joy of Dancing" video issued by the Kentucky Dance Foundation and used with permission. Kentucky Dance Foundation, c/o Folk Dancer Record Center, 6290 Olin Road, Brandenburg, Kentucky 40108.