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Tri-State History Panel, 1988

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Tri-State History Panel, 1988


This presentation by three of the early “Modern” square dance callers in New England is a personal look at the transition from traditional New England square dancing into what is known today as Modern Western Square Dancing (MWSD). The presentation was filmed at a meeting of the Tri-State Callers Association, representing square dance callers from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Joe Casey, Jim Mayo and Tom Potts each started dancing traditional New England squares. When Al Brundage, Charlie Baldwin and, yes, even Ralph Page attended Lloyd Shaw’s summer sessions in Colorado in 1949, Al and Charlie returned with new ideas for square dancing. (Page stuck to more traditional New England styling and argued against MWSD in his Northern Junket magazine.)

Soon clubs were formed and new calls added. The three panelists made the transition into this new style and remained active for several decades. Their description of the development of what became a hugely successful activity includes many personal details and stories. New England was a prime destination for most of the early traveling callers.

The time of this presentation, 1988, was close to the peak for MWSD in New England. There were close to 5,000 dancers at the NE Convention that year and more than 400 clubs with an average attendance of about 10 squares at usually monthly weekend dances. This panel provides an insiders' description of the early days of that growth.


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March 20, 1988


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