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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 local people, and the dances were called by local neighbors. ... The early dances were all-night affairs and the waltzes, polkas, schottisches, and other…

Docey-Doe hoedown #2 - Bill Litchman

Caller Bill Litchman calling a mix of traditional figures. He explained, "I used three or four visiting couple figures and then the Colorado-style Docey-Doe each couple following up as the dance progressed." Recorded in the early 1990s in Belgium.

Docey-Doe hoedown #1 - Bill Litchman

Caller Bill Litchman at a dance workshop in Belgium, May, 1991, first teaching the Colorado docey-doe figure, then using it in a called dance, interspersing it with a series of traditional figures: lady round the lady, duck for the oyster, roll the barrel, etc.

Teacup Chain - Bill Litchman

Caller Bill Litchman at a dance workshop in Belgium, May, 1991, teaching the Teacup Chain figure and using it in a series of dances. The figure is credited to Mrs. Pat Morrison Lewkowicz, Austin, Texas.

Traditional Western Square Dances 3b - Heads to the Center, Sides Divide

Bill Litchman taught this dance as part of his session (November 19, 2011) on Traditional Western Squares at the Dare To Be Square Weekend, John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. Co-sponsored by the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), the event brought together six experienced callers representing different styles of traditional and modern…

Goin' Uptown - Bill Litchman

Bill Litchman calls at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC.

Musicians are Steve Hickman and Claudio Buchwald, fiddles; Jim Morrison, guitar; Sam Bartlett, banjo. The tune is "Lady of the Lake" (from John Ashby).

The weekend was sponsored by the Folk School and by Country…

Box the Gnat - Bill Litchman

Bill Litchman calls at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC.

Musicians are Steve Hickman and Claudio Buchwald, fiddles; Jim Morrison, guitar; Sam Bartlett, banjo. The tune is "Green Willis."

The weekend was sponsored by the Folk School and by Country Dance and Song…

Northern Lights - Bill Litchman

Dance written by Floyd Parker, Colorado, danced at the 2011 Dare To Be Square dance weekend in Brasstown, NC, called by Bill Litchman. Dance directions are available, as is an audio clip of the original recording. The tune is Blackberry Quadrille.

Bill Litchman - Rocky Mountain Square Dancing

(To open the PDF document, click on the underlined link to the right.)This overview of square dance history focuses on two major groups of square dance. One group (northern, Eastern, Maritime, etc.) relies on quadrille-style figures, with couples interacting across the set; this style is prompted like a contra. The second form is found in the…

Chain 2 Ladies, Chain 3 Ladies - Bill Litchman - Traditional Western Square Dances 2b

(This clip shows the actual dance; a separate video shows the walkthrough.)

Bill Litchman taught this dance as part of his session (November 19, 2011) on Traditional Western Squares at the Dare To Be Square Weekend, John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. Co-sponsored by the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), the event brought together…

Sally Goodin and a Docey Doe - Bill Litchman - Traditional Western Square Dances 5b

Caller: Bill Lit chman. This clip shows the actual dance; a separate video shows the walkthrough. Once the dance gets going, Bill throws in patter using lyrics to the song Mountain Dew. Bill Litchman learned the dance from the calling of Marvin Shilling, Walsenburg, Colorado. It may have originated with Ray Smith, of Texas, and thence to Herb…

Traditional Western Square Dances 4 - Docey Out as She Comes In

Bill Litchman taught this dance as part of his session (November 19, 2011) on Traditional Western Squares at the Dare To Be Square Weekend, John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. Co-sponsored by the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), the event brought together six experienced callers representing different styles of traditional and modern…

Heads to the Center walkthrough - Bill Litchman - Traditional Western Square Dances 3a

(A separate video is available of the actual dance; this is the walkthrough.)

Bill Litchman taught this dance as part of his session (November 19, 2011) on Traditional Western Squares at the Dare To Be Square Weekend, John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. Co-sponsored by the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), the event brought…

Sally Goodin walkthrough - Bill Litchman - Traditional Western Square Dances 5a

Dance: "Sally Goodin with a Docey-do," devised by Marvin Shilling, Walsenburg, Colorado (based on the traditional dance "Sally Goodin")

This is the walkthrough; a separate video shows the actual dance.

Bill Litchman taught this dance as part of his session (November 19, 2011) on Traditional Western Squares at the Dare To Be Square Weekend,…

Forward 6, Fall Back 8 - Bill Litchman

Bill Litchman, caller, in the traditional western style of square dance. This clip includes a walkthrough.

Recorded at Dare To Be Square, Brasstown, NC, November 19, 2011.

Musicians for this session were Steve Hickman and Jim Morrison, fiddles; Claudio Buchwald, piano; and Sam Bartlett, banjo. The tune is "Turkey in the Straw."

DTBS Callers & musicians

The callers are joined by the musicians from the Dare To Be Square Weekend. Front row: Jim Morrison, guitar and fiddle; Sam Bartlett, banjo; Claudio Buchwald, piano and fiddle; Steve Hickman, fiddle

Brasstown Callers

The six callers at Dare To Be Square, Brasstown, NC, 2011. They are also consultants to this Square Dance History Project. From left to right: Phil Jamison, Bill Litchman, Larry Edelman, Tony Parkes, Bob Dalsemer, and Jim Mayo

Bill Litchman 2b - Lloyd Shaw, part 2

Bill Litchman continues his discussion about educator Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw and the important role he played in square dance. Here, he focuses on the impact that Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers had in creating interest in squares, how Shaw's summer classes started, and a description of Shaw's philosophy of dance.

Interview conducted 18 November…

Bill Litchman 2a - Lloyd Shaw, part 1

An interview with caller Bill Litchman about educator Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw and the important role he played in square dance. Many see Shaw as a defining figure in the transition from traditional to modern squares. Certainly his demonstration team of high school students, the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, attracted great attention and got viewers excited…

Bill Litchman 3 - Dorothy Shaw

Lloyd Shaw is the name that is widely recognized as an important figure in square dance history; here, caller Bill Litchman describes the crucial role played by Dorothy Shaw, his wife, and says that she had the greatest influence on him of anyone in his development as a caller and dancer.