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Promenade (Margot Mayo)

Margo[t] Mayo led the American Square Dance Group in New York.

Photo caption: Miss Margot Mayo and Miss Deska of American Square Dance Group of New York City and Bascom Lamar Lunsford (center), director of the Mountain Music Festival, Asheville, North Carolina

Adirondack Square Dancing

The author describes her experiences traditional square dancing in the Adirondacks from 1918 to 1965, when she began modern squares. This story appeared in the final edition of Ralph Page's Northern Junket magazine.She describes how, as a 19-year-old school teacher (1933), she boarded with a family who had a dance at their house each Saturday…

Ed Durlacher - Central Park, photos

Photographs documenting Ed Durlacher's series of dances in Central Park, New York City. These date from August, 1946.

Hilton Kelly - Catskill fiddler & caller

Article about Catskills fiddler and caller Hilton Kelly, who has been playing and calling square dances in that region of New York for more than 75 years.

Hilton Kelly, Catskill fiddler and caller

Hilton Kelly, of Fleischmanns, New York, is a Catskills fiddler and square dance caller. He started playing in 1932, at age 5, and started calling in 1937. By the time he was 15, he had a regular band and was playing regularly at house parties, schools, and public events throughout the region. In 1953, Kelly says he was doing 6 or 7 dances a week,…

Jean Alve

Jean Alve has been calling squares for more than 50 years. She lives in upstate New York in the town of Spencer, half an hour south of Ithaca. She now calls a weekly two-hour session of "Square, Round, Line & Polka Dancing" at a local senior center. Here is a photo and a 2011 newspaper clipping marking her 50th year as a caller. Ithaca caller…

Jean Alve

Jean Alve has been calling squares for more than 50 years. She lives in upstate New York and now calls a weekly two-hour session of "Square, Round, Line & Polka Dancing" at a local senior center. This footage shows her calling a Virginia Reel square and a singing square, "Bye, Bye, Blues." It was recorded by Earl Kaiser in 2003. More…

Mike Callahan - MWSD Fairport High School Square Dance Competition

Caller Mike Callahan has been teaching square dancing in the Rochester, NY area for many years. Mike reports that he usually does a two day session for this school teaching the students how to square dance. He has found ways to make the dancing fun and this video shows one of those. At the end of his time there a competition is held called the…

Old-Time Music Makers of New York State

"Old-Time Music Makers of New York State is the first book published on this rich legacy of traditional Anglo-American music and dance. It traces the development of old-time music beginning with its movement into New York State from New England in the early nineteenth century and to its combination with commercial country music in the twentieth…

Piute Pete - Village Barn

Piute Pete called squares regularly at the Village Barn in New York City. This newspaper columnist took a less-than-enthusiastic view of the proceedings.

Square Dance and Square Dance Music in Western New York State

Two articles by the pre-eminent scholar of this region's traditional music and dance traditions, and included on the site with the permission of the author. Kimball discusses the history of dances in this region, looks at the dances themselves and their social context, and describes the music commonly played.

An excerpt:
"...As early as the…

Square Dancing in Western New York

The New York Folklore Society produced a number of five-minute radio documentaries featuring the folklife (skills, traditions, stories, music, dance, folk art and material items) found in New York State. This one focuses on the square dance traditions of western New York and the efforts being made to keep those traditions vibrant.The Folklore…

The Country Dance Goes To Town (1940 article)

Article from 1940 extolling the virtues of country dances—square dances, circle dances, and contra—and describing their recent rise in popularity. The author declares that country dances "provide speed, change, hilarity, good fellowship; their music is fast and the steps are varies. And the calls that go with them leave plenty of room for…

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…