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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…

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.

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…

Ed Durlacher - Central Park, photos

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

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

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…

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…

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…

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,…