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La naissance du cotillon et du quadrille, contredanses françaises

Article (in French) by Simonne Voyer, who is the author of La danse traditionnelle dans l'est du Canada: quadrilles et cotillons. For a translation in English by Susan Kevra, click here.

Late Eighteenth-Century Social Dance (article)

Article that provides a summary of 18th century dance, including the contredanse française, a dance for four couples in a square. Also offers links to documents in the Library of Congress website of dance manuals.

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Nineteenth Century Social Dance (article)

Library of Congress overview of dance history, including links to specific books in their collection.

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Amish Barn Dance

Article from Pennsylvania Folklife (winter 1962-63) describing how a traditional community with no electricity hosts events with large crowds: "The most disturbing technical problem that faces the host is that when 200 to 300 of the Amish get together at a dance it is difficult to hear the music." Illustrated with photographs.

Santa Monica Diamond Jubilee - 1950

List of Dances to be Featured July 13,1950 at
Santa Monica's Diamond Jubilee

SQUARES (Patter)
ARKANSAS STAR — Roy Close.
ARKANSAS TRAVELER--Slim Brough.
AROUND AND THROUGH — Jim William-son.
BIRD IN THE CAGE AND SEVEN HANDS 'ROUND Ed Gilmore.
CATCH ALL EIGHT (With Out and In) — Bert Corell.
CHASE THE RABBIT, CHASE THE SQUIRREL (2…

Square Dancing at Maryland Line

Bob Dalsemer describes old time square dancing at the Maryland Line Fire Hall in the town of Maryland Line, MD as he encountered it in 1974.You may also be interested in a similar article describing four dances in East Tennessee, published in 1981.

John Ramsay - Set Running, a Southern Folk Dance

This article, written in 1987 and updated in 2013 by longtime dancer, caller, and organizer John Ramsay, presents his views on what has been termed "set running," a style of dance that was named by folklorist Cecil Sharp when he came upon it in Harlan County, Kentucky, in 1917. The form is sometimes called the "Kentucky Running Set," though there…

Ozarks - Old Time Fiddling

Article about Ozark fiddling traditions, including a long section on fiddler Bob Holt, heard playing on videos elsewhere on this site.

Ozark Square Dance, 1949 - newspaper article

Newspaper article (1949) describing dance traditions in Arkansas; includes references to local square dance patter.

Stu Jamieson - The Old-Time Kentucky Running Set

Although the title speaks of Kentucky Running Set, this article deals with many different variations of the big circle or big set formation of Southern Appalachian mountain dancing. The author is Stu Jamieson, who was the caller in the film "To Hear Your Banjo Play" with Margot Mayo's American Square Dance Group. In it, he provides a detailed…

"Dancing to the Music: Domestic Square Dances and Community in Southcentral Kentucky (1880-1940)"

This detailed examination of the role of square dances in south central Kentucky is written by a folklorist, who based his findings on interviews with 20 musicians, dancers, and callers in that region. (Another look at Kentucky dancing, by researcher LeeEllen Friedland in the late 1970s, can be found here.)In his introduction, Feintuch writes:…

MWSD - The First Ten Years

This article by Jim Mayo looks at the first ten years of what is usually called Modern Western Square Dancing. Jim traces the development of the activity in detail, citing specific callers and their influences, and illustrating his comments with links to audio files of live recordings made during the 1940s and 1950s.Jim is the author of Step by…

The Birth of the Cotillion and the Quadrille, French Contredanses

This is a translation of Simonne Voyer's article, "La naissance du cotillon et du quadrille, contredanses françaises."The translation is by Susan Kevra, Senior Lecturer in French and American Studies, Vanderbilt University, as well as a caller of American contras and squares and English country dances.

Swing that Pretty Gal! - 1941 article

In the wake of the first trips by the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, this 1941 article inThe Saturday Evening Post describesthe widespread passion for squares that is growing, and gives Lloyd Shaw credit for the revival:
 Quoted material follows: Somewhere in your community there's a square dance tonight. At your country club, in a hotel ballroom,…

Rural Square Dances in East Tennessee: A Personal Account of Visits to Four Communities

This article appeared (1981) in the scholarly journal published by Country Dance and Song Society. The author describes four East Tennessee square dance communities, including discussion of typical program; he also includes verbatim transcripts of some of the calls. See also a similar account (1974) by Bob Dalsemer of dances in Maryland Line,…

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The Independence (PA) Lancers

For moving images of the dance, click here.This 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. I found…

Traditional Folkdance in Kentucky

Article by LeeEllen Friedland describing the social setting for community dances as well as the dance figures themselves. She differentiates among three types of dance: single dancing, couple dancing and group dancing. Folklorist Burt Feintuch provides a historical look at Kentucky dances in his article here.(excerpt from pp. 6–7) "The…

Square Dancing Atop Lookout Mountain

Article by Karen terHorst describes dancing in New Salem, Georgia, an historically-isolated community above Chattanooga, TN. The article is based on her visit to the dance in the 1970s. The dance stopped taking place sometime around 1990.

"New Salem's style is similar to the Appalachian square dancing described by Frank Smith (1955) and Pat…