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Square Dance Tonight - with Elisha Keeler

This 1949 film features caller Elisha Keeler of South Salem, NY. Keeler was featured in The New Yorker in a brief "Talk of the Town" piece in 1949 and then was given a lengthy profile (some 5,000 words) in The New Yorker (February 9, 1957). That portrait apparently inspired choreographer George Balanchine to create his ballet "Square Dance," and…

Divide the Ring - Jerry Goodwin

In this version of the traditional Cut Off Six / Divide the Ring figure, the active couple turns the others as they stand in a line. Larry Edleman demonstrates this in more detail on the related item.Recorded at a square dance on April 25, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA.Jerry Goodwin, CallerMountain Express: Chuck…

Let's Square Dance - instructional films, 1950s

In the mid-1950s, Janet R. MacLean, a professor in the Indiana University Department of Recreation, produced a series of six instructional films to introduce square dancing. The films, each approximately 10 minutes in length, show young dancers, probably students at the university, demonstrating different dance figures. Dancers wear large numbers…

Traditional Square Dance Figures

One section of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation's website provides detailed instructions (and source information) for 20 figures from traditional Western and southern Appalachian squares: Arkansas Traveler Four in a Center Line Bachelor Mill Bouquet Waltz Chase That Rabbit, Chase That Squirrel Dive and Rescue the Lady Divide the Ring Docey Doe and…

Golden Slippers - Donald "Jake" Jacoby

Recorded by Bob Dalsemer, January 5, 1974 at the Maryland Line Fire Hall, Maryland Line, MD.
Caller: Donald "Jake" Jacoby
Band: The Saw Mill Boys

This a standard "divide the ring" figure. It is also a mixer. At the end of each round, everyone does a do-si-do with their partner and swings their corner. The corner swings in this dance were done…

East Meets West (clip) - Lawrence Loy

Lawrence Loy was from western Massachusetts but this recording, with its apt title, shows the influence of the western style of dance, with changing choreography.

After generic opening figures, two head couples lead to the right, circle once around, and then all four ladies chain in line, all the way over and back.

After all are home and…

Divide the Ring - Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison calls at the Dare To Be Square weekend held November 18-20, 2011, at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. The basic "Divide the Ring" sequence has the leading couple cutting off six people, then four, then two; this variation, by Louis Wiles, introduces a corner swing each time through for the other three couples, making it…