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Colorado dancing - Cal Campbell

Dance caller Cal Campbell started dancing at age 6 in 1943; he has written a series of reminiscences of his experiences growing up in a small Colorado town and the vital role that dancing played in the social life of that community."Dancing in Uruvan and Rifle" begins with his parents meeting at a dance in 1934; "The Girl in the Gingham Dress" is a…

Let's Stop Hashing Our Squares

This essay, written more than 60 years ago, speaks to the longstanding tension between those who like predictable dance figures and those who seek continual variety. The author admits "that I am just as guilty as those I condemn. Perhaps in the past I have been, but after giving much thought to the matter, in the past year I have quite generally…

Lloyd Shaw - Christmas letters

These are three letters written as "annual belated Christmas greetings" from Lloyd and Dorothy Shaw to participants in the Cheyenne Mountain School summer classes. They provide a good sense of the Shaws' philosophy and writing.

Reminiscences of Lloyd Shaw - Mary Jo Bradford

Mary Jo Bradford was a physical education teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when she encountered Lloyd Shaw and the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers in 1946. That summer, she traveled to Colorado Springs to study with Shaw, and the following summer she returned with her two teenage children.

Note: Mary Jo's daughter was also named Mary Jo and was often…

Square Dance Revival in Lincoln [Nebraska], 1940–1950

This detailed booklet describes the revival of square dancing in Lincoln, Nebraska, and offers resources to encourage further growth. After introductory sections describing the historical background of squares in the area, the authors describe qualities needed to be a square dance caller. They include numerous examples of patter and singing calls,…

Foot 'n Fiddle – Marlys Waller recollections

Marlys Waller was one of the people involved in the Texas square dance activities of the late 1940s. With several colleagues, she helped found Foot 'n Fiddle, possibly the earliest of the square dance magazines in the U.S. (In later years, she became one of the authors of Dance A While, a large and well-known textbook on teaching different forms of…

Al Brundage recollections

Al Brundage wrote these recollections of his experiences growing up in Connecticut and the growth of square dancing. His story includes discovering square dance as a boy, followed by the whole Brundage family getting involved in the activity and forming the King Street Pioneers. He mentions some of the important figures in the Northeast in those…

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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…

Swing Your Partners! (1940 article)

Article published in 1940, profiling Lloyd Shaw and his Cheyenne Mountain Dancers.

"One of the most colorful and enthusiastic of the square dance revivalists is Dr. Lloyd Shaw, principal of the Cheyenne Mountain public school, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he has inspired into being twenty-five different square dance groups. Most of them…

Square Dance Goes To College, The (1941 article)

"Your grandmother enjoyed it and so did her grandmother, enjoyed it and so did her grandmother, so there is nothing new about square dancing. Yet this ancient dance form is capturing the fancy of the collegiate crowd as has nothing since the Big Apple came up from the backwoods of South Carolina."

This journal article combines reports from two…

Square Dancing Is Fun, But--Teach An Easy One First! (1940 article)

Article from 1940 promoting the virtues of square dancing and pointing out the necessity of teaching simple dances first. The author suggests:

"The art of imitation must be used in teaching the square. Take the dance apart, bit by bit, and have the group walk through the parts until they know them each by name, and they will gain the thrill that…

Square and Couple Dances with Directions and Calls - Lloyd Shaw

This is a supplement to Cowboy Dances and Good Morning that was used in a 1947 summer session 1947 at the University of Colorado. "Most of these dances have been taken from the mimeographed material supplied by Lloyd Shaw during his 1945 summer class at the Cheyenne Mountain School, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Some of the variations described are…

Shakin' a Hoof (1951 article)

Tucson caller Fred Feild located this article in Arizona Highways magazine and shared it on the trad-dance-callers listserv. Fred added his own comments:---Advisory warning: This article contains bigoted statements against Native Americans, women, cows, cowboys, and probably inanimate objects, too. If you can tolerate the GOLs (Groan Out Loud) I'm…

Tucson Square Dance (1950 article)

Magazine article (1950) describing Arizona square dances and caller George Waudby. The first PDF is a facsimile of the magazine article; it is followed by an easier-to-read version of the text. (Also included is a 2009 obituary for Marion Waudby, who worked tireless with George to establish square dancing in the Tucson area.)

Two excerpts…

Square Dances for White Collars (1941 article)

Article in Time magazine (1941) describing popularity of square dancing, evidenced by record sales (Victor, Columbia, Decca) and the work of teacher and caller Lawrence Loy.

Texas Square Dances - Rickey Holden

This is a detailed description of three Texas squares, presented by Rickey Holden as an exhibition dance at the fourth annual New England Folk Festival, November 15–16, 1947. Holden based much of his material on Herb's Blue Bonnet Calls (Herb Greggerson, 1946).Holden had originally wanted to present three dances intact, as they are described…

Tiny Clark - three singing squares

Tiny Clark was one of the callers holding forth at the Village Barn in Greenwich VIllage, New York City. In this 1946 film, he and his band, dubbed the Cactus Cowboys, present three singing squares: Lady Around the Lady, Duck for the Oyster and Dig for the Clam, and Hinky Dinky Parlez Vous. The overall look of the film is hillbilly, with the New…

Oldest Square Dance Club?

Pictured above, taken when the Kilowatt Eights danced at the PSC Garage from 1939-1942, (L to R): Andy Anderson-Violin & Bass, Stew Clark-Banjo, Russ Levine-Piano, Jim Cook-Violin, Tom Parfet-Drums, George Boles-Violin, Joe Lang-Caller.American Square Dance magazine conducted a search for the oldest square dance club. This is the article…

Irving Andert program, 1948

From his earliest days as a dancer, Connecticut caller Ralph Sweet kept a notebook of the programs he encountered at dances he visited. Here is his record of a dance called by Irving Andert at the Echo Grange, Mansfield Center, CT, in 1948. The program of dances is the left-hand page, with some of Andert's patter on the right side.

Northern Junket  and Ralph Page

In a labor of love, Ralph Page single-handedly published 165 issues of this journal from 1949 through 1984. The University of New Hampshire's Library of Traditional Music and Dance has digitized and made available a complete set of these magazines, along with biographical information about Page. The library is also the repository for an extensive…