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"Folk Dances of the United States: Regional Types and Origins"

Scholarly presentation by noted dance researcher Elizabeth Burchenal and published in the Journal of the International Folk Music Council. Burchenal begins her talk thus:

"The term "folk dance" as used here does not refer to "popular dance" or to "revivals" but rather to "authentic" folk dance as a folk art which has been handed down through the…

"How We Do It In Our Town" - Emmette Wallace

This is a series of articles comparing how basic figures are taught and danced in different parts of the country. The first segment appeared in October, 1949, in American Squares, and the series continued occasionally until October, 1951.

American Dance Circle

The American Dance Circle is the quarterly publication of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. The entire series, starting December 1979, is now available online. Individual issues contain notes on dances and dance events, including ongoing discussions of square dances. As one would expect in a publication from this organization, much attention is given to…

Fifty Miles from Times Square

This is an excerpt from John Cohen's 1972 film, used here by permission of the filmmaker.

caller: Herb Strickland
musicians: Bud Snow, Jay Ungar, Lyn Hardy, Abby Newton, Tom Allen

Fiddler Jay Ungar, seen in the dance footage, writes: "The dances were started by the Concerned Democrats in Putnam County, NY to raise money for the McGovern…

Al Brundage - dance history

Note: The audio file takes a while to load, so be patient.This recording documents a presentation by Al Brundage about the history of square dancing. The tape label has no information about the date of circumstance of the presentation. Al told Jim Mayo that it probably was a demonstration (possibly for a Rotary group or something similar) put…

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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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An Invitation To Dance: A History of Social Dance in America

This online exhibit on the history of social dance in America draws on documents in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society to offer a multi-faceted portrait of the changing nature of American social dance. Items in the exhibit include the cotillion, the quadrille, and other related square dance forms.

Bob Dalsemer 1: Structure of Dance Programs in Traditional Series

Caller Bob Dalsemer describes his experiences in traditional dance communities. Each community may have just a few break figures that appear in all dances, which means that callers can program a lot of dances in an evening without much instruction. He contrasts that with the squares called in contemporary contra dance communities, for example,…

Bob Dalsemer 2: How Callers Use Dance Structure

Caller Bob Dalsemer discusses ways that square dance callers can present basic figures in different variations, provided that they understand the basic structure of a given dance. This gives the caller flexibility in shaping a program to fit a particular audience.

Bob Dalsemer 3: Traditional Dance is a Polished Rock

Bob Dalsemer discusses how a traditional dance, done in a community over time, becomes a sort of gem, all the essence and no frills.

Bob Dalsemer 4: How do you choose what dances to teach?

Caller Bob Dalsemer discusses some of the choices he makes in deciding what kind of squares to include in a dance program. What kind of music is available? Who are the dancers and what are they expecting? What material have I already introduced in the program on which I can build?

Bob Osgood - photo

View full record for details.

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Call & Answer - Amanda Lovelee

Minneapolis based artist, Amanda Lovelee believes finding, preserving and constructing a space for physical connection is an urgent issue. As a society that faces the collapse of communities how do we continue to form face-to-face connections? This is why she began The Call and Answer Project, a project that creates a fun, interactive space for…

Canadian Square and Round Dance Society

Offering Canada Wide Support to Square, Round, Line, Contra, and Clog Dancing

The Canadian Square and Round Dance Society (CSRDS) was formed to establish a national organization to deal with matters involving the activity. (The word "square" is generic and encompasses all the activities under our "umbrella" activity.)

Among other services,…

Cheyenne Mountain Dancers - typical program

This is a typical program presented by the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, Lloyd Shaw's demonstration team of high school students.

Clarence Haller - Ralph Page correspondence

These letters were sent from Lucile and Clarence Haller, Indiana square dance caller, to Ralph Page, the dean of New England dance callers at the time. They are clearly interested in learning more about the contra dances that Page knows well.

Come Square Dancing (Australia, 1953)

Modern square dance came to Australia in a big way in the early 1950s, spurred in large part by two visits by American caller Joe Lewis in 1950 and 1951. This series of articles, in magazine format, from 1953, describes the history of the activity there as well as providing a look at key organizers and callers at the time.You can hear a series of…

Contemporary Accounts of Dance From the American West in the Nineteenth Century

Doctoral dissertation based on primary sources; includes a look at dances on the pioneer trails, in logging camps in mining camps, rural social life and urban social life.

From the author's introduction:

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This study originated with an attempt to establish evidence for a theory of how dance was an integral part of the growing society of…

Cowboy Dance (1923 article)

The Cowboy Dance

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Cowboys' Christmas Ball - Anson, Texas

Poem written in 1890 describing the Cowboys' Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas. For more information about the author, see this website on cowboy poetry. The Ball continues, following the original rules requiring women to wear skirts and men to check their hats and spurs. Chittenden's poem was set to music and included in John Lomax's Cowboy Songs and…