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Tony Parkes 2 - Quadrilles and Visiting Couple Squares

In this interview, caller Tony Parkes describes the basic structure of quadrilles, the 19th century dance form that set the pattern for traditional New England squares, and contrasts that with visiting couple squares. In a typical quadrille, head couples interact often with each other (and the same for sides with each other). In a visiting square,…

Dosido / Docey-Doe / Do Paso

A collection of comments from the trad-dance-callers discussion group regarding a series of similar-sounding names to describe different movements: dosido, do-si-do, dosado, docey-doe, Do Paso... Also see this excerpt from Jim Mayo's book, which describes how Lloyd Shaw brokered an agreement between influential square dance callers on terminology.

Larry Edelman 1: Social Context of Square Dancing

What role does an evening of dancing play in the lives of the people who live in that community? Caller Larry Edelman discusses the social context in which the dancing takes place in traditional dance communities.

Larry Edelman 2: Links in a Chain

Larry Edelman discusses his experiences studying traditional dances in southwestern Pennsylvania; in particular, he ended up studying with caller Jerry Goodwin. Larry began to appreciate how dancers and callers and musicians are links in a chain, keeping alive rich traditions from the past and passing them on to the future.

Larry Edelman 3: Grange Hall Dances & Fire Hall Dances

Larry Edelman discusses the difference between two different traditional dance venues, based on his research in small town dances in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Larry Edelman 4: Influences on a Dance Series

What are some of the influences that affect a traditional community dance? Larry bases his comments on his research in southwestern Pennsylvania, a region that has been influenced by both southern Appalachian and northern dance styles.

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?

Phil Jamison 2: African influences, and African-American callers

Phil Jamison discusses his research into the origins of American square dance in the south, and describes the key role that African-American musicians played . There are the well-known musical elements—the role of the banjo, for example—and Phil also points out that the first callers were African-American. Even some distinctive square dance…

DTBS attendees

A group shot of the participants in the Dare To Be Square weekend, Brasstown, NC. There were 69 dancers registered, of whom fully 49 are dance callers.

DTBS Callers & musicians

The callers are joined by the musicians from the Dare To Be Square Weekend. Front row: Jim Morrison, guitar and fiddle; Sam Bartlett, banjo; Claudio Buchwald, piano and fiddle; Steve Hickman, fiddle

Not Your Grandparents Square Dance

Old-time music and square dancing in Portland, Oregon. Interviews with Bill Martin and Michael Ismerio, and footage from the Old Time Music Gathering, reveal the intimate links between the old-time music scene and the revival of square dancing.This is one of a series of short documentary videos produced by Doug Plummer; you can find many more…

Ed Austin's Life in Dance

This autobiography by Ed Austin focuses on his lifetime involvement with traditional dance, including a detailed description of the dances he filmed in Central City, Colorado. Click here to watch his film.

Square Dance Postcards

A collection of postcards showing different styles and personalities associated with square dance. We are eager to acquire more to add to this collection!Card1: no information on backCard2: Pennsylvania Farm Museum, Landis Valley, four miles north of Lancaster on Route US 222Card3: Hotel Motel St-Louis, Les Voitures d'Eau, Ile aux Coudres,…

Kathy Anderson - Youth Square Dance Scene

Caller Kathy Anderson discusses the burst of enthusiasm among young people for simple square dances set to hot old-time tunes. Starting in Portland, Oregon, with the efforts of caller Bill Martin, the movement has spread to other cities on the west coast and is making inroads in the East as well.

Kathy Anderson - four styles of squares

Caller Kathy Anderson gives an overview of the characteristics of four different regional styles of traditional square dances-- old-time Southern, New England, traditional Western, and singing squares.

Kathy Anderson - Sandy Bradley, an appreciation

Sandy Bradley was a dynamic Seattle caller who burst onto the dance scene in the 1970s and early 1980, bringing an enthusiastic presence and a love of traditional western squares to audiences around the country. Kathy first encountered traditional squares at an event where Sandy was the caller, and she gives a brief appreciation of why Sandy…

Kathy Anderson - Getting started as a caller

Today, Kathy Anderson is one of the more actives callers of traditional and newly-composed square dances in the contra dance world; she is a featured caller at dance weekends and camps across the country and abroad. Here, she reflects on how she got started as a caller, how she developed her skill, and how she had a difficult time being accepted in…