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Square Dancing Standard and Experimental Guidelines

A flood of new calls in the early 1970s led a group called Square Dance Systems to publish a catalogue of calls, an attempt to bring order to an increasingly-complex universe of new figures. Square Dance Systems was Lester Keddy, Arthur Ballard, and John Hendron. This effort came before the establishment of CALLERLAB. In this item, we include the…

New Call Problems in the Mid 1970s

This is an excerpt from the book Step by Step Through Modern Square Dance History by Jim Mayo. It describes the situation that had been created by a flood of new calls in the mid 1970’s. Related items illustrate a set of early attempts by Square Dance Systems to create an organized catalogue of calls.

Pussy Cat -Red Bates - 1973

The 1973 singing call, Pussy Cat, Windsor Records #4173, was recorded by Bruce Johnson; it is one that became a Red Bates trademark. The figure was difficult in a unique way. The challenge was the partner change that followed an unusual placement of the Allemande Left. It became a game between the dancers and Red to see if they could make it…

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Red Bates, 1973 Patter

Our 1973 clip is from a dance at the Longmeadow, MA, square dance club a short distance from where Red lived at that time. He starts with a Scoot Back and Circulate combination and in the second half of the tip does a variety of line sequences that have the dancers changing facing direction a lot with little movement around the square. The call Tag…

Gentle On My Mind, Red Bates, 1968

In the 1968 singing call, Gentle On My Mind, the interesting and unusual figure was called by Red just as it was recorded on the Wagon Wheel label #113 by Don Franklin

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Red Bates 1968 Patter

The next clips we have are from another dance at Newton Pavilion seven years later. By then the calls Swing Thru and Spin the Top had been added to the call vocabulary and Red makes use of both in this tip. All of the calls in this tip would be included on the Mainstream List seven years later when it was established by CALLERLAB.

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Woman in Love - Red Bates, 1961

The singing call, Woman In Love, is a classic and Red uses the figure as it was recorded by Dick Leger on Grenn record #12128. Tempo is a characteristic of calling that underwent considerable change. This singing call was at 132 beats per minute (bpm), the fastest of any in this set of clips by Red Bates but a very common pace for MWSD at that…

Red Bates 1961, Patter

By the time of our first clip from a 1961 dance at the Newton Pavilion in Newton, NH, Bates was a busy caller working dances throughout New England. The choreography is very representative of MWSD at that time. It includes a mixture of the Ed Gilmore Ends Turn In routine, Star action and a Susie Q.

Square Dance Time - Tommy Cavanagh

Two clips from Tommy Cavanagh's "Square Dance Time" album., excerpts from "Hoedown Boogie" and "Boil that Cabbage." Callers in Great Britain from time to time receive the Tommy Cavanagh award for service to square dancing in that country. Cavanagh was one of the callers befriended by Mildred Buhler when she moved from Northern California to London…

Don't Forget, Callers, Our Style Is Always Showing

This is a copy of a section of the minutes of a meeting of the Southern California Callers Association. Bob Van Antwerp presented the training session on the subject of dancing style and how callers should teach it to new dancers.

Bow to your Partner: 23rd National Square Dance Convention

Film of the 23rd National Square Dance Convention, held in San Antonio, TX, in 1974. Related ITems link to footage of other National Conventions in 1959, 1961, 1970, and 1976.01:30 square dancers and callers from Japan03:45 For Once in My Life, singing call06:05 interview with caller Masaru Wada from Tokyo07:11 Herb Egender speaking about square…

"Fun People" - 19th National Square Dance Convention, Louisville, 1970

Documentary about the 19th annual National Square Dance Convention, held in Louisville, KY. Produced by the Kentuckiana association of square dance clubs.

00:00 Summer Sounds, singing square
01:00 announcer, brief history
05:00 announcer Joe Hamilton interviews Vaughan Parrish
12:17 fashion show
13:00 teen demo: Shooting Stars,…

Asilomar 1973 - Frank Lane

Three films from Bob Osgood's collection showing dancers at the 1973 gathering at Asilomar, California.The first film shows dancers practicing allemande thar, followed by a round dance sequence (Left Footers One-Step, written by Bruce Johnson in 1959) and then Dick Leger's hit, the singing square "Marianne." Close-up shots of Frank Lane calling…

Shredded Hash - Lloyd and Myrtis Litman

Several years after the 1962 publication of Instant Hash by Lloyd Litman and Rickey Holden, Shredded Hash was created by Litman and his wife, Myrtis. An unusual aid for callers seeking choreographic variety, the book's pages were divided in three sections so that each section could be turned independently. The top section gave a series of calls…

10th National Square Dance Convention - Detroit, 1961

Two television stories about the 10th Annual National Square Dance Convention, Cobo Hall, Detroit, recorded June 30, 1961. The reporter in both programs is Shelby Newhouse.The first is a half-hour broadcast, probably aired on local television. The second is shorter, and was aired nationally as part of the Today show, where host Edwin Newman gives…

Bruce Johnson, patter - 1961

Live recording of Bruce Johnson calling to a jig.

Jim Mayo comments: "Bruce kept on using 6/8 time music long after most others had abandoned it. It also shows his nearly unique ability to fill every beat with at least one word and to keep them rhyming all the way through the tip while maintaining better timing than most before most callers had…

Houston Square Dance History

Detailed history of the growth of square dancing in the Houston area in the years after World War II. It includes a summary of highlights from the area's annual square dance festival that started in 1949. The article can also be found here on the web. Excerpts from the beginning of the history: In the early 1940s, there were two small square dance…

Jon Jones - CALLERLAB history

This CALLERLAB History / Heritage / Tradition session in 2005 included comments from Herb Egender, who was one of the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers with Lloyd Shaw. Jim Mayo was the second speaker, discussing events that led up to the formation of CALLERLAB in 1974, and Jon Jones picked up the story at that point.

Jones describes how CALLERLAB…

Jim Mayo - CALLERLAB history

In a presentation from a CALLERLAB History / Heritage / Tradition session in 2005, Jim Mayo recounts some of the events that led up to the founding of that organization in 1974. He discusses how square dance choreography changed from the common Goal Post routines with the introduction of the Chicken Plucker routine that started in 1957. As modern…

CALLERLAB founders

CALLERLAB, the International Association of Square Dance Callers, officially began in 1974, but discussions about the need for such an organization started some 15 years earlier. The organization has a short history of CALLERLAB on its website. See Related Items on this SDHP site for other presentations of that history.The attached document in Bob…

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