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Corky Calkins - two programs

These are two programs of Massachusetts caller Corky Calkins, one from 1965 and the other from 1967. They were noted by Connecticut caller Ralph Sweet who for decades carried a small notebook with him to dances and recorded the programs and any unusual figures used by the caller. The 1967 program took place in Sweet's own Power Mill Barn in…

Let's Square Dance! - instruction booklet

This a sample instruction booklet from Album 3 in the "Let's Square Dance!" series, aimed at ages 12-14, Grades 7-8.

Let's Square Dance! - Richard Kraus

This series of five albums was recorded in 1956 featuring the calling of Richard Kraus, a caller and professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. This item serves as a general introduction to the series, including the table of contents showing how dances were arranged by age / grade level. Subsequent items will present clips from different…

Honor Your Partner - Ed Durlacher

Honor Your Partner was a series of rhythmic activities and dance albums, more than 20 in all, released by Ed Durlacher starting in 1949 and extending into the 1950s. This item shows a sample cover, a listing of the square dance albums, and the back liner notes from the first three square dance albums.

The Rural Square Dance in the Northeastern United States: A Continuity of Tradition

This doctoral thesis in folklore is based on a study of square dances in New York state, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Especially interesting are the descriptions of traditional dances, based on the author's observation, and interviews with dancers, augmented with questionnaires.The author notes the difficulties of collecting information from…

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…

Dancing Feet of Ontario

Article looking at square dance traditions in Ontario; includes anecdotes from several locations and a lengthy letter describing dances in Fergus, Ontario.

Folk & Square in Manitoba and Ontario

Broad look at dance traditions in both provinces. As the article's title suggests, square dancing is discussed as are folk dances from different countries. The Ontario portion of the article talks at length of the contributions of John Madsen and Erma Weir.

Adirondack Square Dancing

The author describes her experiences traditional square dancing in the Adirondacks from 1918 to 1965, when she began modern squares. This story appeared in the final edition of Ralph Page's Northern Junket magazine.She describes how, as a 19-year-old school teacher (1933), she boarded with a family who had a dance at their house each Saturday…

Goal Post variation - Rickey Holden

Caller Rickey Holden calls a sequence of easy figures at a workshop in Taastrup, Denmark, August 19, 2005. It's similar to a Goal Post" routine except that Rickey has the active dancers swing behind the inactives rather than go around them. The end of the dance incorporates a Birdie in the Cage routine.

Square Dancing in Western New York

The New York Folklore Society produced a number of five-minute radio documentaries featuring the folklife (skills, traditions, stories, music, dance, folk art and material items) found in New York State. This one focuses on the square dance traditions of western New York and the efforts being made to keep those traditions vibrant.The Folklore…

History of Square Dancing - Ralph Page

Between 1972 and 1974, Ralph Page wrote a series of essays entitled A History of Square Dancing. For ease in downloading, we have collected them into "chapters" that group together similar topics. The essays were published in the magazine Square Dancing as follows:Dancing In New England 11/1972The Revolutionary Era 1/1973Direct Ancestors…

Shall We Dance? - Maine, 19th century

This article, written by theMaine Memory Network Curator and Historian for the Maine Historical Society, takes two mid-19th books as a focal point for looking at etiquette and social status as reflected on the dance floor. H.G.O. Washburn's 1863 Ball-Room Manual of Contra Dances and Social Cotillions with Remarks on Quadrilles and Spanish Dance…

Florilla Perkins Ames, Vermont

Florilla Perkins Ames was 102 years old when she recorded this interview. She lives in northern Vermont, and remembers her father calling dances. Before that, her mother's grandfather used to play fiddle for dances: "In fact, in this house where I am right now they used to dance squares upstairs, in the 1800s."

Hilton Kelly - Catskill fiddler & caller

Article about Catskills fiddler and caller Hilton Kelly, who has been playing and calling square dances in that region of New York for more than 75 years.

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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Old-Time Music Makers of New York State

"Old-Time Music Makers of New York State is the first book published on this rich legacy of traditional Anglo-American music and dance. It traces the development of old-time music beginning with its movement into New York State from New England in the early nineteenth century and to its combination with commercial country music in the twentieth…

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.