Show Menu

Browse Items: 1341

Country Dance and Quadrille

In this poem, c. 1822, we see that it's the squires from the countryside of England who prefer the stately Miss Quadrille, while others are initially enamored of the charms of that newcomer from France, Mademoiselle Quadrille.

Lady Be Good - Ed Gilmore

Ed Gilmore, caller, taking the song by George and Ira Gershwin and turning it into a singing square.

Kansas City - Ralph Sweet

Ralph Sweet, caller. This singing square, done to a 12-bar blues instead of the usual AABB structure of a traditional fiddle tune, was recorded live in 1964.

Chase the Rabbit - Ed Gilmore

Ed Gilmore, caller. Gilmore was from California, but demonstrates here his familiarity with traditional Southern Appalachian style patter.

Redwing - Dip and Dive - Ed Durlacher

Ed Durlacher, caller. The tune is Redwing.

Durlacher's vocal style is distinctive. Recorded in 1941, with music by Al MacLeod's Country Dance Band.

Duke Miller - Crooked Stovepipe

Duke Miller, caller. Recorded live at the Peterborough Golf Club, August 20, 1965. This dance was a staple of Ralph Page's repertoire as well, which he borrowed from French-Canadian music. Caller Dudley Laufman says that it was also the first dance he learned to call.

Tony Parkes

View full record for details.

Phil Jamison

View full record for details.

Larry Edelman

View full record for details.

Jim Mayo

View full record for details.

Bob Dalsemer

View full record for details.

Bill Litchman

View full record for details.

Brasstown Callers

The six callers at Dare To Be Square, Brasstown, NC, 2011. They are also consultants to this Square Dance History Project. From left to right: Phil Jamison, Bill Litchman, Larry Edelman, Tony Parkes, Bob Dalsemer, and Jim Mayo

Phil Jamison 4 - Cecil Sharp and the "running set"

Phil discusses the origins of the term "running set," going back to when the English folklorist and collector Cecil Sharp first encountered southern Appalachian dancing.For a demonstration of the actual dance, see this video called by Stew Shacklette.

Phil Jamison 3 - The caller's role in Southern squares

The square dance caller in Southern dance traditions plays a somewhat different role than his Northern counterpart. Phil looks at the way a Southern caller improvises and uses basic figures in different ways.

Jim Mayo 6 - Key Elements of Modern Square Dance

Jim discusses features that make modern square dancing different from traditional squares, including the unpredictable nature of the calls, the necessity for lessons, and the club structure that provides an important social element.

Jim Mayo 5 - Basic Formations, Complex Calls

Jim points out that there are only a few basic formations in modern square dancing. One of the distinctive features of modern squares is the way that a series of basic moves are combined into one call. Swing Thru was an early example of this; Ed Gilmore objected to that term, saying that he could call the moves using more basic terminology. Later…

Jim Mayo 4 - New choreography

New calls such as Wheel and Deal and Swing Thru gave modern square dance callers powerful tools for creating new choreography and patterns of movement. Callers discovered that the sequence "Wheel and Deal, Double Pass Thru, Centers In, and Cast Off 3/4," repeated three times, would get all dancers back where they had started—a triple zero, which…

Jim Mayo 3 - Start of CALLERLAB

The 1970s saw a dramatic increase in the number of calls, which led to repeated cries from dancers for someone to bring order out of chaos. This led to the formation of CALLERLAB.

Jim Mayo 2 - Square Thru and Changing Choreography

The call "square through" provided callers with a new tool for moving dancers around on the dance floor. Jim describes how callers experimented with the figure and how he introduced it in many different setups in his classes.