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Gary Ellison interview

This is an interview conducted by Nathaniel Lucy as part of his research for his master's thesis, "Ozark Jubilee: The Impact of a Revional Identity at a Crossroads," written in 2014. The subject of the interview is Gary Ellison, who explains, "In 1959 and in 1960, the last two years, I was the square dance caller for the Wagon Wheelers, which was…

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…

Abilene Lift - Rickey Holden

An early description by Rickey Holden of the so-called "Abilene lift," a distinctive style of incorporating a two-steps into square dance movement.

"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.

Jim Mayo - "Little Black Book"

This is caller Jim Mayo's book of dances, dating from the 1950s and into the 1960s. It's a good example of a serious caller's repertoire during this period.For comparison with another well-known New England caller, see Al Brundage's Little Black Book, stored on the website of the Square Dance Foundation of New England.

Bob Aylward - related items

View full record for details.

Bob Aylward - caller biography

This is an excerpt from an unpublished memoir by Robert Aylward, who called square dances in the Boston area, starting in the 1930s. It's a detailed portrait of the evolution of a caller.

Sammy Spring's Quadrille - Don Armstrong

This dance, presented by Don Armstrong at the 1955 Minnesota State Square Dance Convention, comes from the calling of Sammy Spring. Don remarks in his introduction that the dance is similar to one of the figures of the Lancers, and he has this to say about the man from whom he learned the dance:

"We are privileged to have down in Florida one of…

Description of a Quadrille, 1870, West Virginia

Satirical description of a quadrille, from a West Virginia newspaper; no mention is made of a caller

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…

Santa Monica 1950 - Don Ward comments

The Trad-Dance-Callers listserv in 2008 had a discussion that touched on the Santa Monica dance. Don Ward was a participant in that event and he shared a few memories with the group.

Santa Monica 1950 - interview with Bob Osgood

As part of his extensive series of interviews with notable figures in the square dance world, Bob Brundage conducted a lengthy interview with Bob Osgood. Included here is the part of that discussion that dealt with the Santa Monica event. (It has been slightly reformatted by inserting paragraph breaks to improve readibility.) Brundage's…