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Houston Square Dance History

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Houston Square Dance History

Alternative Title

A Look Back in Time: History of Houston Square and Round Dance Council, Inc.


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 clubs in the area. The clubs danced three or four squares, but almost everyone was in the U.S. Military or working for the effort to end the War. In 1945, after World War II had ended, square and round dancing became a popular social activity for some of the men and women returning from serving in the U.S. Military.

In 1946-47, the City of Houston Parks & Recreation Department began a program to teach square dancing to the public, using the City’s facilities. Ms. Blanche Marrero, a Houston City employee, was responsible for coordinating and teaching square dance lessons for the Department. Usually, at the completion of ten lessons, the students graduated, and most of these students formed square dance clubs in and around Houston. Some of the callers in these clubs would call the square dance, while dancing in a square. Sometimes the callers in different squares did not call the same thing; so, each square was doing its own thing, but having fun and enjoying the dancing.

In early 1947, Carl “Doc” Journell started teaching square dance lessons. Doc had so many applications for lessons that he had to limit the size of his classes. He had an exhibition square of teenagers, who put on many good exhibitions in and around Houston. He also had an adult exhibition group called the Circle “J” Dancers. “Doc” is remembered for his teaching deaf-mute people to square dance.

Date Created

April, 2009


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