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Western Square Dances at Fox Creek, Colorado (ca. 1880-1930)

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Western Square Dances at Fox Creek, Colorado (ca. 1880-1930)


Article based on conversations with Bessie Stafford from the San Luis Valley, western Colorado.

"In these early days, the dances were held outside on the hard dirt, the music being supplied by local people, and the dances were called by local neighbors. ... The early dances were all-night affairs and the waltzes, polkas, schottisches, and other dances were mixed willy-nilly with the squares and occasional "Spanish Dance." ...

"The dance would begin around 7:00 or 7:30 with prayer and then move into the opening waltz. All the girls were expected to participate and they had only one reason to refuse the men. If the man who asked her to dance was under the influence of alcohol, a girl could say no. In fact, no drinking was allowed in the school at all as church was held there on Sunday and if anyone caused any problem, the school board was in attendance to see that order was maintained. ...

"As the night progressed, lamps were lighted so that the dancers whould be able to see each other. In the early days a campfire or kerosene lamp would be all that was available, but with the coming of the new two-room school Coleman-style lanterns were used for lighting. These lanterns were hung high in the rafters of the building so that the room was well lighted. Then, with the caller at the end of the room surrounded by the musicians and the dancers milling about on the floor, the scene presented to observers was one of general movement and hilarity."



The American Dance Circle, quarterly publication of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation,vol 2 #2, pp. 31-34

Date Created

April, 1981

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Item Relations

This Item is related to Item: Frontier Dances - Bob Cook
This Item is related to Item: Colorado dancing - Cal Campbell
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