Central City, Colorado - 1955
Ed Austin was a Colorado student who danced in Central City in the summers of 1952–54. The following year, he was working for Kodak and was back in Colorado with a movie camera. He captured and edited this extraordinary silent film documenting the show of square and round dances put on each day to entertain tourists, many of them in town to enjoy the opera down the street. This footage captures the style of the young dancers trained by Lloyd Shaw at his Cheyenne Mountain school in Colorado Springs.
Read Ed Austin's "Life in Dance" short autobiography for more details about how he came to be involved in the Colorado traditional dance scene. In a follow-up e-mail, Austin mentions that the stable had a silver dollar embedded "in the center of the floor to help keep us oriented." Also see the collection of postcards on this site for a postcard of Lloyd Shaw and dancers in front of the Williams Stables.
The caller featured here is Ray Smith; we have not yet identified the fiddler and piano player. By 1960, Al "Tex" Brownlee was the caller and he used recorded music.
Table of contents
00:00 maps and opening scenes
02:04 arrival of dancers on street and entering Livery & Feed Stable hall
promenade and opening square dance
05:14 caller Ray Smith, pianist, fiddler
05:50 Rye Waltz
06:25 Denver Polka
07:00 Honor Your Partner – square dance
07:41 two-couple aerial figure
08:00 continuation of square dance
09:20 four-couple aerial figure
09:30 continuation of square dance 09:50 Peggy O'Neil 10:36 Black Hawk Waltz
11:43 Down Yonder square dance
12:35 Grand Square
12:55 Waltz of the Bells
13:47 Beautiful Ohio
14:43 Square 'Em Up!
16:17 two-couple aerial figure
|This Item||is related to||Item: Central City dancers, 1967 & 1968|