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Ralph Sweet's Personal Square Dance History

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Ralph Sweet's Personal Square Dance History

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Ralph Sweet's Personal Square Dance History


This is a 2005 presentation by Ralph Sweet to NECCA (New England Council of Callers Associations), a group of MWSD callers. Reviewing his own interest in this activity provided Ralph with an opportunity to examine trends and challenges faced by square dancers over the past six decades.

Ralph's interest in squares and contras dates to the 1940s, and he is still active as a caller and as a dancer. Along the way, he spent twenty years as a MWSD caller. In 1966 he wrote Let's Create 'Olde Tyme' Square Dancing in response to trends he had noted in the square dance community that led to a large number of dancers abandoning the activity after they had completed their course of instruction. He argued that instead of ever-greater complexity, callers and clubs should work toward a simpler program that could be more quickly taught and that would lead to greater participation.

Now in his 80s, he continues to dance and to call regularly. He was featured in Sweet Talk, a video documentary, and in Shindig in the Barn, a live CD recording of a dozen singing squares, with an accompanying booklet providing a transcription of those calls. He is the author, with Nils Fredland, of On the Beat with Ralph Sweet, a collection of square dances.


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