About the Square Dance History Project
Square dancing has been an integral part of American social life for centuries. Traditional square dance was vital for generations of Americans, especially in rural communities; in the post-World War II era, modern square dance similarly enjoyed participants numbering in the millions.
Despite its popularity, the history of square dance has not been well documented. Scores of books explain specific figures and calls, but there are few current sources that offer a detailed discussion of the development of this form of American social dance. We hope this site helps to fill that need.
We've been unable to locate information about caller Floyd Lockhart—please contact SDHP if you have any—but he's paired as a caller on the album on which this file appears with Jim… View item
This album sent us searching to learn more about the two individuals. We've determined that "Munyan" refers to Jim Munyon, who was a southern California dance caller who appears in numerous newspaper… View item
Jim Munyon was a popular caller in southern California in the early 1950s. Indeed, he was one of the callers at the famous (and enormous) 1950 square dance in Santa Monica with Lloyd Shaw as the MC.… View item
This website is an effort by Clark Baker—a MWSD caller who also enjoys traditional contras and squares—to explain those more traditional forms to modern square dancers. Clark's essay begins: … View item
In the world of modern western square dance today, most callers create the choreography for each dance. Even singing squares, where there is more repetition of figures, can vary each time through, and… View item
In this fifth and final video in this series, Clark Baker looks at two related kinds of dancing and explains the attraction of each: MWSD squares, especially in the Challenge program, on one side, and… View item
Many traditional square dancers look at videos of MWSD and see a lot of stop-and-go rather than continuous motion; this is often termed "puzzle solving set to music." Clark reminds the viewer that in… View item
In this third video in the series, Clark explains the difference between square dance "calls" and "concepts" and notes that "concepts are what make Advanced and especially… View item
Clark describes the structure of modern western square dancing as it exists today, outlining the different programs or levels. He then talks about he got involved in MWSD Challenge dancing, explaining… View item
Clark describes the history of Tech Squares, the MWSD group based at MIT in Cambridge, MA. This club takes new dancers through the Mainstream in 8 weeks and on through Plus in 5 additional. A typical… View item
This half-hour video looks closely at the Tech Squares modern square club at MIT. Under the leadershp of caller Ted Lizotte and with the assistance of a large group of dedicated assistants and dance… View item
To read a copy of the full story, see Additional Files below.This 1944 news story, written in the usual flashy style ofBillboard magazine, documents a surge of interest in "hillbilly music" in New… View item
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