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Cherokee Indian Circle Dance - Indian style?

Where does the square dance call "Indian style" originate? This description of a Cherokee dance, published in 1947, offers interesting possibilities. It comes from a booklet authored by two individuals connected with the "World of Fun" program, created in 1947 by folk dance teacher Michael Herman for the Methodist Church.In his 2015 book, Hoedowns,…

Tait's Orchestra with Bud Udick

Cactus Tait’s Orchestra, taken at the Broadmoor hotel ballroom.. From left to right:
piano, Mrs. Ethel Tait
caller, Col. Earl “Bud” W. Udick (1/11/1916 – 9/5/1979)
fiddle, Thornton B. “Cactus” Tait (1909-1976)
clarinet, Grant Sinton (1894-1974)
banjo, Ben Chichester (1897- 1964)

Pam McKeever and the Flying Squares, 1981

Demonstration of the sort of exhibition dancing created by Lloyd Shaw in the 1930s and popularized by his Cheyenne Mountain Dancers.

The dancers are: Jim Bollman, Karen Atkins, Ernie Spence, Sindee Ernst, Jim Blackwell, Diane Plantamura, Tod Whittemore and Wendy Whittemore.

The musicians are Jacki Spector, banjo; Chris Romaine and Mary Lea,…

Cheyenne Mountain Dancers - death in La Jolla

Tragedy hit the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers on one of their trips. On Thursday, November 4, 1948. dancer Tommy Collins died when he was swept into the Pacific Ocean near La Jolla, California. After telephone consultation with the boy's parents, it was decided to perform that night, and the show was dedicated to him.

The first item here is the…

Cheyenne Mountain Dancers - California, 1948

These photographs, taken during the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers trip to California in November of 1948, illustrate different aspects of the dancers' performance. Today, we associate them with the lively square dance routines, but a typical performance also included the Lancers Quadrille and dances from Mexico, all illustrated here.

We think…

Dancers at Pappy Shaw's summer school - 1947

These photos show dancers at Shaw's summer class in August of 1947. In addition to squares, photos illustrate round dances, including the Varsouviana. (This last photo includes musicians: piano, fiddle, guitar and, possibly, banjo). Men are in Western wear, and all the women are wearing long dresses or skirts.

Tennessee Star - David Hendrix, 1951

East Tennessee caller D. B., Hendrix provides directions for this big set variation of the Texas Star. A biography of the author can be found at the related item, "Smoky Mountain Square Dances."

"The Square Dance" - David Hendrix, 1951

East Tennessee caller D. B., Hendrix provides a general introduction to square dancing. He writes, "Square dancing is easy to learn. Anyone who can march or keep time to music can learn it. in nearly every community there is at least one person who can call square dances to some degree. Form a square dance group in your community. Eight couples are…

Bird in the Cage - D. B. Hendrix, 1952

This is third of three articles from Progressive Farmer featuring East Tennessee caller D. B., Hendrix. Here he provides directions forhis version of a classic square dance figure. A biography of the author can be found at the related item, "Smoky Mountain Square Dances."

One Night Stand - Don Armstrong

This handout by caller Don Armstrong explains his approach to one night stands. In addition to programs for adults, he also discusses programs for children and for teens. The handout also discusses programs for "Dancers – regular open dance."

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The programming objective in the open dance, as in all dances, is to attempt to please the large…

Beginners Square Dance - plan for ten lessons (Don Armstrong)

This handout by caller Don Armstrong explains in detail the material to be covered in a ten-session introduction to square dancing. For each lesson, Armstrong suggests figures to be taught and suggests some appropriate dances. Note: the use of specific dances is an indication of the time, when square dances still had specific routines rather than a…

The Roberts - couple dance

Couple dance that was part of the regular program of dances at many New England dances. Here it's being danced by the New England Chestnuts performance group at the berth of the USS Constitution in Boston harbor. Musicians include Walter Lenk, Jack O'Connor, Debby Knight, and Dave Langford.

Canadian Barn Dance - schottische

The Canadian Barn Dance is a schottische, here danced to "The Carfuffle Shuffle" tune written by Marianne Taylor, and played by The Latter Day Lizards and guests; the Lizards are Dave Langford (fiddle), Bill Tomczak (clarinet) and Peter Barnes (piano). This couple dance was recorded at the annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend (Durham, NH).

Rye Waltz - couple dance

he Rye Waltz is an adaptation of Comin’ Through the Rye and The Highland Schottische, and intersperses a schottische step with a waltz. Music by The Latter Day Lizards and guests; the Lizards are Dave Langford (fiddle), Bill Tomczak (clarinet) and Peter Barnes (piano). This couple dance was recorded at the annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend…

Foxtrot - couple dance

The Old Grey Goose provided the music and Doug Protsik gave a brief introduction as dancers enjoyed a little foxtrot among other country dances. This was part of the Retrospective session led by caller Chrissy Fowler: "Overlock's Orchestra, Maine dances in the early 1900s." Couple dances such as the foxtrot were—and in some communities still…

Dancing in Westport Point, MA

This video documents a gathering of summer and year-round residents of Westport Point, MA. The community has hosted a summer dance series since the 1930s, originally led by Lyle Ring and then, in later years, by Dick Best and Ted Sannella. The speakers are gathered in the barn where the dancing used to take place; they share stories of dancing…

Square Dances - 1981 - Pam McKeever & Tod Whittemore

This footage was recorded by Kirston Koths, Oak Leaf Studios, on December 31, 1981, going into January 1, 1982. The event was a New Year's Eve dance with callers Tod Whittemore and Pam McKeever, held at Belmont Hill School near Boston.The programs mixes contra dances with these squares:Wagon Wheel (00:00)Take a Little Peek (4:38)Head Two Ladies…

Danse québécoise: Quadrille en 5 parties

Each figure begins with instruction, followed by a sequence of that figure being danced to music. This is one of more than 200 short videos uploaded by caller and choreographer Yvan Gagné. You can find the complete set here; scroll past the many videos illustrating step-dance figures to find the square dance videos.

And They Danced - Cape Breton dance

This documentary (47 minutes) is a rich portrait of stepdancing and square dance traditions in Cape Breton Island, particularly in Inverness County.

Inverness Set - 2nd and 3rd figures

Great example of square dancing at a house party, an authentic setting. It's common for squares to be done at house parties. Lots of well-known locals in the video. The musicians are Howie MacDonald & Mac Morin.