Square Dance History Project
The rich story of North American square dance finally has a home in the digital age.

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.

Still Image

Les Gotcher - photo and autograph

Unlike the other photos of Gotcher (see Related Items), this one captures the high energy of his calling. View item
Document

Pop Sweet

George R. "Pop" Sweet was a traditional fiddler and dance caller from Austerlitz, NY, and the neighboring towns of the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. In the early 1930s, he was engaged… View item
Still Image

Santa Monica 1950 - official program

This is the official program for the 1950 Diamond Jubilee square dance in Santa Monica. Our website has many other items related to this important event in square dance history. View item
Still Image

Dick Leger - promo photo

This newspaper photographer's shot portrays The Man With the Guitar. Viewers will find many other Dick Leger items on our site. View item
Still Image

Huntington's Pavilion, E. Thetford, VT

We often think of the boom years of square dancing taking place starting in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but there is a long history of halls for square dancing before then. This is a series of… View item
Moving Image

Square Dance promo video

This video promoting modern square dance was produced by CALLERLAB in 2022. It's interesting to note that thepromo focuses more on the social aspects of square dancing than on choreographic… View item
Document

Princess Elizabeth square dancing - details

When Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip squared danced during a visit to Ottawa in 1951, photographs from the event created a sensation and led to a rapid upsurge of interest in square dancing in… View item
Sound

Four Leaf Clover - Larry Edelman

The dance is called by Larry Edelman, appearing at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. He credits this to Ed Gilmore. View item
Website

Buddy Weaver Music Podcast

Caller and record producer Buddy Weaver hosts a regular podcast that features modern square dance recordings going back to the 1950s. (Weaver cleaned up and digitized the complete five hours of the… View item
Website

Pat Napier interview

This is a short interview (2013) with Patrick Napier, author of Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing. In it, he talks about his experiences as a member of the Berea Country Dancers, working with Frank… View item
Website

Hilton and Stella Kelly - interview, with tunes

This is a two-part lengthy interview conducted and recorded by Bob Nisbet with Hilton and Stella Kelly. First Parthttps://youtu.be/jZdsYz2TspMSecond parthttps://youtu.be/4Cud_VlbyLI View item