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1976 Square Dance Historical Pageant

Cal Campbell provides this account of the production of the historical pageant at the 1976 National Square Dance Convention.

American Square Dancing - 1976 NSDC historical pageant

This is the program, prepared by Cal Campbell, that accompanied the square dance historical pageant at the 1976 National Square Dance Convention in Anaheim, CA. See the next item in the SDHP collection for a behind-the-scenes description of the planning behind this event.

St. Patrick’s Day Square Dance - 1956

This home movie (silent) captures scenes of a St. Patrick’s Day square dance in Clarendon, Texas. in 1956. Numerous dances and couples are captured, as well as children taking the floor when the adults sit down for a break. There's a good shot of the caller (unidentified) at 5:54. Although it's difficult to identify whole sequences of figures,…

Square Dance History display panels

The panels in this set trace the history of square dancing over some 500 years, going back to early origins in England and France. They were assembled by Dick Severance, an early president of the Square Dance Foundation of New England (SDFNE). For more than two decades Dick was an active custodian of the Foundation’s collection of historical…

Square Dance Callers’ Association of Northern California

This website offers a brief history of the SDCANC, including a list of past presidents, a selection of older photographs, and information about the founding of the group in 1949.

Prince Edward Island - quadrilles

Bowing Down Home is a detailed website devoted to the fiddle traditions of Prince Edward Island. The site includes videos, photographs, music files, and interviews (both as audio files and as transcriptions). Much of the website is devoted to fiddle music, of course, and there is also a lot of material on PEI step dancing. The site includes an…

Big Set - Berea Country Dancers, 2011

The Berea Country Dancers perform a version of the southern mountain Big Set. (Searching for that term will bring up several dozen additional Related Items.) Paul Adkins called the dance from the floor. As is the custom in this style, for "Partner swing" and "Corner swing" dancers do a two-hand turn just once around.This was was part of the weekly…

Square dance photos, Austin, TX, 1948

Two photographs taken at a square dance in Austin, TX

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Dance - Scotsville Fire Hall, Cape Breton

Documentation of a dance in Scotsville, a small community in Inverness County, in Cape Breton. You'll need to manually go back to the start of the video; for some reason, when this embeds it'sabout halfway through the video. The second half of the video is from a different venue, and includes music and step dancing.

Cape Breton - Inverness Country Dance Traditions

This is a collection of 59 audio and video files collected in 1986 by Barbara Leblanc and Laura Sedowsky for the Canadian Museum of History to document local music and dance traditions. Files include extensive interviews (in English and in French) as well as footage recorded at dances. For an enthusiastic overview and description of the collection,…

Parisian Varieties Quadrille

Mid-19th century quadrille, five figures, with music including waltz, polka, and mazurka.Les Variétés ParisiennesA new Quadrille, composed by the "Société Académique des Professeurs de Danse de Paris," etc. Introduced in America by William B. DeGarmoDeGarmo's 1868 book, The Prompter, is available online for…

Ladies to the Center

This short article by Texas dance historian Olcutt Sanders looks at the role played by women in that state's dance history. Sanders notes the early absence of women:

"A scarcity of woman and a general sparseness of settlement in the Texas cattle country until late in the Nineteenth Century (the frontier broke about 1886) made any kind of…

Waltz Quadrilles

This detailed booklet describes waltz quadrilles, a style of dance enjoyed by dancers in this Oklahoma City group. The author are careful to draw a distinction with traditional dances, and predict that this form (combining square and round dancing) will become popular:

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How many of us recall the old-time waltz quadrilles, the one that…

Herb Greggerson bio

This profile of El Paso caller Herb Greggerson was written in 1946. It mentions Greggerson's Blue Bonnet Set heading off on their first US tour in 1939; this was after the team triumphed over Bob Sumrall's Abilene Set in winning a square dance competition.

Chain Lightning - Butch Nelson (clip)

Another example of Butch Nelson's calling, with fast-paced patter keeping dancers moving briskly. Again, the patter clearly shows the caller's western roots.

"And the coyotes howl and the birdies sing,
Pick up your own and you make a little ring..."

Half Sashay - Butch Nelson (clip)

"Pull up your pants and tighten the tracesAll join hands, we're off to the races."With opening patter like this, we know we're in traditional western square dance territory. Thirty seconds later, when partners meet for a swing, there's barely enough time in the patter to swing once around. We're not in New England!The figure has first couple out to…

Sight Calling - Les Gotcher

Les Gotcher's detailed description offer a look into how he created various sight-calling techniques. He includes a section early on that describes the process he went through to create this method. Subsequent sections discuss equivalents and Sequence ("Not enough can be said, or written about Sequence. Sequence determines everything that is going…

Round Dances

Olcutt Sanders was a Texas dance historian. He writes, "The round dances that are included quite generally on square dance programs these days originated in Europe in the late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries and gradually found their way across the Atlantic and to Texas. They were called round dances, of course, because they are danced by…

Quadrille and Cotillion - history

Part of a history of English country dancing in America, this segment looks at the quadrille and the cotillion.

Caution: The author is mistaken when he asserts, "The French had imported the English country dance about the end of the 17th century and apparently took a special liking to the square formation which occurred in some dances." While…