The portal contains a vast range of resources by and for the dance, music, and song community. From expert tips from fellow organizers and callers, to databases of dances and songs, find what you need to help engage with the traditions you love!

Resources added before 2022 do not all have explicit permission from the authors. If your resource is in the portal and you’d like it removed, please email us.

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Tip: Selecting multiple checkboxes will give you more specific results. For example, to see specific resources for contra dance callers, select both Callers and Contra Dance.

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283 Results

Lisa Heywood’s Gender-Free Dance Page

Lisa offers a variety of resources on gender-free and positional calling and dancing.

From Lisa Heywood

Categories: Callers, Dancers, Organizers

Topics: Equity, Non-Gendered

Giving and Receiving Help

Bruce Hamilton gives some tips on how to give and receive help on the dance floor. 

From CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Dancers

Old-time Dance Calling for Weddings, Parties, and One-Night Stands

To assist the caller at those sometimes challenging one-night stands or other special occasions. Includes helpful pointers, sample contract, sample dance program with instructions for several easy dances, and an annotated bibliography. By Erik Hoffman.

This resource is free for CDSS members and is available for purchase through the CDSS Online Store.

Categories: Callers, Dancers

Contra Dance Technique

In these three resources, John provides tips on good technique for swinging, allemands, connection, and more. There is a focus on how to improve dancing skills and prevent injuries.

From John Sweeney

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Dancers, Novices

Contra Dance Beginner Session

Watch a contra dance beginner lesson in action (YouTube video). These videos are both helpful to callers wanting to learn how to teach beginners AND to beginners wanting to learn how to contra dance.

From Jim Crawford

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Contra Dance Introductory Session

Watch a video of George Marshall teaching an introductory session before an evening contra begins. 

From Ray Sebold

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Dances for a Crowded Hall

Six experienced English dance leaders present programming and hall management suggestions for a crowded hall. 

This resource is free for CDSS members and is available for purchase through the CDSS Online Store.

Categories: Callers, English Country Dance

Country Dance & Contra Dance Formations

This website provides images and sample dances for over 100 different formations. Check it out as one way to move beyond longways sets and squares!

From John Sweeney

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography

Notes on Choreography for Duple Minor Improper Contra Dances

These notes are about the choreography of duple minor (two couple minor sets), improper contra dances, i.e. modern contra dances. For potential and practicing choreographers and callers, assuming they have a working knowledge of contra dancing.

From Cary Ravitz

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Topics: Composing

Square Dance History Project

An expansive resource of square dance history, repertoire, and more. Also contains a vast collection of stories, photographs, video, and audio.

Categories: Callers, Dancers, Organizers, Square Dance

Topics: History, Repertoire

Beth Molaro’s Calling Videos

Interviews with Beth Molaro about various aspects of calling including working with a band, programming, walkthroughs, calling from memory, squares at a contra dance, and more!

From Dennis Merritt

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Experienced Participants, Novices

Notes From A Contra Calling Workshop

An outlines some of important considerations as a beginning caller calling a guest spot at a dance. Focus on the verbiage used when calling and includes other useful links.

From Jeff Kaufman

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Novices

Topics: Choreography

Contra Dance Card Examples

This webpage includes some ideas on how you might write out your contra dances.

From William Watson

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Colin Hume’s Callers Workshop

A wealth of information on all aspects of calling for ECD, contras, squares, barn dances, and more. 

From Colin Hume

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, English Country Dance, Experienced Participants, Novices, Square Dance

Notes on Teaching Country Dance

These notes are distilled from Bruce Hamilton’s workshops on teaching country dances. If you can’t get to a camp or workshop to experience this respected dance leader’s teaching up close, this is the next best thing. Thoughtful, thought-provoking, and challenging to teachers at all levels. 

This resource is free for CDSS members and is available for purchase through the CDSS Online Store.

Categories: Callers, English Country Dance, Experienced Participants, Novices

Calling an Evening of Contra

A concise summary of what to considerations when calling a contra dance from preparation through the dance.

From Peter Amidon

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Novices

Calling All Callers, Old and New

Some great calling tips from Douglas A. Singleton especially for newer callers.

From CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Novices

Village Green English Country Dancers ECD Manual

This manual describes in detail figures, formations, and steps in English country dancing. It also includes descriptions of common difficulties in executing steps and figures.

From Village Green English Country Dancers

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Dancers, English Country Dance, Novices

New Mexico Callers Collective Handbook

This resource outlines a number of considerations for callers and callers collectives. This includes having a growth mindset, how to give feedback, how to prepare for calling, teaching a beginner lesson, how to cover when a dance breaks down, rolling starts, and so much more. The resource touches upon calling both contra and square dances although many of the ideas are likely applicable to most calling situations.

From Erik Erhardt

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Novices, Square Dance

Contra Calling Basics

This how-to is for those interested in learning to call contra dances. The resource assumes that you have experience dancing contra dances (i.e. you know the basic figures well enough to explain them to others), but that you are calling for and teaching a group of dancers that includes a sizable portion of beginners.

From CDSS

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Novices

Topics: Choreography

Sacred Harp Singing

All things shape note, provided by the Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association.

Categories: Organizers, Singers

Singalong and Song Circle Locator

Rise Up and Sing provides a list of regular song swap/singalong groups that are open to the general public, organized by geographical location.

From Annie Patterson and Peter Blood

Categories: Singers

Traditional Music Today Facebook Group

This Facebook group “attempts to be a safe(r) space to discuss traditional music, culture and our lives as members of it.”

Categories: Callers, Dancers, Musicians, Organizers, Singers

Topics: Discussion

Sacred Harp Singing Discussion Lists

Two Sacred Harp singing email lists. One focuses on events and individuals while the other focuses on the historical and technical aspects of shape note singing.

From Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association 

Categories: Organizers, Singers

Shared Weight: Song Organizers Discussion List

This mailing list (email group) welcomes anyone interested in organizing song events. List members ask/answer questions, discuss issues that come up for them, and share helpful resources. There are both new and experienced organizers from throughout North America and beyond. Join the discussion!

Categories: Organizers, Singers

Topics: Discussion

The Max Hunter Collection

An archive of almost 1600 Ozark Mountain folk songs, recorded between 1956 and 1976.

From Missouri State University

Categories: Singers

Topics: Repertoire

The MacEdward Leach collection of Songs of Atlantic Canada

This collection includes songs from Cape Breton and Newfoundland.

From Memorial University

Categories: Singers

Topics: Repertoire

Juneberry 78s: Early American Roots Music

Collection of recordings from the 1920s and on in an online listening library. Many genres of early US folk as well as Cape Breton, Calypso, Irish, and more.

Categories: Musicians, Singers

Topics: Repertoire

Canadian Folk Music Archive

Canadian Folk Music is a journal published by the Canadian Society for Traditional Music containing articles, notices, reviews, and commentary on all aspects of Canadian folk music.

Categories: Singers

Topics: Repertoire

Historic American Sheet Music

This collection provides access to digital images for over 3,000 pieces from the collection, published in the United States between 1850 and 1920.

From Duke University Libraries

Categories: Musicians, Singers

Topics: Repertoire

GEMS: The Best of The Country Dance and Song Society Diamond Jubilee Music, Dance and Song Contest

This online collection contains American (e.g., contra, mixer, triplet) dances, English dances (with music), tunes, and songs composed by the country dance and song community.

From CDSS

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Dancers, English Country Dance, Musicians, Singers

Topics: Choreography, Repertoire

Digital Library of Appalachia (Music Collection)

A searchable database of several thousand non-commercial sound recordings that document much of Appalachian music’s geographic, ethnic, vocal, and instrumental diversity.

From the Appalachia College Association

Categories: Musicians, Singers

Topics: Repertoire

Amidon Choral Music

Peter and Mary Alice offer more than 30 (and adding more all the time) free downloads of sheet music of accessible choral arrangements, mostly a cappella SATB, that are steeped in traditional music. Most are Amidon arrangements; there are a few by other old and new composers and arrangers, including a selection of classic American shape note songs.

From Peter and Mary Alice Amidon 

Categories: Educators, Singers

Topics: Repertoire

The Music Box

The Music Box is an extensive searchable online database of more than 2500 songs that includes information on the song (where it can be found in songbooks, composers, song genre, culture) as well as a way to listen to recordings of the song by various artists.

From Rise Up and Sing

Categories: Singers

Topics: Repertoire

Broadside Ballads Online

Broadside Ballads Online presents a digital collection of English printed ballad sheets from between the 16th and 20th centuries, linked to other resources for the study of the English ballad tradition. The collection includes many primitive woodcut illustrations, and words, but rarely musical notation.

From the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford

Categories: Singers

Topics: Repertoire

A Folk Song A Day

Jon Boden’s project to record a folk song a day yielded a total of 365 folk songs with introductions and notes. This is a searchable database, or you can scroll through an alphabetical list of the songs.

From Jon Boden

Categories: Singers

Topics: Repertoire

The Full English Project

The Full English Project is the world’s biggest free digital archive of traditional folk music and dance tunes, and songs.

From EFDSS

Categories: Dancers, Musicians, Singers

Topics: History, Repertoire

Mudcat Café

The Mudcat Café is an online discussion group and song and tune database, which also includes many other features relating to folk music.

Categories: Musicians, Singers

Topics: Discussion, Repertoire

The Folk Scholarship Roots and Geopolitical Boundaries of Sacred Harp’s Global Twenty-first Century

This article by Jesse P. Karlsberg describes the history of Sacred Harp from its infancy until today.

From CD+S Online

Categories: Singers

Topics: History

Vocal Range

This blog post looks at what is a comfortable vocal range for singers – helpful to know when leading songs.

From Jeff Kaufman

Categories: Singers

What is a Memory Prompt?

In this blog post, Amanda writes about how to use a memory prompt as a support when leading a song.

From Amanda Witman

Categories: Singers

Breaking Down the Legacy of Race in Traditional Music in America

This NPR radio piece and the associated article explore the intersection between racism and traditional music & song. Both Jake Blount and the Youth Traditional Song Weekend are featured.

From National Public Radio

Categories: Organizers, Singers

Topics: Equity

How to Lead Groups in Song In 10 Easy Lessons

Ten tips for leading a successful group sing. 

By Peter Blood and Annie Patterson

Categories: Organizers, Singers

Fostering Intergenerational Community

This document is a product of groups discussions in a workshop attended by members of the YTS community. It focuses on what works, what doesn’t, and how individuals can raise intergenerational issues within their community.

From Youth Traditional Song Weekend 2015

Categories: Organizers, Singers

Topics: Accessibility

The Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing

The Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing is a blog-based website for planning, producing, and participating in community song sessions and concerts online. It includes an extensive resources section of over 25 additional guides to various aspects of online music, dance, and song.

Categories: Organizers, Singers

Topics: Pandemic, Starting Up

CDSS Starter Kit for Folk Song Organizers

A comprehensive how-to on starting a sing. Includes sections on vision, finding a venue, publicity, structure, facilitation, and more!

From CDSS

Categories: Organizers, Singers

Topics: Starting Up

The North American Morris Dance Organization

The North American Morris Dance Organization is an association with representatives from self-governing morris teams and individuals, which aims to: promote and maintain interest in the practice of morris dancing by women and men of all ages; serve as a hub for morris dance activity; support the preservation of North American morris dance history; and be part of the ongoing development and innovation of morris dance in all its forms.

Categories: Ritual Dance

Open Morris

Open Morris is a loose organization of morris teams in England.  Their website has a listing of teams, publications, and useful links.

Categories: Ritual Dance

The Morris Federation

The Morris Federation is an association of self-governing morris teams in England. Their website includes archives, publications, team finder, and more.

Categories: Ritual Dance

The Morris Ring

The Morris Ring is an association of approximately 180 morris, sword, and mummer clubs/teams in England. Their website has a wide range of resources, including publications, information about the various traditions, morris music, and more.

Categories: Ritual Dance