Square Dance History with David Millstone
Experience the rich history and regional variety of square dancing in this in-depth, three part video series.
With photographs, audio, and video, we’ll travel:
- from 17th century France to Civil War ballrooms
- from New England Grange halls to Texas cowboy balls
- and from Newfoundland to New Mexico
to explore and discuss how this dance form became a staple of American popular culture.
Anti-Racism and the Folk Revival
This article focuses on racism within our traditions, in particular relating to the work of Cecil Sharp and his contemporaries, and on how our history informs our present and should influence our future.
From Ezra Fisher
English Country Dance and Its American Cousin
ECD and contra dance share some of the same historical roots. This article by describes those roots and how the two styles have changed over time.
From Alan Winston
Kentucky Mount Square Dancing
This book by Patrick Napier (available online as a PDF) provides a wonderful introduction to Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing. The book includes a bit of history and general calling tips prior to describing many Big Set and Running Set figures. It also includes fillers and closing calls.
West Virginia Square Dances
This online version of Bob Dalsemer’s book describes dance figures as done in five rural West Virginia communities in the 1970s and reports on their regular dance events, including programming, type of audience, price and method of admission, and the traditions of figure calling and musical performance.
Contra Dance Choreography: A Reflection of Social Change
This book (available free online) is based upon Mary McNab Dart’s research into the changing choreography of contra dance, including how dances are composed, what aesthetic principles underlie their composition, and how the evolution of the choreography reflects changes in the preferences and priorities of the people who dance them.
The Origins of English Country Dance
Mary Peralta Railing provides a brief history of how English country dance came to be.
From Colin Hume
Square Dancing in the 1800s
This blog contains some historical information about square dancing in the US.
From Fred Feild
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.
The Performing Arts in Colonial American Newspapers, 1690-1783
This publication fills a major gap in access to eighteenth-century American sources for research in the performing arts and related humanities fields. It includes all references to music, poetry (lyrics), dance, and theater in American newspapers, from the earliest extant copy (1690) through the end of the Revolutionary War (1783).
Compiled by Mary Jane Corry, Kate Van Winkle Keller, and Robert M. Keller