David's Blog

Square Dance History Project launches website!

A project that has been a big part of my life took a giant step forward today: we launched the Square Dance History Project's digital library and website. This project, with financial support from organizations representing both traditional and modern square dancers, takes a broad look at square dancing in its many forms as well as the historical antecedents of today's squares.

The project's primary focus is to collect good examples of moving images--more than 400 videos so far--that document square dancing. This includes New England dosido and western docey-do, barn dances and hoedowns, stately quadrilles and rip-roarin' squares of the 1950s, as well as modern square dance programs from Mainstream to Challenge. The site also includes interviews, text, photographs, audio files, and much more.

Among the treats awaiting you:

  • Rare footage of the Lloyd Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, plus a black and white silent film (1955) showing square dances in Central City, Colorado
  • A set of 100 high-definition videos filmed at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, with six nationally-known square dance callers
  • More than 150 items related to modern western square dance (MWSD), including an article by Jim Mayo looking at the early years of that style, illustrated with live recordings from the 1940s and 1950s
  • Silent footage of southern Appalachian mountain squares from the early 1930s
  • A curated assortment of more than 400 videos showing dancing from Newfoundland and Quebec to the American Southwest
  • Exhibits showcasing different aspects of the broad collection

The site is a work in progress, and additional material will be added regularly to the collection. The home page offers a way to contribute additional items; the organizers are especially interested in locating home movie footage from decades past.

Please visit the site and settle back for hours of viewing and listening and reading. Browse the Items, explore the Exhibits and Collections, read the Blog and take the survey, and spread the word to others.

Dare To Be Square!

David Millstone, Dance Caller

Lebanon, NH


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