Traditional Square Dance and
Old Time Square Dance Links
Because traditional square dances or old-time square dances are danced as part of the program at many contra dances, I have made a list of groups and dance series which appear, on description, to be as informal in attitude as the crowd you'll see and meet at a contra dance. That means, for the most part, I have not included groups that appear to have an emphasis on Modern Western Square Dancing. These inclusions and exclusions are not meant to place a value on any type of dancing, just that I have to limit, at some point, what types of dancing I will include on these lists. This is an adjunct page to my links about contra dancing.
To differentiate these types of square dances from others, here's a quote from Jaso's FAQ on old-time square dancing
Q: What's the difference between old-time square dancing and modern western square dancing?
A: "Modern western square dancing" evolved after WWII and has a strong focus on performance and exhibition. Western squares often involve costumes, pre-recorded music, club membership, and difficult dance figures that people actually practice. Old-time squares are more informal and party-like and always have live string band music.
Or, in my words, if there are mentions of levels, clubs, badges, colors and/or costumes, links to that type of dancing are not included here. Not that either type of dancing is better, just that I'm trying to limit the list of links to a certain type of square dancing.
Tony Parkes has contributed an article in Wikipedia that provides information and resources for those who want to find out more about traditional square dancing.
Nils Fredland has developed a new Square Dance Resources site as part of Country Dance and Song Society site. New entry (May 17, 2011)
A number of well-known callers and dance historians are working on the Square Dance History Project. If you have any interest, I recommend visiting the web site and, especially if you have documents, information, etc., checking in with the organizers. New entry (July 31, 2012)
I do understand that a significant number of contra dancers do not like square dances, with attitudes ranging from, "This is a good time to sit one out" to "Kill me now". Obviously, this list is not for them. But, I do enjoy having a little variety during the course of an event. Ten or so contras (plus a couple of waltzes), while not necessarily boring, can be less interesting. In any event, I'll see you out on the dance floor.
As always, if you have additions or corrections for this list, please e-mail me.
New links are simply new to me, not
necessarily new to the World Wide Web. Change
in URL means that a link has changed its WWW address or
- Alabama, Delta: Georgy Alabam Square Dance Weekend in January.
- Alaska, Fairbanks: Annual festivals in February and June includes square dancing New entry (January 22, 2010)
- California, Berkeley: Berkeley Old Time Music Convention in mid-September
- California, Los Angeles Annual Old-Time Social in May
- California, Los Angeles: Occasional dances at various locations. New entry (April 17, 2011)
- California, San Francisco: San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival in early February.
- Canada: Canadian Olde Tyme Square Dance Callers' Association lists dances across the nation.
- Canada: Fiddle Events in Canada lists many events which include dancing.
- Canada, Cape Breton Island, Inverness County: square dances are held almost every night of the week.
- Canada, New Brunswick, Tobique: The Tobique Fiddle Camp is held in late June each year.
- Colorado, Lyons: 1st Saturdays from January to April and the Saturday before Halloween New entry (December 8, 2011)
- Connecticut, Killingly: 2nd Saturdays.
- Delaware, Arden: Some Wednesdays as part of international folk dancing
- District of Columbia, Washington: Various Saturdays. New entry (April 7, 2011)
- Georgia, Dahlonega: Bear on the Square Annual Mountain Festival in April includes square dancing.
- Germany, Berlin: 1st and 3rd Sundays.
- Illinois, Hudson: Four to five dances each year, including New Year's Eve.
- Indiana, Bloomington: Every other 2nd Saturday during the non-summer months. New entry (October 11, 2010)
- Indiana, Bloomington: Dances from time to time. New entry (April 9, 2011)
- Kentucky, Casscaronne: Second Saturdays from April to December. New entry (August 1, 2012)
- Kentucky, Louisville: Dances on 3rd Saturdays. New entry (April 18, 2013)
- Kentucky, Morehead: Morehead Old Time Fiddlers Convention each July.
- Kentucky, Whitesburg: Check the calendar for information about dances on various Saturdays.
- Maryland, College Park: various dates.
- Maryland, Galesville: Various Saturday nights. New entry (January 16, 2011)
- Massachusetts, Goshen: 2nd Saturdays.
- Massachusetts, Jamaica Plain: 2nd Sundays at Spontaneous Celebrations New entry (September 24, 2013)
- Massachusetts, Montague: 1st Saturdays New entry (September 26, 2013)
- Massachusetts, Watertown: Various Saturdays (Canadian-American squares)
- Massachusetts, Woburn: 4th Fridays New entry (March 12, 2012)
- Michigan, Ann Arbor: Either 1st or 2nd Sunday (non-summer) New entry (July 9, 2011) Change in date (October 14, 2011)
- Michigan, Kalamazoo: 2nd Mondays New entry (September 15, 2013)
- Michigan, South Lyon: 1st Tuesdays New entry (May 13, 2011)
- Minnesota, Duluth: 4th Saturdays New entry (February 18, 2012)
- Minnesota, Minneapolis: 1st Mondays
- Missouri, Hallsville: 2nd Saturdays
- Missouri, Pacific: Some square dances are held at the Tri-County Senior Center
- Missouri, St. Louis: Various dates New entry (March 23, 2013)
- Missouri, West Plains: Old Time Music Ozark Heritage Festival in June
- Netherlands, Hengelo (Gld.): Summer camp in late July including English Country Dance and squares.
- New Hampshire, Hopkinton: Most 2nd and 4th Saturdays, non-summer months New entry (April 17, 2011)
- New Hampshire, Wentworth: 1st Fridays Mention of this series is missing (April 5, 2009)
- New York, Ashokan: Southern Week at Ashokan each August includes a fair amount of square dancing.
- New York, Jacksonville: Occasional square dances on Saturdays New entry (January 17, 2010)
- New York, Schroon Lake: Wednesdays, mid-July to end of August
- North Carolina, Asheville or North Carolina, Asheville: Last Sunday of the month skipping summer months.
- North Carolina, Brasstown: Southern Appalachian Square Dance weekend in late October.
- North Caroina, Denton: 3rd Saturdays (generally)
- North Carolina, Denton: Every Monday
- North Carolina, Glendale Springs: Mountain Music Jamboree on Saturday nights.
- North Carolina, Hendersonville: Various Mondays during the summer. New entry (October 2, 2010)
- North Carolina, Hendersonville: A square dance is part of this all-day event in early October. New entry (October 2, 2010)
- North Carolina, Hot Springs: Bluff Mountain Festival in mid-June with square dancing.
- North Carolina, Pleasant Green: 2nd Saturdays
- North Carolina, Sparta: Every Saturday
- North Carolina, Sparta: Alleghany Jubilee on Tuesdays and Saturdays Change of URL (May 12, 2010)
- Ohio, Cincinnati: Dances on 2nd Tuesdays at Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Avenue, 8pm-10pm New entry (September 12, 2012)
- Ohio, Lucas: Dances on various Saturdays from May to October
- Ohio, Wooster: 2nd Saturdays (discontinued until further notice)
- Oregon, Portland: Portland Old-Time Music Gathering in mid-January
- Oregon, Portland: Pickathon, an annual music festival with some square dancing in early August.
- Oregon, Portland: Sundays New entry (October 24, 2011)
- Pennsylvania, Bradford: Last Fridays New entry (April 23, 2012)
- Pennsylvania, Cochranville: 3rd Saturdays
- Utah, Gardner Village: Annual Frontier Fest in June includes square dancing.
- Vermont, Montpelier: Square Ball (a full day of square dancing) on June 26, 2010. New entry (June 26, 2010)
- Vermont, West Newbury: 4th Saturdays
- Vermont, Winooski: First Sundays (e-mail only) New entry (January 12, 2011)
- Virginia, Ararat: Every Saturday
- Virginia, Blacksburg: 1st Saturdays
- Virginia, Fries: 1st and 3rd Saturdays
- Virginia, Rocky Mount: Festival in the Pines/Tripple Creek Music Festival in late April/early May
- Virginia, Patrick Springs: Every Saturday
- Virginia, Riner: Dance weekend in late April New entry (April 23, 2011)
- Virginia, Stuart: 1st Saturdays (?)
- Washington, Port Townsend: 5th Saturdays New entry (January 11, 2011)
- Washington, Port Townsend: 1st Saturdays New entry (September 17, 2011)
- Washington, Seattle: Last Fridays
- Washington, Seattle: 2nd and 4th Mondays
- West Virginia, Charleston: Vandalia Gathering in late May
- West Virginia, Clifftop: Appalachian String Band Music Festival in late July/early August
- West Virginia, Glenville: West Virginia State Folk Festival in mid-June
- West Virginia, Helvetia: 1st Saturdays; also check FOOTMAD for information. Also check town site for information. First link has problems; added town site (October 26, 2008)
- West Virginia, Morgantown: Gardner Winter Music Festival in late February
- West Virginia, Morgantown: Dances on various Saturdays.
- West Virginia, Various Locations: Dance series in State Parks from July to October.
- Portland, Oregon's Foghorn String Band's line-up fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bass and guitar - is reminiscent of early bluegrass, but their powerful approach is whole-heartedly old-time, centered largely by the fiddle. MySpace page.
- The Jugbusters play at square dances in Floyd, Virginia on occasion.
- The Striped Pig String Band often plays at the square dances in Arcata, California.
- Uncle Wiggily plays on a regular basis for square dances in Portland, Oregon.
This page is part of the Contrdancelinks.com web site. For more information about contra dancing, visit these other site pages:
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*The Colorado link will bring you to Dancing on the Web. The Maine link will bring you to the Downeast Friends of the Folk Arts. The New Mexico link will bring you to the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. The Utah link will bring you to Utah Contradance Information. These fine organizations and individuals already have complete listings for these states and there is no reason for me to duplicate their efforts.
**As far as I know, there are no regular dances or events in Mississippi, South Dakota or Wyoming, but I have created pages if something changes in the future.
Produced by Charlie Seelig
This page last updated on October 5, 2013