Bill Martin talks about his definition of square dancing. To quote him, “It’s all square dancing!”
Portland’s vibrant music and dance scene is taking a big step back in time. Old time fiddle music and square dancing are surging in popularity with young people throughout the Northwest. Do-Si-Do with Bill Martin, veteran caller and mentor to a new generation of square dancers. Follow Bill as he leads Caroline Oakley through the beginning moves of becoming a caller.
For the past few years, the Seattle Subversive Square Dance Society has been working steadily and enthusiastically behind the scenes to re-introduce the joyful activity of square dancing to Seattle. Social and partner dances (waltz, swing, Cajun, etc.) are hugely popular in the Pacific Northwest—we really are a dancing group of folks! But in the 1980s, square dancing’s popularity was replaced in large part by contra dance, brought in from the Northeastern United States. Now this renegade bunch of old-time musicians and callers has organized old-fashioned house parties where you roll up the rugs and clear out the furniture as well as twice-monthly dances at the Tractor Tavern. You know how to do-si-do, don’t you?
This videos is part of Northwest Stories, a year-long project of Northwest Folklife to capture the spirit of communities in the region that participate in the annual Northwest Folklife Festival. The project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Here’s a great example of what can be accomplished when members of the square dance community cooperate. “Square Dancing’s Calling Me” was written and produced in 1986 as a tribute to modern western square dance by Kelly Bryarly (http://kbmusic.com/). It was recorded live in Baltimore, MD, as a cooperative effort by 40+ Callerlab (http://www.callerlab.org/) members. Narration is by Tony Oxendine.
Squares is a documentary film about people who love to square dance.
Squares will be a documentary film about Varene Anderson, the filmmaker’s grandmother, who started the first National Square Dance Convention in Riverside, California in 1952 with her husband Carl Anderson, and two other couples. The filmmaker explores the fascinating world of square dancing, while also learning more about her own family’s connection to the national folk dance.
Think you know about the people who square dance? Think again. Not So Square is a love story about two communities of dancers from Portland, Oregon who realize square dance is a fading art form. In hopes of its survival, they reach out to the younger generation. Winner of the American Documentary | POV Award as part of the 2011 Doc Challenge. (7 minutes)
Minneapolis based artist, Amanda Lovelee believes finding, preserving and constructing a space for physical connection is an urgent issue. As a society that faces the collapse of communities how do we continue to form face-to-face connections? This is why she began The Call and Answer Project, a project that creates a fun, interactive space for physical connection and an awareness of the need for such connections. This is a project about square dancing, hand-holding, and connecting.
Various resources about the art and sport of square dancing