Hand over hand and head over heel… the more you dance, the better you feel!

It’s time to take a partner and square up on the dance floor for Dare to Be Square at the Folk School, November 14-16. We have three fabulous callers lined-up: Tom Hinds, Janine Smith and Beth Molaro. Evening Star is playing the music for the weekend. The band includes Folk School favorites Steve Hickman on fiddle, John Devine on guitar, Claudio Buchwald on fiddle/piano and Sam Bartlett on banjo.

Dare to Be Square at the Folk School

Dare to Be Square at the Folk School

Caller Tom Hinds

Caller Tom Hinds

I asked caller Tom Hinds a few questions about calling and dancing in anticipation for this rip-roarin’ fun-filled weekend:

CP: Tell me how you got into dance calling.
TH: I took a three hour calling class. It was enough to get me started and enough to get me into trouble.

CP: Two of your class segments: “Western Hash” & “New, New England Squares” talk about specific locations/regions. How does location and region come into play with square dancing?
TH: The regional flavor of square dancing doesn’t really hold anymore. Fifty years ago you could do western style square dancing in New England. So I’m inclined to talk about Western and New England as styles that aren’t pinned down to a place any longer. It’s just a style that callers and dancers can choose no matter where they live.

CP: Any advice to square dancers? budding callers?
TH: First of all, square dance as much as you can – become comfortable with squares. Take some modern western square dance lessons to give your self another perspective. Then volunteer. Teach a basic class for seniors. Just be sure to adapt – don’t do long swings, don’t end with a last waltz etc. Make it easy and fun. Just realize that teaching seniors is REALLY different than what’s done at a contra dance. You have to break it down more and you have to be much more careful in choosing your material. And seniors need more practice before you start the music.

Come on back in a right & left grand

Come on back in a right & left grand

CP: Why did you choose to name your books “Dance All Night?”
TH: Back then some of the all night dances will still fresh in my memory. AND my girl friend at the time gave me a paper cutting that became the cover of the book.

CP: If you were a square dance figure or break what move would you be?
TH: An arky teacup chain.

CP: Any closing words?
TH: Yeah, stop all this sissy contra dancing and square dance!

Join us for Dare to be Square Dance Weekend 2014

Old-time square dancing is experiencing a resurgence of popularity in many parts of the country, especially among young people. Have fun dancing to live music with three well-known callers who have over 100 years of calling experience between them! All dances will be taught and walked through in advance. The weekend also includes talks on the history of square dancing and a Saturday night Brasstown community square & contra dance. Some previous contra or square dance experience is recommended. Singles and couples are welcome. Register on our website or call our office: 1-800.FOLK.SCH (365.5724)

For even more inspiration, and to learn more about the roots of the DTBSQ movement, read Phil Jamison’s classic article and call to action for square dancing on the Old Time Herald website: Community Dances in the Eighties: Dare To Be Square! 

We don't need records, we get to dance to glorious live music and have callers teach us what to do in person. Petticoats optional ;-)

We get to dance to glorious live music and callers at Dare To Be Square. Petticoats optional 😉

Tentative Schedule


Three squares circle right in 1964 at a Folk School Community Dance. In rear, Joan Holland dances with dad Wayne and brother Wayne Jr. In collarless plaid shirt, upper center is Danny Wilson. At left front in white shoes is Mary Ellen Smith. Others unidentified.

4:30 Instructor Orientation
5:30 Student Orientation
6:00 Supper
7:00 Introductions
7:30 Dance

8:15 Breakfast
9:00 Singing Squares: Updating the Repertoire a Bit – Janine Smith
10:00 New, New England Squares – Tom Hinds
10:55 Discussion
11:20 Rip Roaring, Red-Hot Patter Squares – Beth Molaro
12:15 Lunch
1:30 You’ve Tried the Rest, Now Try the Best: Squares of Gene Hubert – Janine Smith
2:30 Western Hash – Tom Hinds
3:40 Squares for Camps, Weddings & Family Reunions – Beth Molaro
4:30 Discussion
6:00 Supper
7:15 Videos
8:00 Dance

8:15 Breakfast
9:10 Farewell Dance
11:30 Closing Ceremony and Craft Class Exhibit

Cory Marie Podielski
About Cory Marie Podielski

Cory Marie Podielski is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and writer for the John C. Campbell Folk School. She has been writing for the Folk School Blog since 2012 and enjoys interviewing artists, musicians, and craftspeople. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the banjo, dancing, printmaking, playing in clay, and assisting in Folk School bread baking classes. podielski.com