Brundage, Al History Presentation

Brundage,AL

Al Brundage

History Presentation

Early 1960’s

 

Good evening everyone, this is Al Brundage and I’m a square dance caller.  You know, today, square dancing is getting to be very very popular, as it was in the old days.  You know that square dancing emerged into the light of history on March 19, 1651.  For on that day was published the very first English dance book, John Playford’s epical English Dancing Master.  This was a Puritan publication issued while the young commonwealth was involved in its first wars.  But revolutionists must dance, and when they defy the rest of the world, as the Puritans did in killing their king, they danced their own national dances.  Playford’s book met that demand.  It published the gay, simple native dances, with their traditional tunes, to fill the vacuum left by the disappearance of the imported, complicated dances favored by the court.  In the ballroom as on the battlefield, the people routed the crown.  At this point, once you take time out to explain that the Puritans approved of dancing, and enjoyed it thoroughly.  This indubitable fact goes against the venerable vulgar era which insists that they were blue nosed killjoys who hated all fun and passed laws against music, untraceable laws of course.  The attitude of the Puritans was that of their favorite authors Spencer, Milton and a stricter Bunyan in whose works all good people dance from angels down.

Now the type of dance which was rapidly becoming most popular in those days was that in which everybody dances with everybody else regardless of rank.  This was the “Longways” soon to be known as the “Country Dance”, formed in two lines facing each other as in our Virginia Reel.  Any couple can join in at the foot, that’s away from the caller and even if they don’t know the dance they will by the time they reached the top when it’s their turn to go down the line.  This Longways like all subsequent square dancing was a community game.  And let’s play that game right now, get your partner, form on, for a contra dance Longways.

By the way, the dances in the 1600s were learned and danced without a caller, or perhaps sometimes just a prompt command, which is what I’m going to do so that you can get some idea of how these dances were danced and how they are done today and they are retained in their traditional manner.

(Music starts)

Face lady on the left and balance all

Swing your partner

Circle 4

Other way back

Form a line all promenade

And you come back home

Two ladies chain

Chain back again

And bow to your partners all

The French adapted the name Country Dance as contredanse for these longways sets a concept that was later translated back into English as Contra Dance or Contra for short.  They also developed a type of their own but their sense of form was not satisfied with the long double line of an indefinite number of couples so they concentrated on the square limited to four couples.  As these squares were still rural in concept they acquired the name cotillion, which was anglicized as cotillion, meaning a peasant girl’s petticoat.  The group on stage has formed for one of these traditional dances now and will do the Grand Square.

(Music starts – no prompts)

The French squares were increasing in popularity in spite of the fact that they were both complicated and short.  The first difficulty was overcome by giving the dancers printed directions and playing cards with these directions may still be found here and there in the curio shops.  The second problem was not so easily solved.  Why bother to learn something which was finished as soon as four couples had done their bit while the simpler contras lasted until 20 or so couples had danced.   After 1800, the dancing masters worked out a sequence of  “changes”, all hands around, balance partners, grand right and left, and so forth, which sequence the dancers memorized once and for all.  Then these “changes” were danced as though they were the verses of a song with the figure taking the place of the chorus, thus the Cotillion was made to last about as long as the Country Dance.  The device was very ingenious, but died out when calling was invented.  The “changes” survived as the introductory part of almost every square dance today.  Actually these “changes” now represent the primary basics of square dancing and there are eight of them.

It was the War of 1812 which insured the popularity and development of the square dance in this country.  The pro English New Englanders kept on with the English contras but the rest of the nation refused to dance the English dances and would do nothing but the French squares.  At this point some smart American invented calling which made it unnecessary to memorize the dances beforehand.  Like all great inventions it was simple.  The fiddler or leader of the orchestra merely kept telling the dancers what to do next.  And so we begin to approach the modern calling of today.

Let me call these eight changes for you and put them into a routine which was undoubtedly danced in the early 1800s.

These changes in the order in which I will call them are:

Balance

Swing

Allemande left

Grand right and left

Promenade

Right and left thru

Ladies chain

Do Sa Do

I will have to throw a little bit of miscellaneous material in there to make a smooth dance out of it but you will recognize them when you hear them I’m sure.

(Music starts)

Balance partner

Swing and whirl and everybody swing your girl

Allemande your left with the corner

Right hand to your partner, grand right and left

And meet your partner promenade

 

Head couples forward up to the middle and back

And a right and left thru

Now right and left back in the same old track

Same ladies chain across

Chain them on back and don’t get lost

 

And two and four forward up and a back with you

Forward again and a right and left thru

Right and left back like you always do

Two ladies chain just you two

And turn and chain them back in the same old track

 

Go round your corner, do sa do that corner girl

Swing your partner round with a swing and whirl

And everybody swing

Allemande left with your corner

Right hand to your partner

Grand right and left

And meet your partner, promenade

Promenade around the hall everybody home and home you all.

 

And bow to your partner

And wave to the girl across from you

And let’s stop there and rest a few

The tremendous drive into the west preserved the old style dances in their original vigor.  Immigrants took these dances with them.  Balls became the chief means of getting the scattered settlers together and preserving their sanity.  These balls could be revels that attracted people from many miles around.  They lasted through the night if not the entire week.  If there were no white women squaws did very well.  The 49’ers in California did not even have squaws.  The men with conspicuous patches on their seats were automatically the ladies.  A fact which accounts for the popular last call “Promenade to the bar and treat your partners”.  In such rowdy circumstances the Western Style of square dancing originated.  Some of you may not realize that there is a difference between Eastern and Western style square dancing.  The Eastern style still retains much of the flavor of the old English country dancing and in many places in New England square dancing is still called Country Dancing.  Most of the dance figures in Eastern style dancing are contained within the early basics with the dancers breaking to a swing as an important part of the structure.  On the other hand, the Western style dances contain a minimum of swinging, the dance patterns are more varied, and break to any number of different movements.  The Texas Star is a good example of a figure which is popular with both Eastern and Western style square dancers.  Let me call it for you both ways.  First the Eastern style breaking to a swing, then the second half of the dance I will call in the style enjoyed by most square dance groups throughout the country.  We could call this Western style, but it is actually rapidly becoming the standard universal style of square dancers everywhere, and it’s the style of square dancing which adult groups find smooth and relaxing.  See if you can pick out the place where the dancers swing from one style to another.

(Music starts)

Bow to partner, Bow to corner

Four ladies forward and back

Four boys star by the right make a right hand star

Go back by the left, pass your partner

Pick out the next with an arm around

Star promenade

Break the star full turn and the ladies in

Star by the right

Now turn it again, full turn, boys in,

Star by the left

Now bring her on home,

Everybody swing your partner, swing your partner around and around

And promenade

 

Four ladies forward and back

Boys center star by the right

Go back by the left

Pass this girl, take the next,

Arm around, star promenade

Now break and turn, a full turn and the ladies star

Girls back out a full turn again, boys star by the left

Now bring her home

Everybody swing your partner

Promenade

 

Four ladies forward, back to the bar

Boys center make a right hand star

Star by the right

Howdy do go back by the left the other way round

Pass this pretty girl by, pick out the next girl arm around

Star promenade, don’t slow down

Break and turn a full turn all the way round

The girls star as you come in, four ladies roll away

And boys star in the same old way

You star by the right

Girls you roll back outside the land and you keep on going till you pass the man

Left hand to the next, left allemande

Here we go right and left grand,

Hand over hand and meet your maid

And Promenade, gonna promenade come a two by eight

Take a little walk and don’t be late

Hey there you settle down

 

Girls go forward up to the middle and back to the bar

And boys center star by the right, how dee do

Your gonna change hands and the same to you

Pass that pretty one by pick out the next well there’s you own

Star promenade around the ring leave mine alone

Now break and turn a full turn outside in and the ladies star

And gone again.

Four ladies whirl away half sashay and boys star in the same old way

Girls back track go round the outside land pass your man

Left to the next, left allemande

Here we go right and left grand

Hand over hand and you meet old Jack

Box the gnat

Girls star by the left hand in go once around to the same man

Box the gnat

Grand right and left ‘round you go

Hand over hand and you meet a little doe

With a do sa do on heel and toe

Allemande left on the corner

And come on home and weave the ring

Go weave it. in and out and on around

And you meet your doll take a little walk

Promenade All

Promenade two by two and take your honey and home with you

And bow to partner all

There you stand that’s it that’s all

During this period of the Western movement the people on the East Coast were of course still dancing.  Any new song which scored a hit, particularly those of Stephen Foster, were immediately used by the better callers who invented dances for them.  They adapted themselves to the structure of the song, introduction, four stanzas, chorus, and sometimes a coda.  Thus the form of the modern singing call came into existence.  Here is one that has enjoyed popularity throughout the years.   Tap you foot and hum along with us as we dance Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet.

(Music starts)

Old Gray Bonnet

Allemande left your corner

Come home swing your partner

Everybody promenade I say

Through the fields of clover we will ride on to Dover

And dance our troubles away

 

Head two couples forward get your corner

then return and turn alone

Go forward up and back again with you

Pass on thru then lets turn alone

Right and left thru comin’ home

Join hands and circle eight and then

Your gonna allemande left with your corner

Do sa do your partner

Go back and allemande the corners all

Grand right and left around you go

Rockin on your heel and toe

You meet and do sa do around

Allmande left on that corner

Come home swing your partner

And you can take and promenade I say

Through the fields of clover we will ride on to Dover

To dance our troubles away

 

Head two couples forward, get that corner

Then return and turn alone

Go forward up and back again with you

Pass on thru then let’s turn alone

Right and left thru a coming home

And join hands and circle eight and then

You’re going to do sa do the corner

See saw around your partner

Go back and allemande the corner girl

Grand right and left around you go

Walking on the heel and toe

You meet and do sa do around

Allemande left on that corner

Come on home swing your partner

And take it promenade I say

Through the fields of clover we will rock it on to Dover

Just to dance our troubles away

 

Side two couples forward get your corner

Then come back and turn alone

Go forward up and back again with you

Pass on thru then let’s turn alone

Right and left thru a coming home

Join hands and circle eight and then

Your gonna do sa do with the corner

See saw around your partner

Go back and allemande the corner girl

Grand ol’  right and left go round you go

Walking on the heel and toe

Hey meet and do sa do and then

Allemande left on that corner

Come on home swing your partner

And take and promenade I say

Through the fields of clover we will ride on to Dover

To dance our troubles away

 

Side two couples forward get that corner

Then return and turn alone

Go forward up and back again with you

Pass on thru and then let’s turn alone

Right and left thru a coming home

Join hands and circle eight and then

Your gonna do sa do with the corner

See saw around your partner

Go back and allemande the corner girl

Grand ol right and left go round you go

Walking on the heel and toe

You meet and do sa do and then

Allemande left on that corner

Come on home swing your partner

And take and promenade I say

Through the fields of clover we will ride on to Dover

To dance our troubles away

Today, square dances are about evenly divided between patter calls and singing calls.  The singing calls still are built around the popular standards of the times with the better callers using their own choreography for the figures.  This provides a smooth relaxing rhythm to a melody which everyone knows.  The history of singing calls can be traced through popular songs of the day, starting with Oh Susanna, Nellie Gray, on through Good Old Summertime, Oh You Beautiful Doll, The Best Things In Life Are Free, and right up to one of the very latest Mack the Knife.

(Music starts)

Mack the Knife

Come on you’re going to join you hands and circle left,

Eight hands around you go,

Keep movin’ dad all the way ‘round on your heel and toe.

Allemande left your corner girl, do sa do your own

Men step in and star by the left now move it, move it round the room

Hey get back home and do sa do, and then left allemande

And get on home and promenade you go walking ‘round the land

Oh the line forms on the right girls

Now that Mack is back in town.

 

Head two couples square thru, all the way round you sail

Move it around to the outside star by the right you know.

And then heads star by the left and move it once and then

Turn your corner by the right now partner by the left

Hey then go back to the corner

Catch all eight the right hand half way round

Go back by the left and turn it then promenade around

Oh the line forms on the right boys

Now that Mack is back in town.

 

Come on now head two couples square on thru, all the way round you sail

You star by the right with the outside now move it down the trail.

Heads to the center and star by the left and roll it once and then

Turn your corner by the right now partner by the left

Hey then go back to the corner

Catch all eight the right hand half way round

Go back by the left and turn it promenade around

Oh the line forms on the right girls

Now that Mack is back in town.

 

Come on you’re going to join you hands and circle left, 

Eight hands around you all,

Keep movin’ movin’ movin’ all the way around the hall.

Allemande left your corner girl, now do sa do your own

Men step in and star by the left roll it, roll it, round the room

Hey meet your baby do sa do, and then left allemande

And come on home and promenade go man … man

Oh the line forms on the right boys

Now that Mack is back in town.

 

Side two couples square thru, and all the way round you sail

You star by the right with the outside, now move it down the trail.

Sides to the center, star by the left roll that thing along

Turn your corner by the right now partner by the left

Hey then go back to the corner

Catch all eight the right hand half way round

Go back by the left and turn it you promenade around

Oh the line forms on the right boys

Now that Mack is back in town.

 

Side two couples come on square thru, and all the way round you sail

You star by the right with the outside, roll it down the trail.

Sides to the center, star by the left now roll that thing along

Turn your corner by the right now partner by the left

Hey then go back to the corner

Catch all eight the right hand half way round

Go back by the left and turn ‘em and promenade around

Oh the line forms on the right boys

Now that Mack is back in town.

 

You’re going to join your hands and form a ring and circle round the hall,

Keep movin’ movin’ movin’ all the way ‘round you all.

Allemande left your corner girl, now do sa do your own

Men step in and star by the left now roll it, roll it, round the room

Now meet your baby do sa do, and then left allemande

And get on home and promenade walking ‘round the land

The line forms on the right boys

Now that Mack is back in town. 

Oh that Mack is back in town.

The patter call dances furnish the beat and challenge which experienced dancers love so well.  You may have noticed that our dancers don’t run and skip which many people associate with square dancing.  The movement today is a shuffle, to show what I mean I’ll call a little hash which is a combination of some of the many basics learned in square dance classes now being organized in all sections of the country.

(Music starts)

Bow to your partner there, wave to the girl across the square

Walk all around the left hand lady,

Get back and see saw around your pretty little taw

Allemande left and allemande O go right and left and do pa so

Her by the left a little more do, the corner lady by the right

Partner left and allemande thar, you back up boys you’ve got a star

You back up now but not too far

You shoot the star and on you g,

go right and left to the next A do pa so

Like a chicken in the bread pan picking up dough

And the corner by the right and not too far

Your partner left and thar again, gents wheel in

Back up boys and you’re gone again

You spread out wide but not too much

Box the flea, throw in the clutch and the girls in the middle

Put them in low and pass them twice and on you go

Next by the left a do pa so and the heel and toe

Rack it right along like you did a bit ago

Your partner left and promenade

Promenade and you keep on a going and you don’t slow down

You promenade around

Head couples wheel around, cross trail thru

You turn back, now Dixie chain

Girls turn left the men turn right and here’s you corner

Allemande left with your left hand, here we go right and left grand

Hand over hand Right and left grand and meet your partner

You promenade ol’ Sal, and you promenade Sue

Promenade it’s up to you

And you walk along home like you always do

 

And then one and three go forward up

In to the middle and back with you

Forward again you square thru

And you go four hands

All the way around then right and left thru the outside two

You’re gonna dive thru and pass thru right and left thru the outside two

You’re gonna dive thru square thru five hands, five, five,

The middle of the land

Hey look alive there’s you corner, left allemande

And here we g, right and left grand

Hand over hand and then you meet your girl, the little red hen

And promenade, you promenade your honey and  homeward bound

The feet in the heavens and the foot on the ground.

 

Two and four forward up and back with you

Now forward pass thru you turn back and box the gnat and face the sides

Right and left thru

Inside arch and dive thru, box the gnat

Face the middle, right and left thru

And roll a half sashay and box the gnat across the way

Face the sides and right and left thru

Inside arch and dive thru, and box the gnat and face the middle

Go right and left thru

Now Dixie chain and the girls you go to the left

The men turn right and you go around one

Walk down the middle, right and left thru in the middle of the set

Oh turn all, swing your partner round and around

And everybody swing and whirl

And promenade the pretty little girl

Promenade go round the ring, the roosters crow and the birdies sing

Then get on home and home you all

 

Walk all around the left hand lady

See saw go round your pretty little taw

Allemande left in Alamo style right to your partner, balance awhile

Balance out and in

Roll to the right and balance again

Balance out and around

Roll to the left and balance all

Balance out and in

Roll again and balance again

Balance, not too far

Swing with the left and allemande thar

Men back up and not too far, and you back up boys

Now slip the clutch left allemande

And allemande O, go right and left to the next

A do pa so, and chick a chick, chick pick’n up dough

And a corner right and you come back home

And a left to your own

Then promenade your honey leave mine alone

And Promenade the ring

Hey get on home the pretty little thing

And everybody dance

 

And then bow to partner and the corner too

And one and three forward up, back with you

And forward again go right and left thru

You turn and pass thru and both turn right

In single file, and the lady go round two

The man around one

Walk into the middle box the gnat

Right and left thru in the middle of the set

Same two ladies chain

Face the two and pass thru and split the ring

Go around one down the middle, you cross trail

Corner, left allemande the corner girl

Grand right and left the world

Here we go right and left grand

And you meet your partner man

Promenade Sal and Sue

Promenade that’s what you do

Now walk on home like you always do

Bow to your partner there

Wave to the prettiest gal in the square

And keno man, that’s it you’re there

So this is modern square dancing, fun and good fellowship are the keynotes as it represents one of the most wholesome of adult recreations and an unparalleled social mixer.  You too can enjoy square dancing.  Come and try it sometime.

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