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By Paul Perkert

Square dancing started well over 300 years ago. The main contributors were France and England. They brought their countries' dances to America when they migrated from Europe. John Playford, an English musician and dance master, published a book called "The English Dance Master." It consisted of 17 edition's and was published through the years of 1650 to 1728.

In the early part of the 20th century, Henry Ford played a part in the promotion of "country dance" and in 1926 was the co-publisher of a book on "country dancing." In 1939 the first book was published in the U.S. on "western square dance" or "cow-boy dances" by LLoyd (Pappy) Shaw.

The basic form of square dancing began in the early 50's. At that time the different calls were regional ~ that is to say that the caller in one area would use different calls than a caller in another. Therefore, it was difficult to visit another part of the country and understand the calls.  In 1974 Caller Lab came into the picture.

Caller- Lab is an international association of square dance callers. Their business was to standardize all of the calls and moves and put them into different levels according to difficulty. Starting with the "basic" calls, then on to "mainstream," "plus," "advanced," and for those who never seem to be satisfied there is "challenge" with an extremely difficulty level. Just about all of the square dance clubs operate at the plus level; however, there are clubs around that host dances for the more advanced levels.

Square dancing is enjoyed all over the world and can be danced by anyone who has taken lessons. No matter where you dance - Japan, Western Europe, or any other country, the calls are all in English. The dancers from other countries transpose the call in English over to their own language and do them right on cue. 

I started square dancing back in the early 70's and participated for a number of year's before taking a break and backing out of it for a while. My present wife Rita, who I have been married to for about 15 years now, decided one day that she would like to try "square dancing," she being influenced by a gal who she worked with who was a former square dancer.

Soooo - off I went once again and we went all through the lessons for 28 weeks. I was called a "re-tread" which is the terminology for a person on their second time around.


That was back around 1990 and we are still going strong. We have belonged to a few dance clubs through the years and have danced in many different states - at conventions and weekend "get-away" dances. 
I remember one of the National conventions that we attended in Cincinnati, Ohio back in the early 90's. There were over 22,000 people in attendance and it extended over the period of a week at the Convention  Center.

We even danced one evening down at the arena in Riverside Park, which is the home of the Cincinnati Reds base ball team. 


One of my pictures shows all of the badges, pins and awards that we have collected over the years. The other pictures of us were taken at different dances. My wife Rita, who has spent most of her life behind a sewing machine, makes all our outfits in her sewing shop. She has also made many an outfit for other square dancers during the time that we have been dancing. 
If anybody is interested in getting into this fun activity, please don't hesitate to email me and I will do whatever I can to help you:  KF4ZAB@INTELIPORT.COMYou can also obtain all of the necessary information, including a complete history on square dance, by clicking on DOSADO.COM (which will open in a new window) or just enter "Square dance history" in your search engine and that will take you to many other sites on the subject.
HEY people! Thank you for reading my article ~~ My best to all of you from T.H.S.  Sincerely,  Paul Perkert  '55

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