Dance Books Available Locally

originally compiled by David Kirchner

This was an attempt to list all of the books related to contra and square dancing available within the St. Louis area, compiled by David Kirchner in the 90s. He most recently revised it on July 2, 1998. Martha Edwards discovered it somewhat abandoned on the FolkFire website and copied it back to the Childgrove web site, where it had started under David over twenty years earlier, and began to update it again on February 6, 2017. She has promised to add numerous books which she has acquired over the years from generous dancers to the list.

Deborah Hyland also has a goodly number of books on dancing which she is willing to lend out - here are some of the books:

The Beneficial Tradition lending library (Deborah Hyland)

  • Ed Butenhoff, Dance Parties for Beginners (Rochester NY: Lloyd Shaw Foundation, 1990)
  • Mary Dart McNab, Contra Dance Choreography: a reflection of social change (New York: Garland, 1995)
  • Penn Fixx, Contra Dances of the Great Northwest (Spokane WA: Self-published, 1991)
  • Gene Hubert, Dizzy Dances II (self-published?)
  • Gene Hubert, Dizzy Dances III (self-published?)
  • Larry Jennings, Zesty Contras (Cambridge MA: New England Folk Festival Association, 1983)
  • Ted Sannella, Balance and Swing: a collection of fifty-five squares, contras, and triplets in the New England tradition with music for each dance (New York: Country Dance and Song Society, 1982)

David's original list was compiled mostly from computer searches and should not necessarily be considered complete (and he offers no guarantees that any of these books are where they are supposed to be). Web links for libraries are at the end of the list.

An amazing online resource is An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals ca.1490-1920 from the Library of Congress. It contains full text and illustrations for some two hundred books and pamphlets about social dancing published during that time period.

Another good source of information is the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), which, in addition to the large number of books it has for sale, also has the CDSS online library.

  • Samuel Baron, Professor Baron's complete instructor in all the society dances of America, including all the figures of the german; and every new and fashionable waltz, round, or square dance known in Europe or America (New York: M. Young, 1881)
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Ed Butenhoff, Dance Parties for Beginners (Rochester NY: Lloyd Shaw Foundation, 1990)
    • Beneficial Tradition lending library (ask Deborah Hyland)
  • P. Valleau Cartier, Cartier's practical illustrated waltz instructor, ball room guide, and call book. Giving ample directions for dancing every kind of square and round dances, together with cotillions - including the newest and most popular figures of "the german" (New York: DeWitt, 1882)
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Betty Casey, The Complete Book of Square Dancing (and Round Dancing) (New York: Doubleday, 1976)
    • Kirkwood Public Library
    • Richmond Heights Public Library
    • University City Public Library
    • Webster Groves Public Library
  • Ann Hastings Chase, arr., The Singing Caller: a book on the square dance with calls and music (New York: Association Press, 1944)
    • St. Louis County Library
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Mary Dart McNab, Contra Dance Choreography: a reflection of social change (New York: Garland, 1995)
    • Beneficial Tradition lending library (ask Deborah Hyland)
    • Childgrove lending library (ask Martha Edwards)
    • CDSS onine Library
    • Washington University, Olin Library
  • Ed Durlacher, comp., Honor Your Partner: 81 American square, circle, and contra dances; with complete instructions for doing them (New York: Devin-Adair Co., 1949)
    • Fontbonne College
    • Kirkwood Public Library
    • Wasington University, Olin Library
    • Webster Groves Public Library
  • Raoul-Auger Feuillet, (John Essex, trans.) For the Further Improvement of Dancing (Recueil de contredances mises en choreographie) (Facsimile reprint of 1710 edition)
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
  • Penn Fix, Contra Dances of the Great Northwest (Spokane WA: Self-published, 1991)
    • Beneficial Tradition lending library (ask Deborah Hyland)
  • Charles D. Foster, Learn to Dance and Call Square Dances the Foster Way (Denver: Smith-Brooks Printing Co., 1942)
    • Washington University, Olin Library
  • Gene Gowing, The Square Dancers' Guide (New York: Crown Publishers, 1957)
    • Kirkwood Public Library
    • Webster Groves Public Library
  • Hank Greene, Square and Folk Dancing (New York: Harper & Row, 1984)
    • Kirkwood Public Library
    • Richmond Heights Public Library
    • Webster Groves Public Library
    • University City Public Library
  • Margot Gunzenhauser, The Square Dance and Contra Dance Handbook: calls, dance movements, music, glossary, bibliography, discography, and directories (Jefferson NC: McFarland & Co., 1996)
    • Richmond Heights Public Library
    • University of Missouri - St. Louis
  • J. Tillman Hall, Dance! a complete guide to social, folk & square dancing (New York: Books for Libraries, 1980)
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
    • University of Missouri - St. Louis
  • Jane A. Harris, Dance a While: handbook of folk, square, contra, and social dance (7th ed.) (New York: MacMillan, 1994)
    • Fontbonne College
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
    • St. Louis County Library
    • St. Louis Public Library
    • University of Missouri - St. Louis
  • Kathleen Hill, Dance for Physically Disabled Persons: a manual for teaching ballroom, square, and folk dances to users of wheelchairs and crutches (Washington: American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 1976)
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
    • Washington University, Olin Library
  • Alan Hines, Square Dance (New York: Perennial Library, 1984)
    • St. Louis County Library
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Ricky Holden, The Contra Dance Book; over 100 contra and progressive circle dances with variations and historical notes together with suggestions for calling and teaching them (Newark NJ: American Squares, 1956)
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Elias Howe, ed.,The musician's companion: containing 36 sets of cotillions arranged with figures, and a large number of marches, quick-steps, waltzes, hornpipes, contra dances, songs, &c ... for the flute, violin, clarionett, bass-viol, &c. (Boston: Howe & Tolman, 1843)
    • Washington University, Music Library Special Collections
  • Elias Howe, ed., An improved edition of the Musician's omnibus: containing the whole camp duty, calls and signals used in the Army and Navy, forty setts of quadrilles, (including waltz, polka and schottische,) with calls, and an immense collection of polkas, schottisches, waltzes, marches, quicksteps, hornpipes, contra & fancy dances, songs, &c., for the violin, flute, cornet, clarionett &c., containing over 700 pieces of music (Boston: E. Howe, 1864)
    • Washington University, Music Library Special Collections
  • Gene Hubert, Dizzy Dances II (self-published?)
    • Beneficial Tradition lending library (ask Deborah Hyland)
  • Gene Hubert, Dizzy Dances III (self-published?)
    • Beneficial Tradition lending library (ask Deborah Hyland)
  • Paul B. A. Hunt, Eight Yards of Calico: square dance fun for everyone (New York: Harper, 1952)
    • Washington University, Olin Library
  • Larry Jennings, Zesty Contras (Cambridge MA: New England Folk Festival Association, 1983)
    • Childgrove lending library (ask Martha Edwards)
  • Clayne R. Jensen, Beginning Square Dance (Belmont CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1966)
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
  • Miriam H. Kirkell and Ira Schaffnit, Partners All - Places All! 44 enjoyable square and folk dances for everyone (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1949)
    • St. Louis Public Library
    • University City Public Library
  • Richard G. Krauss, Square Dances of Today, and how to teach and call them (New York: Ronald Press Co., 1950)
    • Fontbonne College
    • St. Louis Public Library
    • Washington University, Olin Library
    • University City Public Library
  • Fred Leifer, The Official Li'l Abner Square Dance Handbook: easy-to-learn steps, calls, games, profit-making ideas, music and illustrations (New York?: Toby Press, 1953)
    • Fontbonne College
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Zeke Manners, American Square Dances, with calls and music (New York: Robbins Music Corp., 1948)
    • Washington University, West Campus Facility
  • Margot Mayo, The American Square Dance (revised and enlarged ed.) (New York: Oak Publications, 1964)
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
    • St. Louis County Library
    • St. Louis Public Library
    • Washington University, Olin Library
  • Ralph J. McNair, Western Square Dances (Denver: Oran V. Siler Co., 1941)
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Richard Nevell, A Time to Dance: American country dancing from hornpipes to hot hash (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1977)
    • Kirkwood Public Library
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
    • St. Louis County Library
    • St. Louis Public Library
    • St. Louis University
    • University City Public Library
    • Webster University
  • Bob Osgood, ed., Five Years of Sets in Order: The calls and breaks compiled from 60 issues of Sets in Order since November 1948 (Los Angeles: Square Dance Publishers, 1954) [Photocopy]
    • Beneficial Tradition lending library (ask Deborah Hyland)
  • Lee Owens, Advanced Square Dance Figures of the West and Southwest (Palo Alto CA: Pacific Books, 1950)
    • Fontbonne College
    • St. Louis County Library
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Ralph Page (See under Beth Tolman)
  • Piute Pete, The Square Dance Party Book (New York: Village Recreation Service, 1950)
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Piute Pete, Piute Pete's Down-Home Square Dance Book (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1977)
    • Kirkwood Public Library
  • Patricia A. Phillips, Contemporary Square Dance (Dubuque IA: W.C. Brown Co., 1968)
    • Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
    • Washington University, Olin Library
  • Lynn Rohrbough, American Folk Dances (Delaware OH: Cooperative Recreation Service, 1939)
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Grace L. Ryan, Dances of Our Pioneers (New York: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1939)
    • Richmond Heights Public Library
  • Ted Sannella, Balance and Swing: a collection of fifty-five squares, contras, and triplets in the New England tradition with music for each dance (New York: Country Dance and Song Society, 1982)
    • Childgrove lending library (ask Martha Edwards)
  • Ira Schaffnit (See under Miriam Kirkell)
  • John M. Schell Prompting: How to do it (New York: Carl Fischer, 1948) (orig. published 1890)
    • St. Louis Public Library
    • Washington University, Olin Library
  • Lloyd Shaw, Cowboy Dances: a collection of western square dances (Caldwell ID: Caxton Printers, 1949)
    • Kirkwood Public Library
    • St. Louis County Library
    • University City Public Library
  • Louis Shomer, How to Dance: the latest and most complete instructions in ballroom dance steps; the ABC of modern dancing, dancing the latest steps from the square dances to the swing waltz (New York: Louellen Publishing Co., 1937)
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Charley Thomas 12 Home Made Square Dances (Woodbury NJ: American Squares, 1948)
    • Washington University, Olin Library
  • Beth Tolman and Ralph Page, The Country Dance Book: the old fashioned square dance, its history, lore, variations & its callers, complete and joyful instructions (Guilford VT: The Countryman Press, 1937)
    • St. Louis Public Library
    • St. Louis County Library
    • Washington University, Olin Library
    • Webster Groves Public Library
  • Beth Tolman, How to put on and make successful the country dance party (Weston VT: The Countryman Press, 1938)
    • St. Louis Public Library
  • Ruth Marian Wilson, Folk and Square Dance Syllabus (Seattle: Univ. of Washington, 1954)
    • St. Louis County Library

     

Libraries

Beneficial Tradition lending library (ask Deborah Hyland)
Childgrove Country Dancers lending library (ask Martha Edwards)
Fontbonne College Library
Kirkwood Public Library
Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville) Library
St. Louis County Library
St. Louis Public Library
St. Louis University Libraries
University City Public Library
University of Missouri (St. Louis) Libraries
Washington University Libraries
Webster Groves Public Library
Webster University Libraries

 

When We Usually Dance

*Here’s the formula for when we dance on Sundays: There is always a contra dance on the 3rd Saturday. The next night (Sunday) is a Waltz Party, which is usually the 3rd Sunday, but If the first day of the month is a Sunday, then it's the 4th Sunday.  In the end, the best way to know when we dance is to check the schedule.

 Which week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday  Which week
    English
Plain/Fancy
  Calling Party     Callers Choice 1st
1st Contra     Calling Party       2nd
2nd Contra     Calling Party   English
Country Dance
Contra 3rd
3rd Waltz     Calling Party       4th
4th Contra     Calling Party       5th
5th Contra      Calling Party        

Sunday Dances

1st, 2nd, usually the 4th, & 5th SundaysContra Dance. Free workshop at 6:30pm, live music from 7-10pm. $7.

Usually 3rd Sunday. Waltz Party - waltzes and other social dances. Free workshop 6-7pm, live music from 7-9pm. $10.

MONDAY DANCE

1st Monday. Plain and Fancy" English Country Dance.  Fun, easier, introductory or teaching dances from 7-8:30pm for your non-dancing friends. More complex dances from 8:30-9:30pm for those of you who've been longing for a bit of a challenge.  Recorded music.

Wednesday Calling Parties

Every Wednesday
Come to Bob and Martha's house for an informal get-together. Learn to call, talk about dancing, enjoy snacks or just dance! New dancers very welcome.

These are almost never cancelled, but it happens once every year or so. Check the schedule.

Friday Dance

3rd Fridays. English Country Dance. Live music from 7pm -9:30pm, with easier, teaching dances in the first half hour. Please come early if you're new. If you're late, you're still welcome, but you'll have more fun if you feel confident, and we want you to have more fun.  Regular dances $10, balls $15. Be sure to ask about discounts if you need one!

Saturday Dances

1st Saturday. Callers Choice Dance - contra and related dances. Free workshop at 6:30pm, live music from 7-10pm. $7.

3rd Saturday. Contra dance. Free workshop at 6:30pm, live music from 7-10pm. $7.

 


Here's a schedule, and a map to the Monday Club.

The Jam Band -  on hiatus for now, but stay tuned!

English Raspberry JamWhat This Is

The JAM BAND is for people who are comfortable reading music, and would like to get together to play and practice playing for dances  If the name calls up thoughts of plums and raspberries, so much the better. Originally we only played for English Country Dances, but we've gotten kind of popular, and play for other things as well, mostly Community-style dances. 

When and Where

We've taken a well-deserved break, but will resume again at some point. We gather at the home of Martha Edwards and Bob Green at 433 Marford Drive in Creve Coeur, MO. (There are directions here.) Officially, we meet from 7-9pm, but sometimes, we go a bit over.

Who It's For

This is primarily aimed at people who already dance English or its American cousin, Contra Dance, but anyone who can play an an instrument, is able to read music in major and minor keys up to two flats or sharps, and wants to play for dancing is welcome.  

(For people who prefer playing by ear, or who want to learn to play by ear, there are wonderful opportunities at the St Louis Folk School.)

What We Do

The main focus will be on reading “lead sheets”, that is, the tune plus someone’s idea of which chords should be used to back it up. So, for rhythm section players (keyboard, bass, guitar) you will eventually need to learn how to read chord charts if you don’t know how already.

We will supply copies of the music - and you can download much of the music we've played in the past. 

We also discuss what makes music “danceable,” and welcome everyone’s thoughts on the subject. Whoever has a compelling argument for this or that way of doing things will be “the expert of the moment.” You may very well be that expert.

We will also (gasp!) learn how to do some simple improvising – that is, playing something that goes well with the tune, but is not the tune. We will experiment!

Should I Bring Anything?

Bring your instrument, of course.  Bring a music stand if you have one, otherwise, we have several you can use.  There is a piano and an electric keyboard for keyboardists to share, or you can certainly bring your own.

We'll have snacks on hand, and you should feel free to bring some to share if that's easy for you.

Why Should I Do This?

Playing for dancing, in case you’ve never done it, is an incredible musical treat. Good music already has motion, but to see your music transformed into patterns of dancing just feels great.

This Sounds Like Fun!

What Kind of Dance is This? What Do I Need to Know?

Contra Dance and English Country Dance are communal style folk dances that are fun and easy to learn. No partner or experience is necessary. A caller leads the dancers though a series of moves, and the pattern repeats. If you can walk, you can dance. Once a month, we also have a Waltz Party featuring waltz, polka, schottische and tango. 

See this page if you want to learn more about all of our different kinds of dances.

Do I need to bring a partner?

No. Most people come without partners. Since it's a communal dance, most people change partners after each dance.

What if I've never done this before and have no idea what I'm doing?

You're in for a treat. You'll find a style of dance where it's more important to have fun than do it “right”, where people are friendly and welcoming, and where others will be glad to help you learn the basic steps.

A 30-minute workshop is held before the dance for newcomers who would like a quick introduction to the dance figures. The simplest dances are at the beginning of the evening so that people learn the figures easily. Coming early in the evening is the easiest way to learn.

What if I have 2 left feet?

No problem. Our dances use a walking step so it doesn't matter which left foot you start on.

Do I have to wear a funny outfit?

Nope, just dress comfortably. Many people wear khakis and tennis shoes. Most women wear flowing or twirly skirts because they're fun to dance in. Since the dances are energetic, you're likely to get warm.  Dress accordingly. You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes.

Once in a while we have a special evening - an English Ball, for example, or on New Year's Eve, where we dress up.  We make note of that on the web site and in announcements, but even then, if you're more comfortable wearing casual clothing, you're still most welcome!

Are food and drink available during the dance?

We dance in an alcohol and smoke-free environment.  We provide plenty of water and we encourage you to bring your own water bottle -- you'll want to stay hydrated.  Sometimes people bring snacks to share with the community.  We save alcohol consumption for after the dance, when dancers gather at local restaurants for post-dance conviviality.

Can I come and just listen to the music?

Sure. If you prefer, you can watch the dances and enjoy the great live music. You may have to reject a dozen invitations to dance, though.

What if I have other questions?

Send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

stl 250 cake

Tunes for St Louis 250 Celebration

Pre Music

Along the Plaza
St. Louis Rag
Under the Anheuser Bush
Meet Me In St. Louis

Dance Discovery Dances

Christchurch Bells
Soldier's Joy
Hangedman's Reel, Marmaduke's Hornpipe
Jockey to the Fair
Zampa Quadrille 1-5
Chorus Jig
Haymakers 
Come Let's be Merry
Gathering Peascods
Jefferson and Liberty
Terpsicourante
Astonished Archeologist 
Waves of Grain (tune Wheat)

Audience Participation Tunes

Grand March - 1904 World's Fair March and Two-Step
The Ostende
Rustic Reel and Off She Goes