The portal contains a vast range of resources by and for the dance, music, and song community. From expert tips from fellow organizers and callers, to databases of dances and songs, find what you need to help engage with the traditions you love!

Resources added before 2022 do not all have explicit permission from the authors. If your resource is in the portal and you’d like it removed, please email us.

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Use the search box and filters below to find resources.
Tip: Selecting multiple checkboxes will give you more specific results. For example, to see specific resources for contra dance callers, select both Callers and Contra Dance.

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80 Results

Contra Dance Map

A Google map with many local dances in the US and Canada. Also searchable by zip code, for special events, and for dances using non-gendered calling. Created by Jeff Kaufman.

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Dancers, Musicians

Squares from Northern Junket

Colin Hume presents descriptions and commentary on all of the 200+ square dances in Northern Junket, a magazine published by Ralph Page from 1949 to 1985.

Categories: Callers, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography, History, Repertoire

CDSS Community Culture & Safety Toolkit

The CDSS Community Culture and Safety Task Group (CCSTG) aims to support local communities in their efforts to provide a safe environment for music, song, and dance events. We are working to provide advice and resources that will help organizers develop the policies, procedures, and supporting documents needed to understand and facilitate safety in their communities.

CDSS is not prescriptive in regard to what your community ‘should be doing.’ We recognize and value the range of living traditions practiced by our communities.

As such, we are working to develop a toolkit of resources.

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Categories: Callers, Educators, Musicians, Organizers

Shared Weight: Positional Calling Discussion List

This list is for anyone interested in exploring positional calling within traditional dance (contra, squares, ECD, community, family dance, Irish ceili, Scottish ceilidh, etc). 

Our goal is to support each other by discussing topics of interest to callers specifically in relation to positional calling. We encourage callers to also join some of the other Shared Weight lists as those communities are valuable resources for other aspects of calling.

Categories: Callers, Dance Tradition, Dancers, Organizers

Topics: Discussion, Equity, Non-Gendered

Gigs from Heaven

This article by Carol Ormond gives excellent tips on how organizers can create a great gig experience for a caller. Much of the advice applies to other hired staff as well.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Musicians, Organizers

Contra Dance Callers Survey

An extensive survey of approximately 400 contra dance callers throughout North America and beyond. Interesting and useful information for organizers and callers alike

From CDSS, 2013

Categories: Callers, Organizers

Working with Crowded Dance Halls

In this piece, Brad Foster explores some solutions on how to handle dances where the crowd is too large for the space.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers

Adapting for Young Children

Marian Rose provides some fantastic calling tips as well as suggestions for dances to do when accommodating young children as part of your dancing community

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Community/Family Dance, Educators

Positional Calling

Jeremy Child explores positional calling as a way to expand the boundaries of choreography.

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Topics: Choreography, Equity, Non-Gendered

Introduction to Pronouns

Miriam Newman explains the movement towards asking people about their pronouns.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Dancers, Educators, Musicians, Organizers, Singers

Topics: Equity

5 Things…Inside the Dancing Mind of…

A one-hour chat with Q&A from movers and shakers in the English Country Dance community from across the country about the 5 things that they feel are important to our passion for ECD and why. 

From the Historical Tea and Dance Society.

Categories: Callers, English Country Dance, Musicians, Organizers

Introducing a Beginner to Contra Dancing

An article published in the CDS Boston Center newsletter discussing the fine art of teaching a beginners session at a contra dance. 

From Chris Weiler

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Dance Technique Notes

This website contains an extensive list of topics for dancers of various levels. This includes everything from awareness and consideration as a dancer to how to enjoy dancing more. Useful both for teachers of dance and dancers.

From Colin Hume

Categories: Callers, Dancers

The Caller Directory

The Caller Directory is a spreadsheet listing self-submitted callers, their contact information, and what they call. It also provides space for references, video links, and a comment from the caller.

From Luke Donforth

Categories: Callers, Dancers, Organizers

Gender Free Contra Facebook Group

This Facebook group is for enthusiasts of Larks and Ravens terminology. However, other ways of welcoming LGBTQIA dancers into contra and other folk dances are also on topic. The group offers resources, discussion, and strategy.

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Dancers, Organizers

Topics: Discussion, Equity

Rising Contra Dance Callers’ Collective Facebook Group

This Facebook group is an online community of callers who support each other in a wide range of caller topics.

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Topics: Discussion

Community Dance Facebook Group

This Facebook group was established to share choreography and video links of ‘family friendly’ community dances for dance leaders and callers, and also to provide information about opportunities for caller education.

Categories: Callers, Community/Family Dance

Topics: Discussion

Shared Weight: English Country Dance Discussion List

The Shared Weight ECD listserv (email group) is for discussion of all aspects of modern and historical English Country Dance and related forms as they have relevance to the discussion. (Related forms include contra, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, contradanza, Victorian longways dances, quadrilles, cotillions, etc.). The list is intended for callers, dancers, organizers, and musicians, who are all part of one community. Join the discussion!

Categories: Callers, English Country Dance, Musicians, Organizers

Topics: Discussion

Shared Weight: Contra Callers Discussion List

This mailing list (email group) welcomes contra dance callers and people who are interested in learning about calling for contra dances. List members ask/answer questions, discuss issues that come up for them, and share helpful resources. There are both new and experienced callers from throughout North America and beyond. Join the discussion!

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Topics: Discussion

Shared Weight: Trad Callers Discussion List

Trad Callers is a discussion list (email group) with wide-ranging interests. The group welcomes callers interested in community dances, dancing for children, one-night stands, traditional squares, and other forms outside the contra dance and ECD realm. List members ask/answer questions, discuss issues that come up for them, and share helpful resources. The list is a great way to talk with trad callers from throughout North America and beyond. Join the discussion!

Categories: Callers, Dancers

Topics: Discussion

A Barn Dance Repertoire

This website includes a large collection of English barn dances as well as tips for playing, resources for beginners, descriptions of terms, and more.

From Thomas Green

Categories: Callers, Community/Family Dance, Musicians

Topics: Choreography

Elements of Country Dance

A comprehensive description of each of the 50+ basic dance figures in ECD.

from Hugh Stewart

Categories: Callers, Dancers, English Country Dance, Novices

The Sheffield Collection

This online collection of approximately 100 English country dances comes from some earlier collections (e.g., Thompson; Wilson; Wright) as well as dances composed by Ken Sheffield. Both the music notation as well as instructions for the dance are provided.

From CDSS

Categories: Callers, English Country Dance, Musicians

Topics: Choreography, Repertoire

Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend Syllabi 1998-2017

This is a very extensive collection of traditional dances from New England as called at each annual dance weekend. A significant portion of the program celebrates the tradition’s roots and includes choreography for traditional contras and quadrilles, triple minor dances, singing squares, and couple dances as part of the program.

From RPDLW and UNH

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, English Country Dance, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography

English Country Dance Video Playlists

The Childgrove channel on YouTube is a repository of over 100 videos of English country dancing and is a source of instruction on how to dance many of the finest dances choreographed by Fried de Metz Herman.

From Paul B Ross

Categories: Callers, Dancers, English Country Dance

Kentucky Mount Square Dancing

This book by Patrick Napier (available online as a PDF) provides a wonderful introduction to Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing. The book includes a bit of history and general calling tips prior to describing many Big Set and Running Set figures. It also includes fillers and closing calls.

From CDSS

Categories: Callers, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography, History

Kentucky Running Set

A useful and informative introduction, plus a variety of figures for big set, square, and two couple formations.

From Hugh Stewart

Categories: Callers, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography

The Bolton Collection

This online collection of Charles Bolton’s work contains both interpretations of 17th and 18th-century English country dances (with music) as well as nine booklets of Charles’ original dances and tunes.

From CDSS

Categories: Callers, English Country Dance

Topics: Choreography

Dances by Rick Mohr

Contra, square, grid square, and mixer dances composed by Rick Mohr.

Categories: Callers, Community/Family Dance, Contra Dance, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography

Sitting Square Dances

A collection of square dances for seated dancers. Descriptions of the figures are here.

From Fred Wersan

Categories: Callers, Square Dance

Topics: Accessibility, Choreography, Equity

Dances by Bob Dalsemer

Contra and square dances composed by North Carolina caller Bob Dalsemer.

Categories: Callers, Community/Family Dance, Contra Dance, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography

The Challenge Square Dancing Handbook

This handbook by Clark Baker includes terminology and concepts used in higher levels of modern Western square dance.

Categories: Callers, Experienced Participants, Square Dance

10 Simple English Dances For Beginning Callers and/or Beginning Dancers

From CDSS

Categories: Callers, English Country Dance, Novices

Topics: Choreography

West Virginia Square Dances

This online version of Bob Dalsemer’s book describes dance figures as done in five rural West Virginia communities in the 1970s and reports on their regular dance events, including programming, type of audience, price and method of admission, and the traditions of figure calling and musical performance.

Categories: Callers, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography, History

ContraDB

ContraDB is a large online collection of contra dances.

From David Morse

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Topics: Choreography

English Dance & Song’s Contra and Longways Dances

An archive of the contra and longways dances published in English Dance and Song (EFFDS’s magazine)

From John Sweeney

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Topics: Choreography

The Old-Time Kentucky Running Set

This article by Stu Jamieson covers variations on the Southern Appalachian big circle/set formation, including descriptions of the dances, calls, and more.

Categories: Callers, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography

The Caller’s Box

This is an extensive collection of contra dances (approx 12,000) writen by dozens of callers. It includes the full written dances in addition to information such as the author, formation, and progression. There are even links to videos of many of the dances! The collection covers many (but not all) dances found on other sites.

From Chris Page and Michael Dyck

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Topics: Choreography

Michael Dyck’s Contra Dance Index

An extensive index of contra dances with the goal of capturing all contras written since 1953. While it doesn’t include the full written dances, it includes information such as the author, formation, and where to find the dance.

From Michael Dyck

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance

Topics: Choreography

Dance Organizer

This is a free software for organizing your collection of dances. It comes with Colin’s collection of over 2000 dances, including English country dance (Playford and traditional style), American squares and contras, Scottish dances, and more.

From Colin Hume

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, English Country Dance, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography

Techno Contra and Phrasing

In this blog post, Jeff explores the challenges of phrasing when calling for techno contras.

From Jeff Kaufman

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Musicians

Topics: Techno

Leading a Contra Dance Role-swapping Workshop

This article by Erik Erhardt and Tina Fields describes one approach to running a workshop where dancers develop familiarity and skill in dancing both dance roles.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Organizers

English Country Dancing During the Pandemic

This site includes an archive of one-person dances for online dancing.

From the Carolina English Country Dancers

Categories: Callers, English Country Dance

Topics: Choreography, Pandemic

Contra Dance Choreography: A Reflection of Social Change

This book (available free online) is based upon Mary McNab Dart’s research into the changing choreography of contra dance, including how dances are composed, what aesthetic principles underlie their composition, and how the evolution of the choreography reflects changes in the preferences and priorities of the people who dance them.

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Organizers

Topics: Composing, History

A Figure By Any Other Name: Exploring Alternatives to Gypsy

This article by Katy German, Sue Stanton, and Jeff Kaufman explores the use of the term “gypsy” in calling and presents a range of alternative options.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Dancers, Organizers

Topics: Equity

Response to: “A Figure by Any Other Name: Exploring Alternatives to Gypsy”

Dragan Gill’s exploration of the term gypsy, both in terms of how it is used in dance as well as in the broader cultural context.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Dancers, Organizers

Topics: Equity

Northern Junket Archive

Northern Junket was a square dance magazine published from 1949 until 1985 by Ralph Page, a renowned figure in New England folk dancing. Each issue contains directions and tunes for squares, contras and folk dances, as well as folk songs, recipes, riddles, tongue-twisters, old wives’ tales, and other folklife traditions.

Categories: Callers, Community/Family Dance, Contra Dance, Dancers, Musicians, Singers, Square Dance

Topics: Choreography, Repertoire

The Hatchlings—Developing Callers in St. Louis

Martha Edwards describes a model for developing callers that she feels will work in many different community contexts.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, English Country Dance, Novices, Organizers

Topics: Starting Up

Feedback Tool: Try This at Home Too!

Linda Henry presents an approach to collecting and using feedback that callers might find helpful in improving their own calling.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Dancers, Novices

Nontraditional Funding and Focused Mentorship: How We’re Growing a New (Awesome) Contra Dance Community

Dela Murphy describes Portland, Maine’s approach to training and mentoring new callers, including how they source funding for that work.

From the CDSS News

Categories: Callers, Contra Dance, Organizers