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to a very interesting
and comprehensive
web site on the

Modern American
Square Dancing
Modern Western
Square Dancing


Three phenomenons shaped
Modern American Square Dancing
in the 20th Century


Henry Ford

Dr. Lloyd 'Pappy' Shaw

Lloyd Shaw Era



Lloyd Shaw


Lloyd Shaw
spent 35 years (1916 - 1951) as a school superintendent, principal and teacher in Colorado.

He was an educator and a passionate researcher and teacher of North American Folk Dancing in the early 1900's.

No square dance caller or square dancer, who has even a basic knowledge of square dancing history, will deny that Lloyd Shaw is the father of modern American Square Dancing.

From his base in Colorado, he traveled throughout the country teaching, developing and promoting
square dancing.


As the country grew and expanded, the Quadrilles of New England merged with the Appalachian Mountain dances, forming the basis for today's Modern Square Dancing.

In the first part of the 20th century, American dancing suffered a great decline. Quadrilles and contras died. People two-stepped the waltz and forgot the polka and the schottische.

A rowdy form of dancing called the "barn dance" set a precedent square dancers long have fought to overcome.

It took a great industrialist and a superintendent from a small school in Colorado to lift the great American folk activity out of the doldrums.

Square Dancing is a folk dance which is truly American in origin, with historic and artistic value.  It holds a unique place in our national culture.

The majority of Americans are unaware of the richness of the art forms which have originated here and are unique to our nation.

American Square Dancing is a case in point.  Square Dancing is a product of the cultural melting pot which makes our country great.  At it's beginning,
contributions were made by English, French, Scottish and Irish settlers.  Later, the Spanish, Western pioneers, cowboys, miners and ranchers made their own contributions.

More recent times have seen significant contributions by Henry Ford, Lloyd Shaw and many innovative square dance callers.


Wikipedia Articles:

Square Dance

Modern Western
 Square Dance

Lloyd Shaw





Country Dance
Song Society
Square Dance








Henry Ford


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"As a young man I liked to dance, but the only dances we knew were what are now called the "old-fashioned dances" - the schottische, the polka, the chorus jig, quadrilles, gavottes, and the like.

The younger people nowadays, so we found, did not know these dances, and the older people - those who really needed dancing - have grown rusty. They thought they were too old. One never gets too old to dance."
A quote by Henry Ford
            in his book 'Today and Tomorrow'






Plans for a meeting of the members of the Hall of Fame were begun in 1970 with a founding committee made up of Bob Osgood, Lee Helsel, Arnie Kronenberger, and Bob VanAntwerp.

Summaries from the past ventures were studied and, following a lengthy preparation period, eight major discussion topics regarding the nature and needs of the activity were prepared as a partial charter framework for the potential new organization.



During the mid 1920's, Henry Ford led a nationwide revival of interest in country fiddling and old-fashioned dancing, which swept the country.

Henry Ford organized an "Old Time Orchestra" to provide music as Benjamin Lovett, a dancing master brought from Massachusetts, taught Ford's friends and business associates, as well as the local schoolchildren, the Virginia reel, schottische, varsovienne and waltz.