Born in Baltimore in 1943, Bob Dalsemer became interested in folk music as a teenager and taught himself to play a variety of instruments including guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and accordion. In 1969 he attended the Christmas Country Dance School at Berea College and quickly became attracted to English and American country dancing. In early 1973 he simultaneously founded a neighborhood country dance group (now part of the Baltimore Folk Music Society) and began investigating old-time square dances in rural Maryland and Pennsylvania. In 1977 he accepted a ten month position as artist-in-residence in Randolph County, West Virginia, where he performed traditional music and led square dances for schools and community groups. In addition he visited many West Virginia traditional musicians, singers, callers and dancers and began writing this book.
After returning to Baltimore in 1978, Bob called
frequently for groups in the Baltimore-Washington area as well
as traveling to dance festivals and camps throughout the country.
During the 1980's he worked part-time as a square dance caller
for the Baltimore County Department of Aging and began a series
of international calling trips that eventually took him to England,
Denmark, Russia, Belgium and the Czech Republic. From 1990-1996
he served as president of the Country Dance and Song Society.
In 1991 Bob moved to Brasstown, North Carolina to become Coordinator of Music and Dance Programs at the John C. Campbell Folk School.