CDSS Library

Online Collections

We are pleased to provide these publications, most now out of print, here on the web. We ask only that you respect the authors' intention and generosity in making these materials available free of charge (although donations to our programs are always welcome!). We are actively expanding our online offerings and welcome your suggestions for additional material you would find useful.

  • Cracking Chestnuts videos: A page with links to YouTube videos of all of the classic American contra dances that are featured in the CDSS publication Cracking Chestnuts: The Living Tradition of Classic American Contra Dances.
  • Ken Sheffield’s collected dances (pdf) The entire collection of Sheffield’s “From Two Barns” volume 1-10.
  • Charles Bolton's collected dances (html, pdf) The entire collection of both Bolton's "Retreads" series and his original dances.
  • Mary Dart: Contra Dance Choreography: A Reflection of Social Change (HTML) 
    Originally published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York & London, 1995
    Mary Dart's classic study explores "the way the choreography of the contra dance, a folk dance tradition brought to us from the British Isles, has been changing, particularly over the last twenty years." The book, based on interviews with callers, dance composers and musicians, looks at new dances, how they are composed, and what aesthetic and cultural principles underlie the choreographic choices made. A "doc" version is also available for download.
  • Robert G. Dalsemer, West Virginia Square Dances (html format)
    Originally published by Country Dance and Song Society, 1982
    Dalsemer describes dance figures as done in five rural West Virginia communities in the mid- to late-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. The history of each dance event is discussed, as is their on-going process of evolution. With appendices: a list of tunes commonly played for square dances; transcriptions of calls; and tunes for caller Worley Gardner's singing and semi-singing calls.

    Single copies may be printed from this website. Please contact CDSS if you wish to print multiple copies.

    A CD-ROM with embedded audio files is also available, through the CDSS Store.
  • Robert M. Keller, The Dancing Master, 1651-1728: An Illustrated Compendium (online database, CD-ROM)
    The Compendium can be found at LINK. It is a searchable database of all known country dances published in the various editions of The Dancing Master, published by John Playford, Henry Playford and John Young, from 1651-1728 in London, with facsimiles of each "unique" dance with its' music.

    This reference work is published by CDSS with the English Folk Dance and Song Society and the New Hampshire Library for Traditional Dance and Music at the University of New Hampshire.

    A CD-ROM of the database is available through the CDSS Store.
  • Patrick Napier,  Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing (online - pdf (17M))
  • Ted Sannella Annotated Discography and Bibliography from Ted Sannella's SWING THE NEXT (Html)
    The annotations and introduction for the Discography and Bibliography in Swing the Next (CDSS, 1996) are included here in their entirety. Swing the Next is a collection of 80 American square, contra, triplet and circle dances, the majority of them written by Ted Sannella, a master of the art of calling American traditional dances.
  • CDSS, GEMS: The Best of the Country Dance and Song Society's Diamond Anniversary Music, Dance and Song Contest