A CDSS Pubication
The 40 dances in New River Train were carefully selected
from a collection of over 300 square dance figures that New York State caller
Keith Blackmon assembled and self-published in 2008. The dances were taken from
a list of Keith's favorites, with the aim to create a resource that succeeds at
historical preservation as well as providing a fresh look at traditional
The dances, with music, and many tips and
variations provided by editor Nils Fredland, are divided into easy and
intermediate levels. The easy dances have very accessible figures and lend
themselves to an intergenerational crowd. Both easy and intermediate dances are
interesting for contra dancers, and perfect for traditional square dance
evenings provided your musicians are able to back up singing squares (if not,
you can separate the figure from the song and call the dance in patter style
with any tune). The timing of the choreography is flexible enough to ensure
success for slower moving dancers, as well as offering space to add swings and
extra flourishes for those who are interested in a more energetic experience.
Above all, the songs in this collection are irresistibly fun to sing!
The book includes an fascinating essay by Jim
Kimball, ethnomusicologist at SUNY Geneseo, titled Old-Time Dancing in Western
New York: Keith Blackmon's Collection in Context, a glossary of terms, and
basic information for making singing squares part of your calling repertoire.
Go forth and call singing squares – it’s fun!