Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

Square Dance in the Rural West: An Oral History July 26, 2016

Don & Fay promenade

Check out my new article in the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) online journal. It’s based on interviews with my elders, who can really tell a story, and contains small photos of those faboo 1950s dance outfits.

Best of all is getting to witness how community dance like square dance or contra dance forges community.


“Square dancing hit its heyday in the far west during the 1950s, and many elder members of my family were heavily involved in it. Hank Fields, my dad, was a popular square dance caller long before I was born. I follow lightly in his footsteps as a contra dance caller today; thus my interest in what the dance scene had been like for him. What are the similarities and differences with dance today? And what got so many people so passionately interested in square dancing back then?

“At a Fields/Glascock “inlaws & outlaws” family reunion held on my cousin’s ranch in rural Idaho during the summer of 2003, I spoke with a number of older folks who had been active in the square dance scene back in the 1950s, asking about their experiences.”


 To read the whole thing, go to:

CD+S Online, vol.1

Or get directly to my article itself


 I hope you like it! Please leave comments here.


Square Dances of the 1950s Rural West February 26, 2010

Filed under: Announcements,Arts,Dance — BrujaHa @ 5:17 pm
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The book of my father’s square dance calls that I’ve been working on for the last six years or so is coming together. I suppose I really should wait till it’s actually out to talk about it, but I just finished the cover mockup and am excited now!

Hank Fields taught hundreds of people to square dance in rural Modoc County, CA in the 1950s, the heyday of western square dance. The book’s main purpose is to share the calls he did (including breaks, patter, and singing squares. It also includes stories gleaned from numerous interviews with Hank and other dancers from the time about their experiences.

One of my favorites, told by an older cousin, is about winter dancing in Idaho. Folks would sometimes get snowed in while on their way to a dance, but would that stop them? No! They’d just stop, set up sawdust fires, and dance anyway – right in the middle of the road!

I hope this book will be of interest to modern western square dancers and others interested in how dance can forge community, and that it will help contemporary callers keep these old dances alive. It ends with the exhortation to “Please use these good old dances to make good new memories.”

This book is not done yet, but please let me know if you’re interested in getting a copy when it is! Inspired by my friend Birrell Walsh’s delight with his poetry book, I plan to self-publish it through