This writer’s earliest memory of a square dance is from about the age of eight, when my parents took the family to the nearby town of Allen one Saturday night, circa 1962. At the top of main street, in the town square, were a number of people milling about on sawdust that had been spread over the street surface. The men were in jackets and Bolo ties, and the ladies colorfully dressed in crinolines and petticoats. I remember watching with awe as they danced their choregraphed way through what appeared to be intricate patterns. A strong memory is that every participant had wide smiles on their faces and obviously were enjoying themselves.
The name square dance comes from eight people dancing patterns all within a square. Square Dance roots come from many countries and cultures dating back as far as the sixteenth century, yet still it is uniquely American. Jerry Junck of Wayne, Nebraska is a distinctive part of the presentation. As a square dance “caller”, Junck has traveled forty-four states and three Canadian provinces leading dances for over fifty-five years. A talented “caller” needs to be many things; a storyteller, comedian, possess the cadence of an auctioneer and even be a singer. Listening to Junck sing a credible rendition of the Everly Brothers hit song “Bye, Bye Love” while simultaneously calling out instructions to the dancers is enjoyable to hear.
By Brad Kellogg
Read the entire story in the latest edition of Living Here magazine.
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