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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

The Contra Dance Book
By Rickey Holden

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Rickey Holden

BACKGROUND

Information: A book.

The Contra Dance Book, by Rickey Holden with technical and research assistance by Frank Kaltman and Olga Kulbitsky. Newark, N.J.: American Squares, 1956.


REVIEW

By Rod LaFarge, in Rosin the Bow.

This is by all odds the largest and most complete book on contra dances to date, and a must in the dancer's library. It is not "completely complete"; the author says "This is a compilation of all the contra and progressive circle dances which have appeared in readily available American literature between 1850 and 1953. Of course a lot more research should really be completed before offering this to you – state historical libraries and attic collections of old prompt books and manuscripts . . ."

However since they manage to give 91 actual contra dance descriptions and 18 progressive circles, which bolstered by secondary titles and variations bring the index up to 284 contras and 52 progressive circles, I think it will remain the most complete for quite a long time. The references, bibliography, type classifications, history, teaching and prompting instructions are all very well done, and the book will be the standard reference work in this field, I'm sure.


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