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Jerry Helt

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Jerry L. Helt


Information: Jerry L. Helt, caller of square, contra, and round dance.

Jerry was born on March 22, 1931 and was considered by folk dancers throughout the fifty United States and Canada as the most popular caller and teacher of American Square Dances, Contras, and Rounds. He was known for his humorous, fun teaching style, for his specialty, Exploding Squares, and for his very popular creations Sweep a Quarter and the round dance Jiffy Mixer.

Jerry began his square dance activities in the early 1940s and was a full-time caller after 1953. As a professional caller and instructor, he conducted callers' clinics and workshops, and served on the teaching faculty of numerous universities, institutes, and camps throughout the United States and many foreign countries. Jerry was not only a member of Callerlab (the international association of Square Dance callers), he served on its founding Board of Governors. He conducted a full program of classes and clubs in Cincinnati, Ohio, and surrounding areas that included Squares, Rounds, Quadrilles, and Contras. He served on the program of the National Square Dance Convention and served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee for the American Square Dance. He was fully licensed by A.S.C.A.P. and B.M.I.

Jerry was a recording artist on Blue Star, MacGregor, Scope, Sets in Order, Hollywood, Kentucky, and Gateway Records. He also performed and recorded with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on the Telarc label. His numerous albums and singles are heard around the world. He produced "Jerry Helt's Dance Party KDF-003," a video and audio cassette for non-dancers, people of all ages, square dancers, school groups, square dance callers, and collectors.

Jerry was featured as a caller and choreographer on stage and in television shows and choreographed square dance scenes for the Cincinnati Opera's "Elixer of Love." He conducted exhibition groups and taught dancing to mentally retarded, wheelchair groups, and children. He performed and called square dances throughout the fifty United States and was featured in articles in the national square dance magazine Square Dancing as well as other magazines and publications. He was a member of and choreographer for the AMAN International Folk Ensemble.

Jerry attended engineering school at the University of Cincinnati. He enjoyed many hobbies, such as sculpture and antique collecting, with his wife Kathy (who was born on June 18, 1936) and three daughters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The American Square Dance Society inducted Jerry into their Hall of Fame in 1979. The Jerry Helt Fan Club and its national membership contribute and support the American Cancer Society to help wipe out this dreaded disease.

Jerry passed away on June 30, 2021, prededed by Kathy, who passed away on May 17, 2021.




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