Decline in Square Dancing | Bowing Down Home


File: gotellwilfred-oh-dancing_M.mp3

WG – Wilfred Gotell

KP – Curator Ken Perlman

WG: But the old time dance, really, the old lancers, they died right out. This modern stuff come in. And it would be nice if it would come back again cause it was really a nice dance, you know, the Lancers or square dance, they used to call them.

KP What kind of lancers did they do on this part of the Island?

WG Well, there'd be a couple of four, a couple of eights, you know. There'd be four figures to each.

KP Do you happen to recall what the routine was for each figure?

WG Well, the first figure would be a "leading up," as we used to call it, to your opposite partner. And the second figure, they used to call it "sashay" then. All join hands and go to the center of the hall, then swing the partner three times, promenade the hall. And the third figure was "ladies in the center." And the fourth figure was " grand chain."

KP Was ladies in the center where everyone reaches over?

WG Make one turn around and then the men would reach in and put all the ladies in the center, and go around the opposite way agian. And the last figure was grand chain. All grand chain around and swing your partner, and then the last few years they used to lead up, perhaps you do it three or four times, and the set would be over. But the later years after the War was over, they'd all join in, perhaps it was, say, six different sets on the floor. And the grand chain, they'd all join in, would make 48 couples, eh. And they'd all want to swing everyone in the hall when they're grand chainin'. We used to get played out and we’d just carry on so long and then quit and that was it. There used to be an awful lot of moans and groans, but we just coudln't keep it up. But they liked to do it and that's the way it carried on.