|From The New Hampshire Troubadour, Vol. IX, No. 4, July 1939. Published by the State Planning and Development Commission, Concord, N.H. and printed by the Rumford Press.
Thanks to Tony Parkes for finding this.
Swing Your Partner
By Ralph G. Page
Fifteen years ago square dances in New Hampshire were on their way out. They were being detoured to a limbo of forgotten Americanisms along with strings of dried apple and red flannel ankle lengths. Today, only a few years later, the whole state is square dance crazy. Interest has rocketed to such a height as to threaten the foundations of our town halls.
New Hampshire stands head and shoulders above the rest of the country in this matter of square dancing. It is more than a craze; more than a fad. It is paying dividends to many towns, the same as winter sports or summer tourists.
Why all this interest in plain quadrilles and contras? Why does modern youth flock to these dances in ever increasing numbers? Why, in many towns, do they out draw ballroom dances?
Any square dance devotee will tell you that here is America at its best. Here is democracy in its purest form. Your wife may be dancing with a French Canadian mill hand, your son with the neighbors" Finnish maid, your daughter with a Yankee farmer, while your own partner may be the postmaster"s wife. and all of you in the same set. You can"t get away with being snobbish at such parties. By comparison, modern slinkabouts are as pale and flabby as last year"s ice-cream cone.
In square dances, a girl can"t get by with just resting her head on her partner"s manly chest and nonchalantly allowing her feet to drift to starboard. Nor can a man get by with a soulful expression on his face and a mouthful of blarney for his partner"s ear. In square dances you dance.
Young and old come; gray locked grand parents and bonnetted babes, doctors, lawyers, merchants, teachers, sophisticated collegians, cocky high school kids and grammar school cutups. You will find them all at an honest-to-goodness square dance.
Good music and good prompting make them a success. Here in New Hampshire we have plenty of both. Here you will find square dance bands able to stir your blood with money musk [sic], Hull"s Victory, Garry Owen and countless others. Here you will find world famous prompters singing their changes:
You swing yours, I"ll swing mine.Your girl is pretty, so is mine, I"ll take mine and promenade,You do the same and don"t be afraid.
They are dances for fun loving people, not for the picklefaced. After watching them you wonder how modern dances ever got started with their priggish isolation and couples doing the same monotonous steps. You can have your jitterbug sensuality if you want it, I"ll take a square dance with a fiddler who can fiddle and a prompter who can prompt.