ABC Barn Dance is an early country and Western music show on American television, a spin-off of the popular radio program "National Barn Dance". It also included some folk music. The show aired on Monday nights from February 21–November 14, 1949 on ABC-TV. Originally broadcast from 8:30–9 p.m. Eastern Time, it was moved to 9 p.m. and then to 9:30 p.m. Filmed at the Eighth Street Theater in Chicago, Illinois, the weekly variety show was hosted by Hal O'Halloran and Jack Stillwell. Several of the radio program's performers appeared, including the Sage Riders (instrumental quartet), Lulu Belle and Scotty, Cousin Tifford, Bob Atcher, the DeZurik Sisters and Holly Swanson.

Type: Variety

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 30 minutes

Premier: 1949-02-21

ABC Barn Dance - Contra dance - Netflix

Contra dance (also contradance, contra-dance and other variant spellings) is a folk dance made up of long lines of couples. It has mixed origins from English country dance, Scottish, French dance styles in the 17th century. Sometimes described as New England folk dance or Appalachian folk dance, contra dances can be found around the world and have much popularity in North America and the United Kingdom where weekly or monthly dances and annual dance weekends are common. According to the Contra Dance Links website, contra dancing can be found in all US states except for South Dakota. Contra dancing is a social dance that one can attend without a partner. The dancers form couples, and the couples form sets of two couples in long lines starting from the stage and going down the length of the dance hall. Throughout the course of a dance, couples progress up and down these lines, dancing with each other couple in the line. The dance is led by a caller who teaches the sequence of figures in the dance before the music starts. Callers describe the series of steps called “figures”, and in a single dance, a caller may include anywhere from 6–12 figures which are repeated as couples progress up and down the lines. Each time through the dance takes 64 beats, after which the pattern is repeated. The music played for contra dances includes, but is not limited to Irish, Scottish, old-time and French-Canadian folk tunes. The fiddle is considered the core instrument, though other stringed instruments are used, such as the guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin, as well as the piano, accordion, flute, clarinet and more. Contra dances are even done to techno music. Music in a dance can consist of a single tune or a medley of tunes, and key changes during the course of a dance are common. A successful contra dance needs three components: dancers, a caller, and a band. Many callers and bands perform for local contra dances, and some are hired to play for dances around the U.S. and Canada. Many dancers travel regionally (or even nationally) to contra dance weekends and week-long contra dance camps, where they can expect to find other dedicated dancers, great callers, and great bands.

ABC Barn Dance - History - Netflix

At the end of the 17th century, English country dances were taken up by French dance masters. The French called these dances contra-dances or contredanses (which roughly translated “opposites dance”), as indicated in a 1710 dance book called Recuil de Contredance. As time progressed, these dances returned to England and were spread and reinterpreted in the United States, and eventually the French form of the name came to be associated with the American folk dances, where they were alternatively called “country dances” or in some parts of New England such as New Hampshire, “contradances”. Contra dances were fashionable in the United States and were considered one of the most popular social dances across class lines in the late 18th century, though these events were usually referred to as “country dances” until the 1780s, when the term contra dance became more common to describe these events. In the mid-19th century, group dances started to decline in popularity in favor of quadrilles, lancers, and couple dances such as the waltz and polka. Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, had a role in preserving contra and American folk dancing generally, in part as a response in opposition to modern jazz influences in the United States. In the 1920s, he asked friend and dance coordinator in Massachusetts, Benjamin Lovett, to come to Michigan to begin a dance program. Initially, Lovett could not as he was under contract at a local inn; consequently, Ford bought the property rights to the inn. Lovett and Ford initiated a dance program in Dearborn, Michigan that included several folk dances, including contras. Ford also published a book titled Good Morning: After a Sleep of Twenty-Five Years, Old-Fashioned Dancing Is Being Revived in 1926 detailing steps for some contra dances. In the 1930s and 1940s, contra dances appear to have been done only in small towns in widely scattered parts of northeastern North America, such as Ohio, the Maritime provinces of Canada, and particularly northern New England. Ralph Page almost single-handedly maintained the New England tradition until it was revitalized in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly by Ted Sannella and Dudley Laufman. The New England contra dance tradition was also maintained in Vermont by the Ed Larkin Old Time Contra Dancers, formed by Edwin Loyal Larkin in 1934. The group he founded is still performing, teaching the dances, and holding monthly open house dances in Tunbridge, VT. By then, early dance camps, retreats, and weekends had emerged, such as Pinewoods Camp, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which became primarily a music and dance camp in 1933, and NEFFA, the New England Folk Festival, also in Massachusetts, which began in 1944. Pittsburgh Contra Dance celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. These and others continue to be popular and some offer other dances and activities besides contra dancing. In the 1970s, Sannella and other callers introduced movements from English Country Dance, such as heys and gypsies, to the contra dances. New dances, such as Shadrack's Delight by Tony Parkes, featured symmetrical dancing by all couples. (Previously, the actives and inactives —see Progression below— had significantly different roles). Double progression dances, popularized by Herbie Gaudreau, added to the aerobic nature of the dances, and one caller, Gene Hubert, wrote a quadruple progression dance, Contra Madness. Becket formation was introduced, with partners next to each other in the line instead of opposite. The Brattleboro Dawn Dance started in 1976, and continues to run semiannually. In the early 1980s, Tod Whittemore started the first Saturday dance in the Peterborough Town House, which remains one of the more popular regional dances. The Peterborough dance influenced Bob McQuillen, who became a notable musician in New England. As musicians and callers moved to other locations, they founded contra dances in Michigan, Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, and elsewhere. In the 1970s, the Boston-area Lesbian and Gay Folk Dance became the first group to regularly contra dance without gender roles; its dances were referred to as “gender-free” or “gender-neutral” dances. In 1981, a group in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, called “Les be Gay and Dance” was started, in which callers deliberately eliminated references to gender by avoiding the terms “ladies” or “gents.” In 1987, Chris Ricciotti started a gay dance group in Providence, RI, using the terms “ladies” and “gents,” although dancers were not lining up according to gender. Other gender-free dance groups started in the area after that, and in 1989, at the gender-free dance group in Jamaica Plain, MA, a group of dancers led by Janet Dillon protested the use of these terms, and the armband system was devised: the traditionally male-role dancers would wear armbands and be called “armbands” or just “bands,” and the traditionally female-role dancers would be called “bare arms” or just “bares.”

ABC Barn Dance - References - Netflix