Contras, American squares
Contras, American squares, quadrilles, folk, old-time rounds
Don Armstrong began actively calling and teaching dance (New England squares, contras, quadrilles, folk, and old-time rounds) in 1947 in Florida. In 1951, Don was calling a very large and extremely successful weekly dance in the Gulfport Casino, just outside St. Petersburg, Florida. His band, known all over Florida, did square dance parties for many conventions. The Florida Tourist Board saw the possibilities in this activity and sent Don on a 13,000-mile calling tour across the South, Southwest, and into California to help entice visitors to Florida, making him among the very first group of traveling callers. Along the way, he did free dances at such places as the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, and Mammoth Cave. Don was doing a weekly radio show on a Florida station using interviews and lots of live sounds along the tour, and he swung down to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to interview Dr. Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw and his wife, Dorothy, for one of the programs.
Later Don, and his wife Marie, moved to Cañon City, Colorado. Marie was an excellent teacher, caller, and dancer whose specialty was in social recreation dances, games, and songs.
After Dr. Shaw's death, Don helped found the Lloyd Shaw Foundation, and was a member of its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The Foundation produces recordings that include folk dances, contras, square dances, round dances, circle dances, mixers, and novelty dances.
Don contributed articles to such nationally recognized dance or recreation publications as Square Dancing, the publication of the American Square Dance Society, and he wrote The Caller/Teacher Manual for Contras, published by the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. Don was a member of the Square Dance Hall of Fame and was one of the founding members of Callerlab of the International Association of Square Dance Callers.
Don also ran the Contra Dance Holiday on Thanksgiving weekends in Skippack, Pennsylvania, and was on the staff of the Dixie Institute at Emery University, New Hampshire Folk Dance Camp, Oglebay Institute in West Virginia, and the Fairs 'n Suares Camp in Ontario, Canada. He was founder and director of the Florida Dance Felowship, associate editor of American Squares magazine and Bow and Swing magazine. Don was an active member of the Florida Recreation Association and was a square dance consultant for the Tampa Recreation Department.
Among Don's publications are
- Caller/Teacher Manual for Contras, The. Sets In Order American Square Dance Society, Los Angeles, California, 1973.
- Contra Dancing. Lloyd Shaw Foundation Sales Division, PO Box 11, Macks Creek, MO, 65786. More than 100 contra dances along with pictures, diagrams, and descriptions.
- Don Armstrong's Square Dance Workbook. 1955.
- Don Armstrong's Reel to Reel Part 1. (Video) Kentucky Dance and Lloyd Shaw Foundation.
- Don Armstrong's Reel to Reel Part 2. (Video) Kentucky Dance and Lloyd Shaw Foundation.
- Don Armstrong's Reel to Reel Part 3. (Video) Kentucky Dance and Lloyd Shaw Foundation.
Dances Don taught include 3/4-Time Contra, All the Way to Galway, Alston Polka Contra, Back to Donegal, Balance in the Barn, Balancing Billy, Bicentennial Reel, Bonnets of Bonnie Dundee, Broken Sixpence, Byland Abbey, Caller's Wife, Callison Hall Jig, Calvin Crest, Caman Island Contra, Caribbean Contra, Charming Betsy, Cobbs Hill Reel, C.J. Mixer, Constant Contra, Crazy Daisy Mixer, Dancing Sailors, Double Weave Mixer, Doubtful Shepherd, Dream Lake, Duke of Kent's Waltz Contra, Dumbarton Drums, Edelweiss, Five Foot Two, Flea Market, Flying Scotsmen Hornpipe, Hallelujah, Happy Wanderer, Hills of Habersham, Hole in the Wall, Homosassa Hornpipe, I Don't Know Why Mixer, I Get the Blues, Inflation Reel, January Seventh Jig (The), Jenny's Star, Jiffy Mixer, Kadie's Contra, Kansas City Reel, Kitchen Hornpipe, Kitty Hawk Hornpipe, Lads of Kildare, Left Footer's One Step, Levi Jackson Rag, Light in the Window (The), Lonesome Shepherd, Long Valley, Manning's Mixer, Marching to Pretoria, Market Lass (The), Maverick Waltz, Maverick Waltz Circle Contra, Mazurka, Minuet, My Will is Easy to Decide for There is Nothing to Decide, Needham Special, No-Na_Me Contra, Ocean View Reel, Olympic Promenade, On the Carousel, Ottawa Special (British Sorrow), Oyster Shucker's Jig, Phase Craze Mixer, Pride of Dingle, Queen Victoria, Quiet Contra, Raccoon Ramble, Riley's Reel, Road to Californy, Roadrunner, Roundelay, Rutger's Promenade, Sackett's Harbor, Seaway Jig, Sernata Quadrille, Shadrack's Delight, Slant Mescolanza, Slaunch to Donegal, Spanking Jack, Spitfire Swing, Steamboat Quickstep, Swiss Quadrille Medley, Symmetrical Force, Ten Pretty Girls, Terry Lynn's Jig, Teton Mountain Stomp, Three's a Crowd, Tip Top Quadrille, Tipperary, Today, Topsy Turvy, Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Travel Air Triple, Triolet, Triolina (La), Tunnel Contra, Up Jumped the Devil, Vaudreuill (La), Walk Right In Mixer, Waltz for Terry, Ways of Skippjack, Weaver's Reel, Whisper Ring, Windmill Lancers, and Yucca Jig.