Bob Brundage – This is Bob Brundage; the date is June 27, 1996. We’re at the 45th National Square Dance Convention in San Antonio and tonight we’re talking with Cal Campbell from Castle Rock, Colorado. We’re very interested in hearing Cal’s life story. So Cal, give it all you’ve got.
Cal Campbell – Life story as far as the dance.
BB – Right, and before, whatever.
CC – Well I started out dancing pretty young. My dad danced and my mother danced, in fact they both met at a dance so when I was growing up we used to go to the local dance in town. We lived in a little one horse town on the western slope of Colorado by the name of Rifle. And every Saturday night there was a dance someplace within at least driving radius, not too much else to do so everybody went to the dance. And when we were little itty bitty kids we stayed out in the car and we’d come in once in awhile and dance … usually the parents would bring us in for the square dance part. Most of it was couple dancing, belly rubbing dancing we used to call it,
belt buckle polishing. But there was always the square dancing part of the night. They always did a Varsouvienne, always did a Virginia Reel, and always did a visiting couple square, which was a lot of fun. About the time I was in the fourth grade we had a teacher that was going to teach us all how to square dance. So we got out and square danced, it was fun, it was a good experience, it wasn’t something like some of the kids go through today where it was miserable. She knew what she was doing. We square danced. We square danced off and on thorough high school, but most of the time square dancing was just a subset of the local dance. We’d have a dance go on all night long, sometimes. We’d have a square dance tip someplace in the middle and all us kids would dance. The big thing then was the swing, foxtrot, what we used to call the waltz. It wasn’t waltz really, what Pappy used to call the fools waltz. But we’d dance, and we would rather dance than eat. That was the main entertainment. Kids used to have a lot of fights. You know coming from a small town we had the tendency to once in awhile get in trouble. We had a principal that had a little three piece band, and every time we’d decide we’d go up and raise cane with the little town up the way he’d come up with a dance and that would put the kybosh on it because we’d rather dance than eat.
About the time I got into college, the square dance club at the college level, Colorado A&M, was the second largest club on campus. It was the place with the most single girls, and the most guys who didn’t want to be attached to any girl, and a good place to go just to meet girls. Dancing was largely … you didn’t learn it, in terms of any sort of lessons. You just got out on the floor and got in position four, as we did in those days, and you started learning how to dance. When it got to your position on the floor you knew what to do. This was in about 1955. Square dancing at that point in time was really starting to roll. And by the time I had been to school about 3 or 4 years we were into probably the hash calling era, very seriously. It started I know a lot earlier than that but it was getting to stage where we had about 50 or 55 terms that we could learn and it was rolling along real good. And the college club, once again, was the second largest club on the campus and we’d have an average 10 to 12 squares of kids out there dancing every week. Lessons were short at that point in time. I think one time we were really shocked about the fact that we had to have 10 lessons in order to get the people to know all these terms.
The college square dance club had two things that were big events for us. Number 1 they had an exhibition team. I learned, oh golly, within a few months after I got into school that square dancing was all right but the callers had the edge. And if you really wanted to meet the young ladies that you needed to get up there on the mic. And that was primarily my motivation for becoming a caller. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that now, but my big thing was, I figured well if I got up on the mic. and learned how to call a dance, then that would give me a better chance to meet so other young ladies. It really worked. From the standpoint that Judy is in the room with us and I was calling a dance one night for the Aggie Haylofters, that was the name of the club, she came walking up to me and said “I bet you don’t know who I am” and I said “no I haven’t got a clue”. She said “well I am the sister of Phyllis”, and Phyllis was on our exhibition team, and her husband, they had just gotten married, and they were on the exhibition team.
The exhibition team at CSU when I first got there and joined the exhibition … I danced one year on it, that was my Sophomore year, I guess it was in college. At that point in time we had enough kids for two squares. So we got to experimenting with the two squares. We decided gee it would be fun to put eight couples in a set. We had no idea what to call it at that time except it was fun to do. So I was the caller at that point in time and we had a couple of other people dancing on the team that were quite good and we started inventing some figures that we could do in this eight couple set. And so for the next three or four years …. I went to vet. school which meant I had to go more than four years … in fact I ended up going seven. So for the next several years we danced in this royal set. And we’re talking about the period from 1955, ’56, ’57. In 1957 they were going to have a centennial or sesquicentennial for Denver. Mrs. Shaw, Pappy Shaw had just died, and Mrs. Shaw was helping in putting on a pageant for this centennial celebration down in Denver. And she had this part of that she wanted to called a Lancers, a Royal Lancers which was done eight couples to the set. So Mrs. Shaw came up to Fort Collins, I don’t remember who referred her, but she came in and she said … talked to the exhibition team and said “would you like to do this part?” My, she was a wonderful lady. So the part we knew nothing about, I mean we were just square dancers, we didn’t do anything except squares, we did this fancy precision stuff in an eight couple set. Mrs. Shaw came in and the fact that it was a new thing that she wanted to do that really nobody else in the United States was doing at that time it required research, I got to work with her quite a bit. The music, we had no idea what the music was like, so Mrs. Shaw did the research on the music. She located … either located the band or something that would play music of that style, and we learned how to do the Royal Lancers. The band had just purchased some fancy new uniforms. I can … I remember a swallow tailed coat, that I wore that one year and I was never skinny enough to wear it again. (Bob snickers) I grew mutton chop whiskers, the ones that come down around your chin, and we went down and did that convention, and did that show twice. The thing that was really amazing to me was the fact that this was my first exposure to all this other kind of dancing. Up until that time I was a square dancer, square dance caller, and there we were in this room with all these other people and I think probably the thing that I remember the most, the thing that made the most impact … there was a great huge gold nugget that they had hung up in the middle of this display … or in the arena and it shown up there in the darkness and Dena and Elwin Fresh were in their full colonial costumes doing the Oxford Minuet, remember that. Doing the Oxford Minuet. And I looked at that and that was a totally different form of dance and very lovely and very elegant and I was … I thought it was great. Chuck Jones at that point in time, was the MC. Chuck Jones stood up there after we were done with our portion of it and he said “you know there is a lot of things that we say about kids that is not good”, just like we say it today. But he says, “you know” he says, “that bunch of kids is going to turn out all right”. It made a big impression on me and I think it made a big impression on a lot of other kids. And that was our introduction to Mrs. Shaw.
After that two or three of us asked permission to come down and see if we couldn’t dance with her little old swing club on Monday night. And we would crawl in the car and we would drive from Fort Collins down to the dance in Colorado Springs, dance with the Swing Club until they got done, go up to the house and listen to Mrs. Shaw tell stories or philosophize and then drive back. We never stayed overnight. Now think about the fact that was the days when we had two lane roads, and we had an old 1948 Chevrolet which was pretty good when you consider the fact that this is, oh, ’55, ’56, ’57, ’58. It was about 9 or 10 years old. We’d go down there and drive back. I remember one time going down there … it was snowing and we decided to go anyway, and we pulled up in the driveway … Mrs. Shaw’s little hall would hold maybe three squares, had these little small windows in it … and as we came up the driveway, we parked down below and hiked up … the snow was coming down and drifting down, and we could see the dancers inside the hall, and there wasn’t a shoulder that was bouncing on edge, it was that smooth … dancing, it was that incredible.
Back up a little bit, for the college. The other dance that the college had, which really helped keep the club together, made it something exciting to be in … we held a festival every year. The festival at that point in time would draw 100 squares for two nights of dancing. There was no gymnasium up there that would hold not much more than that and we would cram it full. The only time we ever met Pappy was up there. My picture of Pappy Shaw was this old gentleman up on the stage with the two canes standing there talking with that voice that just filled the hall. The man wan an incredible speaker. He would come up on the stage and he would talk and we would introduce him and he would say something and then we would go on with the dance. But that was the only time I ever me him. It was still quite an experience.
The exhibition team. After we once had gone through this period where we had learned the Lancers we became quite fascinated with these old dances. The band had bought new uniforms, so we would borrow the uniforms every once in awhile, and these were uniforms with the tight fitted waistcoats and the girls would make the long dresses and we would do the Royal Lancers and we would do the exhibition figures in the set of eight and a couple of times we got to travel. I remember one trip we were invited to some big festival at the Aksarben Coliseum in Omaha Nebraska.
BB – I’ve called there.
CC – Call there, a great big huge hall.
BB – 300 squares.
CC – And it must have been a big enough festival … it may have been a National, I don’t remember. It may have been a National because they were taking a train to go from Denver to Omaha and back. And we went on the train with the people and all of us kids stayed out at a university out there, some Christian university. They had grounds that sloped down into a pond and we would go dance and we were of course part of the exhibition. And the hall was so big that when we were out in the center of it doing our exhibition … and I had a mic., there was a delay between what I was calling and what they were hearing. Probably close to a second delay. A huge place, and of course these people were just filled … the joint was packed. We’d go back and we’d go to the after parties after we got done, the after parties would eventually spill out onto the street. The Omaha police were wonderful, they finally just blocked off the end of the couple of blocks and let the dancers dance. We would get done with that and we would go back out to where the University was and we would dance some more. And then you would go home … or you go back up to your room and go to bed for maybe two hours and then get back and go again. And this was dancing. Of course we were young, we danced in the pond out there which I’m sure the police would have been very upset about if we had done it today. We danced in our pajamas. You know those were the days when we had all the fun badges. We danced in our pajamas, and after three or four days of this … well three days I guess if this was a National festival, we crawled on the train to go back. We danced in the cars. We stuffed the bathroom with people. Those were the days when they were stuffing Volkswagens and stuffing telephone booths.
BB – Yeah, phone booths.
CC - So we decided to stuff a Pullman booth. (Cal laughs)
We had a great time. We got back and this was right at the end of school and the next thing I had when I got back off this trip was I had a job. My job was working for Towntalk bread company. I was supposed to go out and work with a driver for three or four days and then I was going to replace him for two or three weeks while he was on vacation. I’d gone probably three nights with six hours sleep total. We had partied all the way back on this train, had a wonderful time, and we got back in and I had to report for work. The train pulled in at six and I had to report for work at nine. So I went straight from the train out to where I was supposed to go to work. The driver, when I got there he said “Cal, you are comical. I would hand you a tray of bread” … we would carry it in, and he’d say “follow me inside” and I would walk inside and I would just stand there with the tray in my hand. He’d say “put it down” and I would just stand there like a zombie. And finally he would say “put it down” and I would put it down and then we’d go back and do this two or three more times. He said “If you hadn’t told me what you’d done the last several days you would have been fired right there”. It was fun. It was lots of fun.
At CSU I went to veterinary school up there, it took me seven years to finish up the Doctors Degree and I called for the exhibition six out of the seven years … now for the exhibition team. Tremendous experience. Lots of fun. Met lots of people. Met Judy. We got married. A lot of the couples that we have known since then we met in collage. That’s where we gained our enthusiasm. This is where I think square dancing will rejuvenate itself, is among the college kids. And if we can build that generation we can go from there.
From there, went into the Army, this was the days of the draft. And they wanted to draft me immediately after college. And I had a veterinary degree so they took me into the Army and I went to El Paso, Texas. Went into training … actually ended up down near San Antonio to start with. Went from there to Chicago and from there to El PasoTexas. We called … I called in El Paso. I don’t recall if we had a club, I just called. Did we have a club? (question to wife Judy)
Judy Campbell - I don’t know that we ever had a formal club. I know we started out dancing … we had a vacant shop in the shopping center and that’s where we met and had our first set of lessons down there. In that vacant store front.
CC – That’s right.
JC – In El Paso.
CC – From there we went …. after a couple of years in the Army we went up to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1964 through 1968. We started a club up there by the name of Allemande Leftovers, which survived for almost twenty some years, long after we left. During that period of time we got very involved with the local square dance organizations … the state organizations. I was state president one year … put on the festival which was the president’s job at that time. I had a grand group up at Santa Fe. Square dancing at that point of time was very social. The dancing was really quite good, quite smooth. Between ’62, ’63, ’64 the ladies had big bee hive hairdos. And we were down one time dancing in the old church that we danced in and we did a figure with a dive through from the outside. A lady hooked her bee hive hairdo on somebody’s watch band, those old expandable type watch bands, and it yanked it right off her head. It was there that I met Pancho Baird and got to know him. There were a couple of other callers who were down or retired down in Santa Fe that I had a chance to talk to. Good callers. Good dancing. The dancing … this is where I found out that a lot … one of the places where dancing had pretty much stayed alive was in areas of New Mexico. This is where I eventually met Herb Greggerson and went down and visited with him several times, and learned about what dancing was happening there.
BB – He was in Ruidoso.
CC - He lived in Ruidoso. He had a lodge down there that was absolutely crammed with old musical players. The old big plate players that played the …
JC – Cylinder players.
BB – I heard that, yes.
CC – At that point in time he had Alzheimer’s very bad, but Pauline would … was able to sit around and tell us a lot of stories about the age and the time and what had gone on there.
In 1969 they sent Judy and I out to California to go to another year of school. I’ve always kidded about the fact that I didn’t learn it right the first time so I had to go for a retread job. They sent me out to graduate school at Sacramento, actually Davis, the town that had the university. We lived in a little town called Dixon but we went in to Davis to dance at Lee Helsel’s Highwaymen. First exposure ever to recording because one time Lee invited us to come on down to a hall … or come on down to a recording studio where he recorded a record, which I though was fascinating.
The Highwaymen was Lee’s club that existed for probably thirty plus years. Very, very good dancers. Lee was of course an excellent caller. Out there I mostly danced, I did a little calling, but mostly danced. This was the place where Judy … we were starting in … the Lloyd Shaw Foundation to put together a set of records for elementary dances. And Judy took the set over to the school. You can tell a little about that.
JC – This was when they were starting to develop the Elementary Kit and what we had then, instead of having a nice neat little kit with 45rpm records in it, we had 33 1/3’s, we had 78’s we had 45s and we had this totally mismatched set. So I thought well it’s a good chance to try out all these different dances so I went to the local elementary school there in Dixon and I said “Could I come in and teach some of your classes just once in awhile and help you out and help me out”. They came back to me a few days later and said we have it set up for you to teach all of the elementary school children here in Dixon on this regular basis. So it ended up being a full time volunteer job for awhile. But I got to call and teach all of the elementary children in Dixon, Colorado and try out the kit and see how well it worked and how well it danced. And it was wonderful. Because no matter where we went in the little town all the children knew me. “That’s the dance lady”, “that’s the lady who taught us how to dance”. So it was a real good chance to try out the kit and learn with the children because I had never done it before. So it was like, pick up the record, listen to it, figure out the dance, then go teach the kids. So it was a great opportunity. We had been members ever since college of the Lloyd Shaw Fellowship. Because you really need to backtrack and tell them the story of being involved. Because through all these travels and trips even when we lived in Santa Fe and El Paso, we were commuting back and forth once a year to attend the summer school that Dorothy Shaw was teaching in Colorado Springs. And that’s the way we got involved.
CC – Yeah we probably ought to go back a little.
JC – I think so.
CC – I graduated in 1962. Judy and I had been married a year. They were fixing to ship me out to the Army down … for the training down here in San Antonio. We’d been going to Mrs. Shaw’s little swing club … by that time Judy … once we got married Judy was coming along once in awhile. But I was in vet. school and the time to spare to do much of any sort of traveling was zip. Apparently about this point in time, Mrs. Shaw had decided that the group that had met after Pappy’s death was rather old, I mean they’re my age now … was rather old, and she had decided that this group needed to have an influx of some young people. We had no idea at that point in time, in fact we didn’t have any idea for several years, that there were a few people that Mrs. Shaw had decided to experiment with. The first couple, were a couple by the name of Gib and Carla Gilbert who were married at that point in time. The second couple were Judy and I. You know, we were the first two experimental, I guess, kids. There were a couple of other … John and Linda Bradford, were a couple that were young at that point of time, but they had been grandfathered in by means of one of the other ladies that was there, by the name of Mary Jo Bradford. But they decided to experiment. Carla and Gib came the year ahead of us and we came the next year in 1962. We arrived terrified. I mean not just a little bit terrified I mean really terrified.
JC – Very terrified.
CC - Because there was Bob Osgood, there was Dena and Elwin Fresh, and there were all of these people that we had heard about and they were there dancing and we were young college kids and we didn’t know nothing. I can’t really say I knew how to waltz, I was certainly a very mediocre square dance caller, I’d survived fine in college, but as far as knowing anything, well I didn’t. And the people were wonderful. We were absolutely in seventh heaven during that week. They opened up and they put their arms around us and they taught us how to sing. Bob Howard was there and we got a huge charge out of his night that he did. And it was great and we got invited back. We didn’t know we were on trial.
JC – Which is probably a good thing.
CC – Which is probably a good thing, I mean we were scared enough as it was.
I can remember we were trying to learn how to waltz. Dena Fresh was there and Carlotta Hegamann and they danced like angels. I felt like a clod and Judy felt like a clod and Dena decided to take me on the floor and show me something. I was so scared I couldn’t move. We’ve laughed about that many years since because since then I have never become what I would call a graceful waltzer but I’ve gotten to the place where I can waltz all right. But I was scared … I was just so terrified I couldn’t move. We went back every year it was held after that for seventeen years. It provided us with the breadth of knowledge that we couldn’t have gotten any other way. And I’ve often told people that’s one of the reasons we’ve worked so hard to try to pass it on. The fact that we got so much from those people that was freely given without any reservation whatsoever that you ended up in the position where you felt that you had to somehow try to figure out a way to pass it on.
In 1976, because of that … the convention people out in California were putting on that bicentennial convention. And about two years ahead of that they came in and were asking … they sent a couple of representatives to the Fellowship to talk to them about “we want to do a pageant, this is a bicentennial and we should do a pageant”. So as part of it they got to talking to Judy and I and they asked us if we would be the historical consultants. At that point in time I can’t really say I knew about history but we became the historical consultants and spent a lot of the next two years doing research … helping them research dances with the people in the Fellowship. You know that much more knowledge coming at us. Helping them find groups of people who could do things that weren’t a part of the Fellowship or part of square dancing. And getting introduced to a lot of people that we come back and who are friends now. Stew Shacklette was part of that group, a lot of people that do what I would call the old time dancing are part of that group. But through this we became acquaintances with them. The net result, once we got talking about how to put on the pageant, and they were having a terrible time trying to come up with some way to be able to display the dancers so that all the people in this big area could see them. So we set up the arena in Anaheim with all these candles outlining what looked like the United States. Each of the dances that went on you went to the point in the United States that was important to that part of the dance. Which meant that the people were in a very large arena but there was something going on that was close to them every once in awhile. This presented a problem from the standpoint of how do you hook the pieces together. So someone came back and said “ok, we will do this idea if you and Judy will be the MCs”. Once again I think probably this struck terror in our hearts but we did … but what we did basically Judy and I were the transition points as we would go from point to point … we would walk … the spotlights would follow us and we would read a script and then the next piece of dance would go on and then the lights would go down on them and the spot light would come back on us and we would move to the next one. We were kind of the wandering minstrels I guess you would call it. So it was just a way of being able to do it that pulled the whole thing together. The other thing that happened … this is really where we got interested in what Herb Greggerson had done, because we were in the South West and Herb Greggerson had the Blue Bonnet Set. So we went down and spent, I would say probably several weekends, working with Pauline going through the dances that they had done during that era. And there were some fantastic figures. Figures we’ve lost. The traditional people haven’t picked them up, Bob, and the modern square dancer can’t do them because the language doesn’t fit. But they were figures that were done during the period of time between probably 1948 when hash calling really started to come into being and Greggerson started that whole thing and about 1955 when the language stabilized, with this kind of set of terms that were used in that period of time. But there were a lot of figures that were done during that period of time that are gone. And their gone because there is no way to call them with the modern terminology and nobody else has picked them up. Herb’s Blue Bonnet Set had a bunch of these things. We went down and Pauline got out the old pictures for us, what the dresses looked like, she got out the dress patterns that she had stuck in the back of the drawer. They we made these polka dot … what are …. dotted swiss …
JC – Dotted swiss with checked gingham.
CC – Ok. Dresses. Her dress weighed how much?
JC – Fifteen pounds.
CC – Fifteen pounds is what her dress weighed. And the dress went all the way down to your ankles and Judy could take the two ends and hold them up over the top of her head without raising the other material one inch off the floor. Tremendously heavy dresses. We did Herb Greggerson’s Blue Bonnet Set at the Anaheim festival. That pageant played to 6,500 people and was a packed house. We ran it twice. There was such a huge demand for tickets we ran it a third time. We could have done it 4 times. At the time when I think the National Convention that year was the biggest convention, it was 39,000. And we could have done probably 5 shows, we could have had ¾ of the people that were willing to come through and see that show.
JC – We figure over 20,000 saw it.
CC – Yeah, over half the convention saw it. Great fun! We pulled a lot of the dance and a lot of the history off of the material Mrs. Shaw had done for the ’58 convention, this was our base to work off of. That room was not filmed. The one at Anaheim was filmed. So we have an archive on that.
JC – Well Dorothy Shaw was there.
CC – Mrs. Shaw was there, she spoke to the crowd. We had a lot of elegant, elegant dancers on that. I won’t say it was better than the 1958 because there is no way to compare them. They were two different flavors of things but they were both a great recording of history about what when on. A lot of it very authentic. The Calico and Boots dancers did Pappy Shaw’s part. Did a glorious part. It was just tremendous to watch. And they did all of the aerial figures.
At that point in time we were back living in New Mexico. I had gone to graduate school and came back. About then I thought I was going to be a real good caller. I have no idea whether or not I was, but I was calling about 200 plus nights a year and was calling for four clubs. Mainstream was in full flower, we had very little Plus dancing although that was coming along about that time. I got invited to … in 1974 I got invited to the first meeting of Callerlab. Once again I went and it was considerably awed because here were all these famous people I had heard about, that I got a chance to meet and sit down and talk with. Became very active in Callerlab with the background that I had, from listening to Mrs. Shaw and all these other folks I had been taught timing to the place of where it was an absolute essential core of my square dancing, my calling. And so I fought hard for it. I fought for styling. You know all the things that went on. We went back … in 1980 we moved up to Fort Collins, Colorado. I changed jobs. I went into a job that was extremely demanding and basically calling had to take a back seat. And calling had to take a back seat for almost five years. And when we got … I called some, we used to go out to … I called around Fort Collins we never had a club. I called around Fort Collins and we used to go out …. Judy picked me up at the airport and we’d go out to Sterling which is outside of Denver probably 80 - 90 miles.
JC – Fort Morgan.
CC – FortMorgan, those areas, I’d call and come back. Changed jobs again in ’85 and frankly I was burned out. I had been calling 200 nights a year, I had gone into a high pressure job, I was in middle management, and I honestly tried to retire. We were going to continue with the Lloyd Shaw foundation dance. We were going to dance but I wasn’t going to call. That lasted how long?
JC – Three years.
CC – You know I did one night stands and stuff like that. I was just basically burnt out. So we got back into it. I had dropped out of Callerlab. I rejoined Callerlab and started calling around the city some more and finally decided I wanted to do some more Mainstream calling and I still had lots of the one night stand things, parties, and things like that. About that time we were doing quite a bit with dancing in a simpler form and they called up and said “would you come to Callerlab to do a session showing what you do”. I had proposed to the Lloyd Shaw Foundation that we hold a Leadership Training Institute, and the purpose of the Institute was to come up with some dances and a dance forum that would be acceptable to college students. Because I felt that if we did not have a younger group of dancers coming up behind us it was going to die. And so we put together what was termed the Leadership Training Institute, I think Don Armstrong really named the Institute, he was the one that came up with the name. He and I and Bill Litchman, Judy, and Chris and Ruth Ann Knapp were the core people who went down and put on the first Leadership Training Institute. It was one of those things that kind of evolved. It didn’t really evolve in the direction I thought it should have evolved at first but it evolved. I had an idea that this would be a place where we would train new young dancers and we would all get together and talk about … exchange dances not in the same context as we did at the Fellowship dances but in an environment similar to this where we could exchange ideas. As it turned out it became a training ground to where four of us were on staff and the students came in. This lasted basically, what, four years?
Well four years of the training institute, we put 100 and 30 some people through it. It did a lot of good but it was one of those things that evolves with time to the place it no longer works, so we stopped it. About that point in time Callerlab said come and let’s try out … come do a session at Callerlab doing this same sort of thing. Well in the meantime Ken Kernen and Bob Osgood as the primary drivers plus a committee of probably, I don’t know, probably 20 people had gotten together and put together the Community Dance Program. I guess if I had to put together my own program I’d make some small changes, but basically it was a good solid program. I included all the elements that Judy and I liked. We could square dance, we could contra dance, we had trios, we had quadrilles, we had Mescolanzas, we had mixers, we had Sicilian Circles, we had all the stuff we wanted. Growing up in the environment around Mrs. Shaw and the Fellowship we got to the place where we liked Hornpipes, and Jigs, and Reels, and singing calls and all of this broad range of music that we liked. And the different types and styles of dancing were there. The only thing that the Community Dance Program didn’t have was the broad range of terms. Ok, this fit, to me … fit the image of how I learned. Here is something we could learn in six or eight weeks, this is something that people could do for a lifetime, it was very socially oriented, from the standpoint of this is what square dancing used to be like. Very social environment. The only thing was that we wanted to live within 24 terms. Ok why 24 terms. This allowed people to have a common language like we used to have back in the fifties where we had fifty five terms. And we felt that if we could agree among leaders to go out and teach this limited set that we could use this as the core that we could build on forever. And I think that this still will work. I really do. In probably the last four years we spent 90% of our dancing effort in the Community Dance Program. I still do a lot of one night stands and I still call ten or twelve Mainstream dances a year. I probably do 20-25 parties a year and we do Community Dance Program. It’s been fun. I guess for the purposes of the archive that if I have any regrets is the fact that I don’t think that Mainstream square dancing will survive. That whatever evolves will evolve but it’s not going to include Mainstream square dance calling. I think that we will return to a style of dancing that will be a lot smoother than what we have at the present time. At least I hope so, I’m not ready to quit that battle yet. If we can get back to what I would say are simpler roots … you know one of the things that Mrs. Shaw pointed out when she would talk to us was the fact that all dancing has evolved from the simple to the very complex and then the people get tired of the complex and it goes back to the simple. And I think that it if were anywhere in the cycle that’s where it is.
BB – Well that’s great. Now tell us about “Dancing for Busy People”.
CC – (laughs) I’m a writer I think, at least I’m a word smith. One of the things … I can do a lot of written communications that people seem to understand. So we started out … we did a book that had to do with modular calling, I did it in ’75-’76 we did a second one and then we picked up on this one. “Dancing for Busy People” is a co-authorship and it’s really the pooling of the knowledge of three people, myself, Ken Kernen, and Bob Howell. We figured out there’s 107 years of dancing experience. Of the book, there are 400 plus dances in that book that cover the range of square dancing and contra dancing, trios, Mescolanzas, solo dances, mixers, miscellaneous things we couldn’t put in any particular category. It all fits within Callerlab recommended basics with two exceptions. The three of us got together and agreed that number 1 weave the ring was just a variation of Right and Left Grand, and we felt that for contras we’ve got to have Wheel Around because it’s an essential part of what you do when you promenade down in fours. I mean, you can’t get away without either a wheel around or a California Twirl and of the two, Wheel Around was the more acceptable. The second one we put in just because we felt we needed it was Star Through. But otherwise it fits within the Callerlab recommended set. It’s designed for several purposes. It’s designed as a resource material for dance leaders to take out to the recreational environment. For me probably the most important use is it’s designed as the text book for the college level. I taught a college course on that, this year, for the first time. I’m a college professor, part time. I taught my first course with the book this year. It worked out very well. I have also the teaching course that’s a supplement to that, that people can have if they want to do it. But this is what I hope will be the wellspring for some courses in college that will eventually hopefully generate clubs in college. Now in the clubs in college there will be people who will want learn to how to do this, and they can do it. One of the reasons for this is that when I first learned how to call as a young college student, we got a record, we picked up Sets In Order’s “Five Years of Dancing”, the old yellow manual, I’ve got a copy of it here I’ve brought with me, for the lecture tomorrow. There had to be a source where we could go for written material. “Five Years of Square Dancing” was it. I don’t presume to say there is any where near the amount of knowledge there was in that Five Years book but there’s a good source there. And if people will go and use it, Bob, they’ve got material … if they want to use just that book forever I wouldn’t encourage it, because there is so much out there besides that book. That’s a compilation of a little bit of a great huge pool, but it is an example so that people can go and pick up a source, and find out. That source is, I guess, an entry place into a world of unlimited entertainment. I told the people today in one of the sessions that I was doing, I said “the thing that you folks have to realize in order to start this process is the number of terms that you know has nothing to do with the fun in dancing. That is in the hands of a good imaginative leader. You don’t need many terms to have a ball, and that’s what that book is. Ken Kernen did mainly … Ken’s contribution is candid, is extremely good in square dance calling. He is very imaginative, he did a tremendous amount of research. A lot of the figures came from him. Bob Howell on Solo dancing and the little odd formations is good. I can’t really tell you where all the contras that came out evolved. My contribution was the fact that I’m the wordsmith, can sit there and hammer out the words and do the grunt work to put it together (laughs).
(Some clicks as machine goes off and on again.)
BB – So this concluded another interesting story in the life of Cal Campbell from Colorado … I’m sorry Castle Rock, Colorado and again we chatted for about an hour after the taping ended and it was a very interesting evening.
(Editors note: Cal received the CALLERLAB Milestone Award in 2006, 10 years after this interview was performed.)