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A Who's Who

by Sandi & Dan Finch

Almost every activity has a “hall of fame” to recognize the contributions of past participants who set the standard for all to follow. We don’t have a Hall of Fame or a Who’s Who in round dancing, but the two international organizations come close—ICBDA with its Golden Torch Award and RAL with its Silver Halo.

The awards are meant to be important. Neither is awarded every year. In the 35 years since the first Golden Torch was presented to Gordon & Betty Moss, there have been only 22 other awards. The Silver Halo has been presented nine times since it was first awarded in 1987.

Some of the list you know—Wayne & Barbara Blackford, Ron & Ree Rumble, Bill & Carol Goss, Curt & Tammy Worlock, Kenji & Nobuko Shibata, and of course Eddie & Audrey Palmquist. But, who were Bill & Elsye Johnson, Bud & Lil Knowland, Ben Highburger? Nowhere is there any information on these leaders who have been so important to our activity. Perhaps we have become old enough that we now need to take stock of our history.

Well almost nowhere. There is ONE place that has chronicled the activities of our Who’s Who in round dancing—Round Dancer Magazine. During the five decades the magazine was published, it gave us cue sheets of new dances, reports from around the country on what was being taught, and a kind of gossip column to keep everyone in tune with friends. It also featured a couple on each month’s cover with a short article called “Our Kover Kidz.” If you want to know anything about the 500 or so round dance leaders who were important in their day, that’s where you have to go.

The magazine is gone now. The only mention of it on Google is an eBay offering of “one rare, vintage” edition from June 1969, featuring Roy & Juanita Close on the cover. It had a starting bid of $5.99. (The seller said it was the only issue she had.)

Copies of the magazine still exist in individual dance collections, and we are ever so fortunate to have become a kind of repository of all things round dance. We thank the many of you—Lynn Brewer, the family of Louise Pewsey, Betty Stottlemyer, Carmel Murbach, Audrey Palmquist—who have donated books, magazines, and other dance memorabilia to our collection. Because of that, we have Round Dancer magazines spanning more than 40 years (and looking to eventually have the entire set).

The treasure of Round Dancer Magazine became obvious this summer when ICBDA presented its Golden Torch award. Reading the list of honorees from the past we saw names even we didn’t recognize. The first name that jumped out was Bud & Lil Knowland. We didn’t remember ever having a festival teach from them. Who were they? We didn’t need to look further than our Round Dancer Magazine.


From a club newsletter prepared by Dan and Sandi Finch , September 2013, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, July/August 2014.



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If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.



If you are not a member of DRDC, do consider joining. The group sponsors triquarterly weekends with great dancing and teaching, and the newsletter is one of the most informative available.

Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.

Aditional articles and dance helps by
Sandi & Dan Finch
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Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)



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