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John Dolce
WLS National Barn Dance

What would the National Barn Dance be without a square dance? And what would the square dance be without the caller? WLS' National Barn Dance had one of the best in John Dolce. John's reputation was such that he was one of the advisors for the International Square Dance Festival. Mr. Dolce shared his knowledge of square dancing with the many groups he taught with the Chicago Park District, and especially enjoyed helping out the beginners.

In fact, the greatest gathering of exhibition square dancers ever assembled was at Chicago Stadium on October 28, 1950. John Drake of WLS was the chairman and was put on with the cooperation of the Chicago Park District. Square dancing back then was seen as one of the most wholesome forms of entertainment and park and recreation leaders came far and wide to not only help with the planning of the affair, but to learn from others. They even held a 'clinic' for the study of techniques at the same Eighth Street Theatre where the Barn Dance was held.

More than 11,000 folks attended this exhibition, from more than 20 states. The program had unique features such as a Canadian set with all the calls in French; sets made up of children who had recovered from polio, where dancing was part of their recovery; sets with a number of blind persons; and of course, a parade of beautiful costumes and unique callers.

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