Mission Statement:

The purpose of the California Heritage Dancers is to promote awareness in the public of the historic and artistic value of square dancing, the folk dance which is truly American in origin. Further, to demonstrate through educational exhibitions and entertainment the unique place which square dancing holds in our national culture.

Contact Info:

For more information about the California Heritage Dancers, please contact Jim and Pam Kidwell by the phone or email listed below, or send an email to heritage@sdsda.org .

LPaul and Sally Schmidt
Phone: 619-804-4197
email:  lpaulandsally@gmail.com

-- In loving memory of or founder - Ruth Walker-Hagan --



The American public is generally aware and quite well-informed of the variations in ethnic folk arts throughout the world. This is due in part to abundant travel opportunities, education and the "melting pot" nature of our culture. However, the majority of our citizens are regrettably unaware of the richness of the art forms which have originated here and are unique to our nation. American Square Dancing is a case in point. This, like the people who have contributed to its' development, is a product of the cultural melting pot which makes our country great. Contributions have been made by English, French, Scottish and Irish settlers; then later on by the Spanish, Western pioneers, cowboys, miners and ranchers. More recent times have seen significant contributions by Henry Ford and Lloyd Shaw, to say nothing of the many innovative callers. Heritage Dancers would like not only to preserve these dance traditions of the past, but to educate the American public as well, young and old alike. We Americans have a unique contribution to make to the world-wide cultural scene, but need first to be informed and proud of that contribution. Toward that end, Heritage Dancers was organized in 1986 by its' founder and director, Ruth Walker, to bring this cultural heritage to the attention of the American public by whatever means possible. Extensive research has resulted in a series of dances performed in authentic period costuming. The ever-expanding repertoire currently includes ten different dances dating from the Colonial period up to modem times.


Historic Dances of the United States

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We live in an age of change, in a country where change is rapid. Yet amid all the rapid change there are some things which remain the same. Since the time of the earliest settlers, dancing has been a primary socializing element in this country. As favorite dances were handed down from one generation to the next, each adding their own variations, certain common threads remained constant. In spite of regional differences, clothing constraints and varying tastes, these common threads formed the fabric from which today's modem American square dancing was created over the past 300 years. The present has emerged from the past. American square dancing is no longer confined to the borders of our states. It is now worldwide, with large clubs in many foreign countries. It is interesting to note that square dance calls are always in English in these countries, regardless of the national language. Dance historians generally agree that the dance that we know today as square dancing resulted from a blend of European dances brought to this country by the earliest immigrants. The Heritage Dancers bring this history alive with their performance of these historical dances.
Heritage Dancers is an affiliate club in the San Diego Square Dance association. The purpose of California Heritage Dancers is to promote a historical view of square dancing. Square dancing has its roots in American folk dance and is truly American in origin. The California Heritage Dancers demonstrate through exhibitions the unique place which square dancing holds in our national culture.
There are ten dances in the California Heritage Dancers repertoire, ranging from the Colonial 1700's to modern square dance. All the dancers are performed in their respective historical costumes and traditions for the period. Rehearsals are held weekly on Wednesday in Poway and Sunday in Balboa Park, San Diego, through out the year. The rehearsals are used to teach one, or many historical dances. Come, and learn one, or all the dances. Try it, you might just like it.

Colonial (1700's)

Southwestern Dance (1800)

Miner (1840)

Quadrille (1860)

Appalachian (Late 1800s)

Cowboy (Late 1800s)

Farmer Dance (1900)

Henry Ford (1920)

Loyd Shaw Era (1940)

1950's Era

Beach (Timeless)

Upcoming Events

We will be performing at...

April 11-14, 2024

California State Convention

Santa Maria Fairpark

  • Vic Ceder (California)
  • Darren Gallina (California)
  • Eric Henerlau (California)
  • Hunter Keller (Montana)
  • Sue and Phil Harris (California)
  • Tom Hicks (California)
June 27-29, 2024

73rd National Square Dance Convention

Milwaukee, WI

July 4, 2024

Old Fashioned 4th of July

Old Poway Park

September 7, 2024

San Diego Square Dance Museum Dance

Balboa Park

October 5, 2024

Heritage Dancers Anniversary Dance

Balboa Park

December 13-14, 2024

Christmas in the Park

Old Poway Park