Frazor and Rothwell: Square Dance Calling

Louis Frazor, of Shelbyville, is a second generation square dance caller, having learned the tradition from his father, Herman Douglas Frazor. Louis acquired the skills by closely listening, dancing, and imitating. He called his first dance at age 18, at Riverwood Riding Academy in Englewood, after being forced to fill in for his father, who had lost his voice. Since then, Louis has called dances for 42 years, mostly on Saturday nights, at venues including the VFWs in Gallatin and Hendersonville, Cherry Tree Orchard in Rutherford County, and the West End Roller Rink on Highway 70. As he explains: “I’ve called here, there, and everywhere.” For Frazor, it is important to preserve and reintroduce a more careful style of calling. “Square dancing is still here,” he says. “But it’s in a different form. It’s an exhibition, people going through routines in costume. Some of the old figures are still used, but there is no calling, just a shout to signal a change of figures.”

Apprentice Daniel Rothwell, Frazor says, is an exceptional choice to carry on the tradition. A national champion old time banjo player, Rothwell has spent hundreds of hours—maybe thousands—attending and playing for various dances of all kinds. Of Frazor, Rothwell says: “No other caller I have talked to has had so long a tenure or can remember all the calls and figures like he can. All of the folks who used to call in the old days in my area have directed me to Louis Frazor as the master. I am exceedingly excited to study with him.”