Bob Dalsemer was born and raised in Baltimore, where he co-founded the Baltimore Folk Music Society and helped start the dance program for the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. He served as president of The Country Dance and Song Society from 1990-1996. In the early 1980's Bob became a regular dance instructor at The John C. Campbell Folk School and moved to southwestern North Carolina in 1991 to become Coordinator of Music and Dance Programs at The Folk School. In his 22 years at the school he greatly expanded the music program, instituted annual training courses for callers and dance musicians and began producing a concert series featuring many fine local and regional traditional musicians. In 2011 The Country Dance and Song Society awarded Bob its Lifetime Contribution Award.

Bob specializes in calling traditional American contra, square and circle dances. He has composed a number of new dances in traditional style and published two collections of traditional square dances ( Smoke On the Water and When The Work's All Done). Currently, the twenty square dances of the “Smoke” and “Work” recordings are available for purchase in MP3 format from Each selection includes both the called and instrumental versions as well as a .pdf with the calls and music notation.

Welcome to Bob Dalsemer’s Web Pages

Bob’s 1982 book, West Virginia Square Dances, about old time square dancing in five W.Va. communities is available, free, online.  He also enjoys teaching, calling, and dancing English country dances.

From 2000 to 2015 Bob was principal caller for the Mountain Folk Festival at Berea College in Kentucky, an annual dance weekend for middle and high school age dance groups.

He currently serves on the board of Dancing Well: The Soldier Project, a program that introduces traditional dance to veterans suffering from PTSD and their families.

In addition to calling, Bob plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin and piano accordion.

Bob retired from administrative duties at the Folk School in April, 2013. He continues a limited calling schedule, playing music, teaching occasional dance workshops and volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem (Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in Social Services custody).

In December 2020, Bob moved from Hayesville, NC to Givens Highland Farms in Black Mountain, NC.

Contact Bob:

bob at bobdalsemer dot com

Upcoming Dance Events:

November 18-20, 2022 Learn to Contra Dance - John C. Campbell Folk School

November 24-27, 2022 Bannerman Family Folk Camp - Black Mountain, NC

March 5-11, 2023 Dances and Songs of the Folk School - John C. Campbell Folk School