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 specialized 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

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.

Bob retired from administrative duties at the Folk School in April, 2013. In December 2020, he moved from Hayesville, NC to Givens Highland Farms in Black Mountain, NC.  He has been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable progressive disease that afftects the lungs. Although he continues to play old time fiddle and guitar at local jam sessions, he has retired from calling.

Contact Bob:

bob at bobdalsemer dot com