Mark Geslison & Geoff Groberg

acoustic hymns and traditional music

Hoedown/Pioneer Trek Music and Dance Instruction – Free Download

Here are half a dozen tunes that you can use if you want to have a hoedown, barn dance, or pioneer trek dance. These are traditional tunes meant for dancing. We are fortunate to have Jeanette Geslison, Mark’s wife, teaching these dances. Jeanette directs the International BYU Folk Dance Ensemble.

Watch the videos to learn how to teach and call the dances. Then download the dance instructions and music, and have a hoedown!


Heel Toe Polka

Dance Instructions (word .doc):
Heel Toe Polka

Sheet Music (.pdf files):
Cotton-eyed Joe Violin 1
Cotton-eyed Joe Violin 2

MP3 file:
Heel Toe Polka (Cotton Eyed Joe)

Virginia Reel

Dance Instructions (word .doc):
Virginia Reel

Sheet Music (.pdf files):
Irish Washerwoman Violin
Swallowtail Jig violin

MP3 file:
Virginia Reel

Oh, Johnny Oh

Dance Instructions (word .doc):
Oh, Johnny Oh

Sheet Music (.pdf files):
Oh Johnny Oh Violin
Oh Johnny Oh Lyric

MP3 file:
Oh, Johnny Oh

Cumberland Squares

Dance Instructions (word .doc):
Cumberland Squares

Sheet Music (.pdf files):
Cumberland Hornpipe Violin 1 and 2
Cumberland Jig Violin

MP3 file:
Cumberland Squares

Oh Susanna

Dance Instructions (word .doc):
Oh Susanna

Sheet Music (.pdf files):
Oh Susanna Violin 1
Oh Susanna Violin 2
Oh Susanna Lyrics

MP3 files:
Oh Susanna – with singing
Oh Susanna – instrumental only


  1. THANKS!!!

    Comment by Karen on July 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm

  2. Jeanette, Thank you for sharing your talents with us. I was asked to teach the youth of our stake square dancing for our trek. It was a short and quick calling, for I only had a week to learn and teach. I am so thankful that your video and instructions were still posted. You help ease me into something that seemed impossible. Thanks again for all of your hard work you put into sharing the videos, instructions. and music. And, a big shout out to the youth that were willing to participate in sharing there talents as well. ONWARD HO!!!!!

    Comment by Lynnette Rackham on June 19, 2015 at 6:03 am

  3. thanks 🙂 what a blessing, I’m very excited to be using these for a barn dance night! thankyou!

    Comment by Rachel Hill on August 30, 2011 at 11:21 am

  4. Could you make the sheet music to the above available?  Especially would like a copy of the Heel Toe Polka (cotton eyed joe)  I learned to call it from your video….thanks

    Comment by Gary on October 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm

  5. Thanks – A BIIIIG thank you from a South African barn dancing fan 🙂

    Comment by Teper on October 28, 2011 at 5:59 am

  6. thank you so much! We LOVE to dance like this and appreciate your efforts and for sharing. Thank you!

    Comment by Jill on November 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm

  7. Thank you so much for sharing these music downloads!  I can’t wait to teach them to my classes!  

    Comment by Diane on April 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm

  8. You’re welcome!

    Geoff Groberg
    Sent with Sparrow (

    Comment by Geoff Groberg on April 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

  9. Thank you so much. We’re dancing it in Brazil.

    Comment by Marinecorrea on June 30, 2012 at 8:46 am

  10. You’re welcome. Brazilian barn dancing. Awesome!

    Comment by Geoff Groberg on June 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

  11. Hey Mark and Jeanette —my folk dance friends from long ago!!!!  I can’t thank you enough for providing this amazing website!  My husband and I are ma and pa for an upcoming trek and we are also in charge of the hoedown.  This website was awesome to be able to print the dance briefs and download the music–plus video instruction!  Great job everyone and thank you again SO much!!  You guys are amazing!

    Comment by Tamara C. on July 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

  12. thank you very much. I like all dances and appreciate you give music. thak you

    Comment by Vanchatou on August 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

  13. We all agree!  Nice stuff. Very kind of you, thanks !!

    Comment by Clancy Peter on September 24, 2012 at 2:09 am

  14. Thank You from germany – munich! Exactly we were looking for!

    Comment by Massachusetts Dancers on November 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm

  15. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this music and instruction to download! I am in Switzerland and was asked to plan an “American night” for a church youth event. I’ve done this kind of dancing before in the States but was at a loss as to how to teach them. This is absolutely perfect! I love your traditional music CD as well and will look for it on ITunes. Thanks and God Bless!

    Comment by Jenny on January 14, 2013 at 12:44 am

  16. On my screen there is a blackish band on the right hand side that makes reading this page difficult. I have my zoom setting higher than normal for ease of reading, so this is why it is a problem. The black band stops at the comments section.

    Comment by Alan on January 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm

  17. Hmm. Which platform and browser are you using?

    Comment by Geoff Groberg on January 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm

  18. Just found this, have downloaded music and scripts, thank you, very much appreciated.

    Comment by Jill Harris on January 29, 2013 at 8:13 am

  19. I’m planning an hoedown this spring, and I am so excited to have these dances for it. Thank you so much!

    Comment by Guest on February 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

  20. I’m planning a hoedown this spring, and I am so excited to have these dances for it. Thank you so much!!

    Comment by Emma on February 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

  21. Thank you so much xxx

    Comment by Claire on February 26, 2013 at 4:47 am

  22. Thank you so much!! I love all the dances, but I cannot open it after I download the music as .mp3 file. 🙁

    Comment by Lexi on March 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm

  23. after watching your video we made Virginia Reel, here is our video demonstration at a thank you cordially for music
    From France

    Comment by JC Yveline TheTwo on June 10, 2013 at 10:36 am

  24. Fantastic!

    Comment by Geoff Groberg on June 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm

  25. Thank you, thank you! We were asked to teach the Virginia Reel, which we did not know, at our upcoming Youth Conference trek. Then, three days before the trek, we find out we are in charge of the entire 1 1/2 hour dance time, music and all! Ack! With your great instructions and fun dances and FREE music, we feel like it will be fun instead of stressful. Thanks again!!

    Comment by Debbie on June 10, 2013 at 11:06 pm

  26. I loved them all, We done the Oh Susanna last night at our Clogging practice the kids loved it. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Comment by Penny Sloan on June 19, 2013 at 7:27 am

  27. superb. Thank you for putting this up

    Comment by London on August 13, 2013 at 10:43 am

  28. We’re having a barn dance and this is so helpful. Thanks for your generosity in sharing the music and instruction.
    From Canberra Australia

    Comment by Rebecca on August 18, 2013 at 6:08 am

  29. Thanks. Helped me for a school project!

    Comment by Lammy on August 23, 2013 at 2:44 am

  30. Thank you very much for these ressources ! Will dance it in France !

    Comment by Emilie Vigié on November 12, 2013 at 8:14 am

  31. cool ur from france

    Comment by Hahodi D on March 3, 2014 at 9:20 am

  32. Thank you for this!! It’s going to be so much fun and I’m grateful that this is so easily available for our youth!

    Comment by Arwen on January 9, 2014 at 7:04 pm

  33. So happy to have come across this site! I just did a dance for some youth last night, but didn’t have the calls for Oh Johnny Oh on my music…my voice was giving out…so went looking for the music with calls and found this!! What a treasure! Now we will have to do it all again with some new dances to try! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Comment by Kathy on January 22, 2014 at 9:34 am

  34. Thank you for making this free! I am really excited to dance to this music!

    Comment by Amy Nightflyer on April 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm

  35. Could you add the history for each of these dances/songs? We are going on trek and trying to teach the history of things as much as possible while we have fun so it’s not all just fun and games. Thanks I tried in particular to look up the history of Oh Johnny and couldn’t find anything.

    Comment by Erika Douglas on May 16, 2014 at 5:41 am

  36. What you have called “Heel and Toe Polka” is also known as the Patty Cake Polka. See It’s also done to the Jenny Lind Polka from 1844, a piece of music equally contemporary with the original handcart trek era.

    Comment by Tom on June 14, 2014 at 5:59 pm

  37. @Erica Douglas, the history is easy enough to find.,_Oh_Johnny,_Oh!

    Comment by Tom on June 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm

  38. This is the best thing ever! Thank you so much for doing this, I love it!;]

    Comment by Shiloh on June 21, 2014 at 7:03 pm

  39. I’m so excited to find this site ! Exactly what we needed for our ward Ho Down here in Brisbane Australia! Thankyou for sharing.

    Comment by Nikki on July 6, 2014 at 4:18 am

  40. This is great! I’ve been a square dance caller since the mid-70’s and I’m always glad to find new dances and new material. I mostly call Modern Western Style Square Dancing but I love the traditional dance routines for use at fun nights and for square dance parties. I have a question about your use of “top couples”. I’ve always heard it as head couples and side couples. Is the term “top couples” something that you coined? Or is this a term that’s common and prevalent in traditional dance or possibly in your area?
    Also, since you offer the music as Free Music Download, can you tell me if there are any restrictions in use of this music?
    Thank you so much for sharing. If you have any other dances or music, I’d love to hear about it.
    Garland Smith

    Comment by Garland Smith on July 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm

  41. This awesome! I do folk dancing with my elementary students and am happy to find some new music. We do the heel toe polka a little differently as the “Patty-cake Polka,” but I want to try it your way when I lead an adult dance next month.

    Comment by Meg on October 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm

  42. Does anyone know of any other songs that would go well with the Virginia Reel? We are doing this in a play, and want another song.

    Comment by Faith on October 21, 2014 at 10:58 am

  43. I volunteered to teach American folk dances at our Thanksgiving community celebration. This is perfect for learning the dances and then playing the music which goes with them. Thank you so much! Let’s make folk dances a tradition for Thanksgiving and Fourth of July Independence Day.

    Comment by guest on November 27, 2014 at 4:46 am

  44. You guys are my hero’s! We have done a couple of parties for friends and attempted barn dancing….. Your music and videos and going make our lives so much easier, and give us lots of fun. Thank you so much! X

    Comment by Happy hippo from England on December 19, 2014 at 12:36 pm

  45. A million “thank yous” for this site. Our stake activity is saved! 😉

    Comment by HRK on March 13, 2015 at 7:02 am

  46. Jeanette, You rocked as a partner 20 umm years ago, and now you saved my bacon as I have to teach YM/YW for a trek. Thanks again!

    Comment by Craig on March 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm

  47. This is amazing! So helpful, and especially having the music available, as I could not find the same nice-sounding versions anywhere to buy myself.
    Thanks very much!

    Comment by Nat on April 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

  48. Thanks so much, Jeanette and Mark! The youth of the Lincoln Nebraska Stake love this!

    Comment by Rachel Terry on July 16, 2015 at 10:14 am

  49. I LOVE this !!!! im going to my first hoedown in Texas and I know how to do the heel toe polka. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. amazing and wonderful.

    Comment by Socoya on July 27, 2015 at 10:51 am

  50. Thank you. This is a great resource!

    Comment by me1248 on October 8, 2015 at 1:58 pm

  51. We have just had a
    really successful Barn Dance party for my wife’s 80th, in spite of the fact that I had very little experience of barn dances, zero experience of calling, and actually have very little understanding of rhythm. However, I thought: I have learned an unwritten language, so I can learn how to call some Barn Dances. After much desperation, I came across your website, which really “saved my bacon” as we say in England; and after watching your videos, and downloading the music, I was confident enough to go ahead with it all. (5 dances) I can’t say everything went entirely accurately (!) but I never got totally lost, the chaos was relatively minimal and everyone had a marvellous
    time. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your skill with beginners like me!

    Comment by Peter Kingston on December 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

  52. Thanks you so much for providing this! When I was small, my father was a square dance caller, and I remember him practicing at home. I never thought I’d be asked to help with a trek. You are enabling us to succeed. I’m sure our youth will love these dances – Thank you!

    Comment by Marcellus Carl Harper on February 6, 2016 at 8:18 pm

  53. Thank you so much! I’d love to learn it with my students!

    Comment by Aigul on May 15, 2016 at 12:23 pm

  54. Thank you for making this available.

    Comment by RayCee on June 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm

  55. when i was young about 15 yrs here in Guadalajara mexico was a couple from Texas and in the institute of the consulate of USA all saturdays have a county music and polkas dance i was very happy dancing and metting a lot of friends but what i love more was the music i find ur page and great remembers com to me tank you so much

    Comment by sergio chavez on September 15, 2016 at 8:51 pm

  56. thank you so much! we are going to use the Virginia reel dance in our group!

    Comment by lisa on December 23, 2016 at 6:31 am

  57. THANKYOU! This is so helpful! Wow! We used your dances for a Pioneer Trek and now for a youth temple trip to Nauvoo! I just love that you share how to teach these dances, how to call them, and even the music! Ya’ll are awesome!

    Comment by Martha on February 20, 2017 at 5:40 am

  58. Thank you! This is a great resource, with excellent teaching. I am a fiddler and square dance caller in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. About three years ago, I had the pleasure of calling a barn dance for a local Pioneer Trek.

    Comment by Barrie McCombs on June 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm

  59. Thanks Mark and Geoff! I just used your music to teach some happy people down here in South Florida! You guys are the best!

    Comment by Sam Alva on November 4, 2017 at 8:06 pm

  60. This is such a great resource, thank you! I love the music!

    Comment by Marsha LaFroth on February 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

  61. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for making these resources available!

    Comment by Rachel Marie Kimball on April 20, 2018 at 11:31 am

  62. I am using these dances in a large community event. These dances are going to bring lots of people together. Thank You!

    Comment by Stephanie on July 16, 2018 at 10:05 pm

  63. Thank you so much! This is such a great website that I have used to share with many 4th grade teachers to use as a resource as they teach Utah History and the Utah Fine Arts Dance Core!

    Comment by Holly Markgraf Mayne on January 14, 2019 at 1:25 am

  64. As a public school music teacher I have come to depend on this website when teaching my square dancing unit during our texas rodeo seaon of Februrary. When I introduce a new dance it is nice for the students to breifly reference the videos to see how a part of the dance is done. The Music recordings are awesome…long lasting and that enables me to let everyone have a turn before restarting the songs. The arrangements and quality of musicians is stellar!

    Comment by linda thrower on January 30, 2019 at 9:02 pm

  65. Hello from Russia! I’ts amazing! I feel spirit of american West and midle West 🙂 Best musical performance ever! Thanks for free tracks downloading!

    Comment by Mikhail Miroshnichenko on February 7, 2019 at 4:25 pm

  66. Thank you for the great videos and all the resources! Incorporating these into the Celtic Ball I help lead as well as smaller dances.

    Comment by Josiah Moore on March 4, 2019 at 1:45 am

  67. Thank you for these great resources! I’m teaching a DUP (daughters of the Utah Pioneers) lesson for my moms camp on pioneer dancing this week! I’m incorporating Oh Susanna and The Heel Toe Polka!

    Comment by Rochelle Crane on March 11, 2019 at 3:16 am

  68. Another grateful “HoeDown” caller recruit, who thankfully found your dances. About 100 people will share that gratitude tonight when they’re having a great time as I call your dances. We’ll do four of yours and a set of Appalachian Big Circle figures from another source. Yours will unquestionably be the most fun. We’ll get them all worn out and hungry for refreshments. Many, many THANKS!

    Comment by Ross G Johnson on May 22, 2019 at 2:57 pm

  69. Thank you very much! I was able to use three of these for a team building event with people who had never danced before. We have team building events every year, but this one was unanimously hailed as the best ever.

    Comment by Joe Ross on May 26, 2019 at 9:32 pm

  70. I just taught three of theses dances to 100 youth last night and it went amazingly well. Thank you so much for showing me how to do it with your excellent videos and the fantastic music you created and shared for no cost. Wow!! What a service to us all! Thank you again. In this virtual world the youth live in, these dances provided a much needed opportunity to physically connect with their friends and others they never knew before the dance!

    Comment by Dawn Thompson on May 30, 2019 at 4:44 pm

  71. Just wanted to tell you Jeanette how well the ‘Heel Toe Polka’ has gone at our dance here in England. We do a lot of sequence dancing which is very popular but the ‘polka’ has taken centre stage at our venue. Sometimes I can’t hear a thing over people laughing and enjoying themselves with this dance. We have a lady, 92 years young, who is first on the floor and with a slight modification to the ‘skip’ at the start, her dancing of the polka is an inspiration to us all.

    Comment by Hugh Hunter on June 27, 2019 at 8:38 pm

  72. Thank you so much for posting these instructions and songs (free of charge). I learned these and with your instructions, I was able to teach several of these dances for our family reunion. The teenagers all had a great time. I was very grateful for your help.

    Comment by Julane on July 15, 2019 at 5:18 pm

  73. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Family Reunion here we come! My daughter recently learned Swallowtail Jig. She was SO excited to hear it used here. I love this moment to connect her learning to the wider world and show her how her efforts can be used to bless and play!

    Comment by Marie on July 15, 2019 at 8:25 pm

  74. You folks are amazing – start to finish! All the things I wish to say are said above. Just know this…you are a blessing far than you’ll ever know!

    Comment by Michele Bayko on September 19, 2019 at 3:05 pm

  75. Hello from sunny South Africa!
    Thanks so much for providing these resources 🙂

    I am throwing a barn dance for my birthday and these are a tremendous help!

    Comment by Chrisna on December 15, 2019 at 9:46 am

  76. Teaching my High School PE class. Can’t wait. Excellent job on the tutorial! Thank you!

    Comment by April on March 2, 2020 at 1:51 am

  77. Thank you very much. This calls for a barn dance evening during our weekly country dance practice once the COVID-19 lockdowns here in Germany are over.

    Comment by Marion Schroeder on March 31, 2020 at 5:37 pm

  78. This has been an AWESOME activity during quarantine!!! Excellent resource!

    Comment by Sara on May 2, 2020 at 3:54 pm

  79. HOW very generous of you to share such great songs,feel-good dances and instruction etc… I shall certainly incorporate into my PE classes. So appreciated!

    Comment by Ellen McGehee on July 9, 2020 at 1:26 pm

  80. Thank you very much! These resources are so helpful! 🙂

    Comment by Miriam on September 25, 2020 at 10:00 pm

  81. Thank you for the music and teaching instructions for all the songs above. I am a Square Dance Caller in Australia who uses mixes in my programme and I know my dancers will enjoy these. Thank you for your time and effort in putting this together

    Comment by Sid on April 25, 2021 at 1:38 am

  82. I’ve taught these dances at a private, classical school in NW Louisiana since the fall of 2017. The videos, tutorials, and (FREE!) music downloads have been an excellent resource for me. The children love the dances, even the ones who pretend they don’t. 😜 Thank you so much!

    Comment by Kim Hill on April 26, 2021 at 2:05 pm

  83. I was glad to find these, today! I plan to teach the virginia reel and susanna on trek this summer, and having the webpage here will be super helpful for youth who want to look back or learn more.

    Comment by Alysa Stewart on June 2, 2021 at 7:34 pm

  84. Thanks for making your materials available. The teaching is orderly and clear, and all the dances are effectively demonstrated. It’s really helpful!

    Comment by Bill Jolliff on June 12, 2021 at 9:09 pm

  85. I’m so grateful for all the work you did to create these files for us. You have made it possible for our church youth to have a fun experience with these simple dances. Your cue sheets, videos and music have been invaluable. The youth have put their phones down and are interacting with each other in this very fun way. Thank you!

    Comment by Dawn Thompson on November 13, 2022 at 3:57 pm

  86. Lovely videos, and generous instructions to begin with. Blessing on you and yours.

    Comment by Paulette on March 13, 2023 at 6:49 pm

  87. Thank you a million times from all trek leaders all over the world! One less thing to worry about. Everything is right here and so convenient . Simple and fun dances! A great resource
    and so grateful I found this!

    Comment by Jacki Smith on March 20, 2023 at 2:53 am

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