Swersie Norris

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Washington High (Chicago, IL) yearbook (faculty) portrait, 1978

Swersie Jane Turpin Dumetz-Norris
11 Sep 1926 - 11 Oct 2001

Clubs & Associations



Swersie has been involved with Square Dancing for over 45 years. She was the first Black female caller to be admitted into CallerLab. She is also a member of the American Callers Association. Swersie has called in many states across the country, and conducted many workshops at various state and national Square Dance conventions over the past 40 years. Swersie calls for several groups in the Chicago area including Diamond Squares and Chi-Horseshoe Squares. Her own groups include Swercee's Squares (Mainstream/Plus), SAC's (Advanced), and Friendly Squares, an exhibition group. She and her groups have appeared on the Phil Donahue Show. Common Ground, and Good Morning America. Swersie is on the staff of the Heartland weekend. She has called at Crossfire, the Chi-Town Squares fly-in, which was truly enjoyable. Swersie calls all levels from beginners to Challenge 3, to dancers who range in age from teens to senior citizens. Swersie has three daughters, three grandsons, and a wonderful husband who encourage her in her efforts lo try to be the best![1]

Quick Facts

  • the first black person to become a square dance caller at the national level
  • signature call was “When the Saints Come Marching In”
  • earned the nickname “Bubbling Brown Sugar” for her fast paced calling.
  • on the IAGSDC convention calling staff at

Media Features


The original working title for the IAGSDC History Project was "The Swersie Project", which then became "The 10-25 Project", which eventually became "IAGSDC History Project". The title came from a conversation I had with Sandie Bryant in mid-2001 about Swersie's personal history.
Allan Hurst



  1. IAGSDC Convention Program (Chicago), 1995
  2. Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL) Friday, 20 Mar 1992
  3. Square Dance History Project website : accessed 04 Mr 2023