Square Dance

A square dance is a dance for four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, facing the middle of the square. Square dances were first documented in 17th century England but were also quite common in France and throughout Europe. They came to North America with the European settlers and have undergone considerable development there. In some countries and regions, through preservation and repetition, square dances have attained the status of a folk dance.

The Western American square dance may be the most widely known form worldwide except dances from China and India, possibly due to its association in the 20th century with the romanticized image of the American cowboy. Square dancing is, therefore, strongly associated with the United States of America. Nineteen US states have designated it as their official state dance.

The various square dance movements are based on the steps and figures used in traditional folk dances and social dances from many countries. Some of these traditional dances include Morris dance, English Country Dance, Caledonians and the quadrille. Square dancing is enjoyed by people around the world, and people around the world are involved in the continuing development of this form of dance.

In most American forms of square dance, the dancers are prompted or cued through a sequence of steps (square dance choreography) by a caller to the beat (and, in some traditions, the phrasing) of music. The caller may be one of the dancers or musicians, but nowadays is more likely to be on stage, giving full attention to directing the dancers.

The American folk music revival in New York City in the 1950s was rooted in the resurgent interest in square dancing and folk dancing there in the 1940s, which gave musicians such as Pete Seeger popular exposure.

Read more about Square Dance:  Main Types of Square Dances, Numbering of Couples, Comparing Square Dance Calls, Comparing Square Dance Music, Other Comparisons, Variations

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... While the standard formation for a square dance is four couples in a square, there are many variations on the theme ... These dances show some examples Ninepins a square with one extra person in the middle Winter Solstice a square with one extra couple in the middle Hexitation a square with two ... Twelve Reel a square with three people on each side, normally a man with a lady on either side of him ...

Famous quotes related to square dance:

    The square dance fiddler’s first concern is to carry a tune, but he must carry it loud enough to be heard over the noise of stamping feet, the cries of the ‘caller,’ and the shouts of the dancers. When he fiddles, he ‘fiddles all over’; feet, hands, knees, head, and eyes are all busy.
    State of Oklahoma, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)