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Looking for General Information about Square Dance ?
Looking for Official Definitions of Square Dance Movements?
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A Little Bit Of History
Square dance is a dance for 4 couples (or groups of 4 couples) standing in square formation, the most popular and widely known type of folk dance in the USA. It was called the square dance to distinguish it from comparable dances called the contra, or longways dance, for a double file of couples, and from the round dance for a circle of couples.
Historians trace the origin of the square dance to both the Kentucky running set of English derivation and to the cotillon, a stately French dance in square formation, popular at the court of Louis XV but supplanted later by the quadrille (also a "square" dance).
The Modern American Square Dance, doesn't have much in common with the "traditional" square dance which was danced 200 years ago. However, it is still danced in sets of 4 couples. and there is still a "caller" who makes "calls" which the dancers have to follow. When the old square dance only had 3 or 5 main figures, the modern square dance has many more, with an almost infinite number of combinations. The traditional accompaniment of accordion, banjo and fiddle was replaced by modern (country-) music, played on various music equipment or on the computer.
The dance step is a smooth "shuffling" walk. So one need not be a "real dancer" to participate at the square dance.
The Modern American square dance can be danced in many countries all over the world. The patterns are teached and called in English, so that, wherever you go dancing, you can understand the calls.
Let's all join hands in friendship,
For everyone to see.
Remember that a stranger,
Is just a friend to be.
Hold fast our hands in friendship,
For many years to come.
Will always bring
Good fun for everyone.