Square Dancing for Everyone

Donn Thomson

Callerlab Member

Square Dancing History & Heritage

Square Dancing is truly an American descendant. It's ancestors immigrated from nearly every corner of the globe, but predominantly from England and France. Once established on this continent, it grew and changed into slightly varying forms reflecting both its cultural heritage and region of homestead. Some of the various forms are Traditional New England Country Dances, Cowboy and Modern Western Squares, Appalachian Mountain Dance, and the Contra Dance influenced sets.

Herb Egender, a highly esteemed Square Dance caller from Colorado, wrote a concise historical account of the origins of the dance form titled A Brief History of Square and Round Dancing. It is excellent.

The primary and early contributors to the dance were from central Europe, but additional influences were felt as time passed. Today, Square Dancing contains steps and nuances that can be traced to many International Folk Dances. The dance form has grown and evolved drastically over its lifetime.

Square Dancing's ancestors (the Quadrille, Contra Dance, and English Country Dance) immigrated to colonial America. The dances were simple and memorized. In contrast, today's dances are prompted or called primarily because the entire dance community has supported a move toward creativity and spontaneity. It is precisely those traits that have created a unique dance form, a bit of modern artistry, and a recreation that is as therapeutic as it is entertaining. This emergence took decades and the evolution continues to this day.

www.lloydshaw.org - The Lloyd Shaw foundation. Traditional dance information.

© 2009 Donn Thomson, all rights reserved. Website designed and maintained by dathomson. Last update: 04/07/09. Off your seat & on your feet!
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