Dances, depending on the place and community of origin, can serve a lot of purposes. It can be considered as an art form, a carrier of cultural significance, and a means of communication or expression. They can also be meaningful sources of entertainment during community and social gatherings, as it was during the Regency and Victorian period in England. In some communities of indigenous peoples, dances are parts of spiritual expression or accompaniment in the narration of the myths and legends. The styleand meaning of dances were changed throughout the years but one kind of dance that still holds the same meaning and purpose is Barn Dancing.
The Beginnings of Barn Dancing
Barn dancing connects the population of the American countryside and barn hoe-downs because barn dancing is originated from the courtly dances of Britain. The gentry and aristocrats performed these dances in Scotland and England during the 1800s. Barn dancing came from the peasants as they tried to imitate the dances of the upper class. They often performed and held these dances in barns and this location has resulted the title.
Barn dances were an important social event as every member of the community were invited to participate. Barn dancings were held as a way to celebrate important occasions such as weddings, birthdays, or holidays. Barn dances are also called Ceilidh in reference to its traditional Irish and Scottish roots. This style is also related to Contra dancing, Square dancing, line dancing, and the English country dance.
What is Barn Dancing?
Barn dancing is a social dance that provides an opportunity for a group, community, or family to celebrate and socialize with one another. Folk music is traditionally played to accompany dances. They are also often held in the barn, but any other place is also suitable. In barn dancing, the caller plays a vital role. Callers are sort of the leaders as they prompt the people to begin the dance. He or she begins the dance by initiating easy dance steps that everyone can follow or imitate. This role is very significant as it encourages everyone in the community to really participate in the barn dances. Barn dancing is often linked to line dancing because the latter plays a significant influence on the former. For example, the Morris Dance was a popular English dancing style during 17th century and it performed by professional dancers in two line formations.
The Significance of Barn Dancing in the United States
Barn dancing was brought across the Atlantic Ocean to America via the European immigrants who settled in the land. Barn dances were attended by large groups of people and can be quite rowdy for attendees; that is why the position of the caller was invented. The popularity of barn dancing led it to be adapted in radio format by the WLS, an AM radio station. It was started by George Hay in April 1924 who served as the host and announcer of a fiddling program.