The square dance is a kind of dance that utilizes four couple dancing in a square formation. It originated from European settlers which developed the dance form from the popular dances of the nobility during the 16th century. Square dancing developed and evolved in America to gain the recognition of American folk dance. It is often associated with Western films and the romantic notion of American cowboys. Since square dancing has been portrayed in many mainstream movies and television shows, they have shaped the public’s perception of what the dance is. However, more than people’s stereotypical understanding of what the dance is, there is still a lot of other interesting and less known facts that could be learned about the dance associated with the American countryside.
Forms and Conventions of Square Dancing
Although the name of the dance is square dancing, and although the original style of square dancing uses strictly square formations, other forms of square dancing have emerged due to various reasons. For example, in towns located in the territories of the Appalachian mountains, square dancing makes use of circular formations to make room for many couples in small venues. The Circle Dance version also often use the Right and Left Grand moves in continually switching partners – making it a nice icebreaker for community dances where guests or visitors are present. Other than the traditional community square dances, National Square Dance Conventions have been organized annually as well. It was first held in 1952 and is now on its way to its 67th year. The convention is open to all square dancers and gives an opportunity to showcase modern versions of square dancing.
No Dress Codes and Friendly to Beginners
Unlike popular belief that square dancers have to wear cowboy outfits and vintage dresses, there is actually no dress code needed when it comes to square dancing. In modern societies where square dancing is still a community practice, anyone can join the dance regardless of what they are wearing. There no cowboy hats or boots, petticoats, and checked shirts required. Square dancing, in comparison to other dance forms like ballroom dancing, is more forgiving. It means that fellow dancers will absolutely not fault beginners for making mistakes or not knowing how to dance correctly. In fact, in square dancing, there is someone called the caller. His or her’s job is to welcome new dancers, explain how the dance steps are done, and make sure that everyone is comfortable and having fun.
Square Dancing for Everyone, Everywhere
Square dancing, contrary to popular belief, is held in a lot of places nowadays and not just in the idyllic countryside. Square dances can actually be found all over the United States in different styles and forms like that of the traditional scene in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Carcassone dance, a historic variant from Kentucky. Square dances are not just found everywhere; they are for everyone. Even from the very beginnings of this American folk dance, the square dance is one that includes all peoples from all backgrounds regardless of race and social class. This is quite similar to the traditions being upheld by other country traditions like folk and bluegrass music. With regards to music, square dancing is not only for dancers but for musicians as well. The dances serve as a venue for country musicians to showcase their musical talents. Although, at present, more and more types of music is being used already for square dancing like modern pop, disco, and techno music.