Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Western - Square Dancing

Do you remember square dancing in a P.E. class? Or did your parents go to weekly square dance classes? However you've heard about square dancing did you know it is one of the first American dances?

Square dancing is a combination of English line dancing, French quadrilles and cotillions performed in squares. After the French aided America with the Revolution they left behind the French dances and rural America began fashioning them to fit their more robust way of dancing than the city folk.

As people moved west the square dance went with them and American songs sprung up like "The Arkansas Traveler" and "Turkey in the Straw". The fiddle music became lively and the fiddler began to call out the steps using the French names, allmande, chassez, and dos-a-dos along with "swing in the center, break that pair. Lady goes on and the gent stays there."

Today there is traditional and modern square dancing. Traditional is any dance that was before 1950 and has a limited number of basic movements and the caller has set calls. Modern  or Western square dance the caller is allowed to change up the calls stringing them together in any sequence he chooses.

Have you ever square danced? The only time I have was in P.E. but my parents belonged to a square dance club years ago.

Source: Reader's Digest, Discovering America's Past and The history of Square Dance
Photo: Wikipedia

10 comments:

Cheri Clifton said...

Enjoyed reading the post, Paty! Hubby & I used to square dance alot - Lotsa fun and great exercise!

Paty Jager said...

Cheri, I wish I could get my hubby to square dance, but he's just not into music and dancing. We are complete opposites about that. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Square dancing is still big in Texas. A group meets at our church once a month - or it may be more often. My husband has two left feet so we never danced. Now I'm in that stupid foot/ankle brace forever, so I don't dance either. I would love to try, though, if my husband would. I think he could square dance because you don't have to watch your partner's toes and it's not as much about the beat as the movements.

Lyn Horner said...

Fun post, Paty. I haven't square danced since PE class, but I love watching it. It's such an American tradition. I knew it stemmed from English, Irish and Scottish folk dances but I had no idea the French also influenced our dances. Thanks for telling us about that.

Paty Jager said...

Caroline, I imagine it is still big in Texas. Thanks for stopping in!

Hi Lyn, The swirl of the skirts and the way the man handles the woman is a fun sight. You're welcome!

Celia Yeary said...

My husband and I took lessons and joined a square dance club when we retired. We had more fun during the classes, the learning process. When we began dressing up and traveling out of town, it became tiresome and we quit. It was fun--mainly because I like to be with people. But all in all, we are really not square dance types.

Paty Jager said...

Celia, It looks like fun, but I'd get weary of all the people. Yes, I am a hermit.

Robin Weaver said...

Interesting blog, Paty. During a trip to the Little Switzerland (in the Blue Ridge Mountains), my friends "dragged" me to a square dance at a local lodge. Was great fun (the people watching more than the dancing..lol).

Linda Mercury said...

I remember square dancing in PE class. I always ended up dancing the boy part, so I can't partner dance worth a damn. :)

Paty Jager said...

Robin, That would be fun to watch the people at a square dance. I'm a people watcher, like most writers, so it would be very worthwhile.

Linda, You must have been tall.It seemed like they always made the tall girls do the boy part if there have more girls than boys.