NATIONAL SQUARE DANCE MONTH
Swing your partner and dosey-do, don’t let go. September is National Square Dance Month, here we go!
Square dancing was first documented in 16th-century England, but familiar in France and throughout Europe, too. As European immigrants settled in North America, they brought the dance with them. In the early years of the country, there was mixing of dancing styles between black and white people. The stereotype many Americans have of square dancing as an activity for old white people is a misjudgment. Early forms of square dancing actually have roots in the African-American slave communities.
The Western American square dance may be the most widely known form worldwide, possibly due to its association in the 20th century with the romanticized image of the American cowboy. Square dancing is, therefore, strongly associated with the U.S. Nineteen U.S. states have designated it as their official state dance. Though square dancing has undergone considerable development since then, many countries and regions have attained the status of square dancing as a folk dance.
GRAB A PARTNER
The art of square dancing requires a few standard requirements, beginning with dancers. Four couples, eight dancers total, arranged in a square, with one pair on each side facing the middle of the square. Women are positioned to the left of the men, known as the corner. The dance moves counterclockwise in a circular flow. The handhold is when one dancer’s hand comes together with the other dancer’s hand. When the grasp is broken, the handhold is over. To Allemande left means to hold left hands and walk around each other, then return to their original position. The Ladies Chain is when the ladies are singled out to walk towards each other and hold right hands. While walking through, they drop hands and give the left hands to each others’ partner.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Participating in a local square dance club is also a great way to get involved in the community and make life-long friends. Joining a square dance class is the best way to learn how to swing your partner and dosey-do!
Use #NationalSquareDanceMonth in social media.
While we were unable to identify the source of National Square Dance Month, in the early 1970s, efforts were being made for a Congressional resolution for September to be declared as National Square Dancing Month. No evidence has been found at this time that a decision, joint or otherwise, was made.