Le Square Dancing (Country)

It’s been years since I’ve seen or even thought about square dancing, although I do love to dance.  So,  I was very curious to see a local town’s square dance demonstation, fully aware that country dancing is very popular in France.

The first thing I noticed was that the dancers were all ages, not just middle-aged, making up about 8-10 foursomes. And, the caller sang all the group dance moves and was decidedly did not a French accent. As I listened to calls of “promenade,” “a la main left” and “dos-a-dos” I became even more curious about the history and “language” of square dancing – maybe it is French after all!

A square dance is a dance for four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, facing the middle of the square. Square dances were first documented in 17th century England but were also quite common in France and throughout Europe. They came to North America with the European settlers and have undergone considerable development there. In some countries and regions, through preservation and repetition, square dances have attained the status of a folk dance.

The Western American square dance may be the most widely known form worldwide except dances from China and India, 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 United States of America. Nineteen US states have designated it as their official state dance.

Calls/Language:  From Allemande German, originally from Latin allemanus, + Left NOT “a la main” (so much for that theory!)

Are there any other differences in the videos – French vs. American square dancing?

AMERICAN:

FRENCH:

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16 thoughts on “Le Square Dancing (Country)

  1. Kate says:

    Kim, I love square dancing- although it’s hard for me because I still don’t know my left from my right!

  2. That would pose a problem 🙂 – thanks, Kate, for commenting.

  3. Beautiful pictures, and square dancing looks like a lot of fun. Enjoy.

  4. Thanks – a good idea! I hadn’t thought of doing that. Enjoy your day and thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. john says:

    Interesting , thanks Kim, I remember going to n
    ear Hickory, NC to a barn dance hall on a farm that had “clogging” dancing on a regular basis. Not dis similar to square dancing. did you ever go there? John

  6. Thanks, John – no, can’t say that I ever made it to Hickory while living in NC – sounds equally interesting.

  7. cteachr says:

    We went to a Bush Dance in Bendigo, Australia that was similar to square dancing as well. They call out the moves too. I didn’t sit down one minute the whole evening and was in awe of the older folks who had such stamina. We danced for over 2 hours, then there was a break for “dinner” (their version of a potluck evening snack. More dancing continued after that but we left, exhausted, before it resumed. Details on my blog if you are inclined – http://feb122010.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/what-weve-been-up-to-since-our-holidays/

  8. That certainly sounds like great fun! I’ll be more than happy to check out your blog article – thanks for sharing.

  9. colormusing says:

    I’ve done square dancing exactly one time, and must say I enjoyed it much more than I expected to, and would do it again– especially if I was in France!

  10. It is surprising how much fun it actually can be – thanks for commenting.

  11. adinparadise says:

    I love to watch square dancing and even tried it once. It was a lot of fun even though I wasn’t very competent. 🙂

  12. So interesting! I love square dancing, and it is always fascinating to see how cultural “standbys” of one country are translated to another.

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