If you’re looking for a good time, look no further than square dancing.
By definition, square dancing is “a dance for four couples who form the sides of a square.”
The dance has a long history as it can be traced back to 16th-century England, when it was first documented. While there are many various forms of the dance, it is commonly associated with folk dance.
Because of the romanticized image of the west and cowboys, it is often linked to the United States. In fact, 19 US states have designated square dancing as its official state dance. The list includes Washington, Alabama, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas.
Interestingly, many students in Texas learn how to square dance in gym class because it is so embedded in their culture.
Perhaps, after watching this video of 70 square dancing enthusiasts at the Dare To Be Square weekend at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, you might consider giving the dance a try.
The event explored various styles of square dancing including traditional and modern square dances.
In this particular video, dancers perform to “Texas Quickstep” while, fittingly, performing the Texas Star square dance.
Phil Jamison is the caller for the event and can be heard calling out the steps of the dance before the dancers do them. Clearly, this is someone who knows the dance like the back of their hand! He’s very quick to call out the steps and doesn’t miss a beat.
Dancing to a guitar, a mandolin, a banjo, and fiddles, the dancers perform the steps with smiles on their face, seemingly having a ball.
Most of the dancers are older and might have grown up with the dances. Thus, they likely have a nostalgic connection to the routines and performing them takes them back to some fond moments!
The video starts with the dancers excitedly anticipating for the music to start. Understandably, they can’t keep still and can be seen dancing in place.
When the routine begins, they start by holding hands and walking in a circle. It is an interesting formation considering they are square dancing.
Suddenly, Jamison directs them to “swing their partner high and low.” They then break off into partners and spin with energy in a dizzying circle.
Next, the four “ladies” meet in the middle and join hands before dispersing. The “gents” then meet in the middle and hold onto one another’s arms to create a “right hand star.”
As the men remain in the middle. they switch arms and are then joined by their partners.
When the men are told to release their arms from the circle, they spin in a circle with their partners who then take the men’s place in the circle.
One of the last steps is called the “rip and snort.”
Don’t worry, it isn’t as awkward as it sounds.
Here, the dancers, who are back to holding hands and walking in a circle, create an arch that other dancers walk under. It’s simple but looks like a lot of fun.
There are several steps to this square dance and it is probably confusing to read them and envision what is actually happening. But the steps repeat themselves and once you know those, you can dance for quite some time!
If you think you would be interested in learning a square dance step or two, watch the video below! You just might understand what all the fuss is about!
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