square dance


square dance
1. a dance by a set of four couples arranged in a square or in some set form.
2. hoedown (def. 1).
[1865-70]

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Dance for sets of four couples standing in square formation.

The most popular type of U.S. folk dance, it derived from the quadrille and was originally called a square dance to distinguish it from the contra, or longways, dance (for a double line of couples) and the round dance (for a circle of couples). The U.S. square dance progresses through specific patterns called or sung out to the dancers by a caller and accompanied by lively music played on instruments such as fiddle, banjo, accordion, guitar, and piano.

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      dance for four couples (or groups of four couples) standing in square formation, the most popular and widely known type of folk dance in the United States. It was called the square dance to distinguish it from comparable dances called the contra, or longways dance, for a double file of couples, and from the round dance for a circle of couples. Historians trace the origin of the square dance to both the Kentucky running set of English derivation and to the cotillon (cotillion), a stately French dance in square formation, popular at the court of Louis XV but supplanted later by the quadrille (also a “square” dance).

      The Americanized quadrille, or square dance, begins and progresses rapidly in well-ordered patterns within the framework of a relatively compact square, sets of four couples forming its four sides. To the traditional accompaniment of accordion, banjo, fiddle, and guitar and to prompting, patter, and singing calls made by a “caller,” couples perform a variety of movements, all based on a smooth, “shuffling” walk. (Stepwork is less important than the cooperative movement.) Formerly danced in five main figures, the contemporary square dance is composed of three.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • square dance — square dances 1) N COUNT A square dance is a traditional American dance in which sets of four couples dance together, forming a square at the beginning of the dance. 2) N COUNT A square dance is a social event where people dance square dances …   English dictionary

  • Square Dance — (homonymie) Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Square dance, dance américaine se dansant en quadrille ; Square Dance, film américain réalisé par Daniel Petrie, sorti en 1987 ;… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • square dance — n. a lively dance with various steps, figures, etc., in which the couples are grouped in a given form, as a square square dance vi. square danced, square dancing …   English World dictionary

  • square dance — [skwɛʀdɑ̃s] n. f. ÉTYM. Mil. XXe; mot angl., de square « carré », et dance « danse ». ❖ ♦ En Amérique du Nord, Danse populaire, sorte de quadrille où les danseurs effectuent des figures, au son d une musique de violon caractéristique, ponctuée… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • square dance — square′ dance n. mad a dance by a set of four couples arranged in a square • Etymology: 1865–70 square′ danc er, n. square′ danc ing, n …   From formal English to slang

  • square dance — n a type of traditional country dance in which four pairs of dancers face each other in a square, and someone calls out the movements they should do …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • square dance — square ,dance noun count a traditional dance from North America in which groups of men and women in pairs form a square while they are dancing …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • square-dance — square′ dance v. i. danced, danc•ing mad to perform or participate in a square dance • Etymology: 1955–60 …   From formal English to slang

  • square dance — ► NOUN ▪ a country dance that starts with four couples facing one another in a square, with the steps and movements shouted out by a caller …   English terms dictionary

  • Square dance — This article is about differences between two forms of square dance. For specific details on the traditional form, see Traditional square dance. For specific details on the Western form, see Modern Western square dance. For George Balanchine s… …   Wikipedia


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