In Colorado, it was Fred and Bonnie Hilt who headed the campaign to designate the square dance the American folk dance of the state.
In the Colorado General Assembly, it was State Representative Roland Dean "Bud" Moellenberg who introduced and carried House Bill No. 1058 through the Colorado House of Representatives. In the Senate, Senator Joan Johnson did the honors.
Square dancing was designated as Colorado's official folk dance when Governor Roy Romer signed House Bill No. 1058 on March 16, 1992.
Modern western square dance clubs across the country have collaborated to have the square dance declared the state folk dance in all fifty states. The main purpose of the state level campaigns is to build leverage for future attempts to make the square dance the national folk dance of the United States of America. There is some controversy over their efforts, which can be read about in this brief article.
The square dance is a popular type of folk dance in the United States. This dance for four couples, or groups of four couples, is performed in a compact framework of a square, each couple forming a side. Traditionally accompanied by a fiddle, accordion, banjo and guitar, the couples perform a variety of movements prompted by the patter or singing calls (instruction) of a "caller". Cooperative movement is the hallmark of well-executed square dancing.
Square dancing is to be distinguished from related dances called contra or longways dance where couples stand double file in a line and from round dances where couples stand in a circle. The origin of the square dance can be traced to English derivation and to the stately French cotillion performed in square formation that was popular at the court of Louis the fifteenth later replace by the quadrille (another square dance).
GOVERNMENT - STATE
HOUSE BILL 92-1058
BY REPRESENTATIVE Moellenberg:
also SENATOR J. Johnson
CONCERNING THE DESIGNATION OF THE SQUARE DANCE AS THE STATE FOLK DANCE OF COLORADO.
Be is enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
Section 1. Legislative declaration. (1) The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that:
(a) The square dance, which was first associated with the American people and regarded in history since 1651, consistently had been the one dance traditionally recognized by the American people as a dignified and enjoyable expression of American folk dancing;
(b) Square dancing is a traditional form of family recreation which symbolizes a basic strength of this country, namely the unity of the family;
(c) Square dancing is a joyful expression of the vibrant spirit of the people of the United States, and the American people value the display of etiquette among men and women, which is a major element of square dancing; and
(d) It is fitting that the square dance be added to the array of symbols of our state character and pride.
Section 2. Part 9 of article 80 of title 24, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1988 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended BY THE ADDTION OF A NEW SECTION to read
24-80-909.5. State folk dance. SQUARE DANCING, THE AMERICAN FOLK DANCE WHICH TRACES ITS ANCESTRY TO THE ENGLISCH COUNTRY DAND AND THE FRENCH BALLROOM DANCE, AND WHICH IS CALLED, CUED, OR PROMPTED TO THE DANCERS, AND INCLUDES SQUARES, ROUNDS, CLOGGING, CONTRA, LINE, THE VIRGINIA REEL, AND HERITAGE DANCES IS HEREBY MADE AND DECLARED TO BE THE STATE FOLK DANCE OF THE STATE OF COLORADO.
Section 3. Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.
Capital letters indicate new material added to existing statutes; dashes through the words indicate deletions from existing statutes and such material not part of the act.
Approved: March 16, 1992
This is what the Colorado State Archives has to say about the state's official folk dance:
The Square Dancing was adopted as the official state folk dance on March 16, 1992 by an act of the General Assembly. Square dancing is the American folk dance which traces its ancestry to the English country dance and the French ballroom dance, and which is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, the Virginia Reel, and heritage dances.
Citation: House Bill 1058, 1992; Colorado Revised Statute 24-80-909.5.
("Colorado State Archives", 2016)
The following information was excerpted from the STATUTES, Title 99, Chapter 99, Section 99.
TITLE 24. GOVERNMENT - STATE
ARTICLE 80. STATE HISTORY, ARCHIVES, AND EMBLEMS
PART 9. STATE EMBLEMS AND SYMBOLS
24-80-909.5. State folk dance. Square dancing, the American folk dance which traces its ancestry to the English country dance and the French ballroom dance, and which is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, the Virginia reel, and heritage dances, is hereby made and declared to be the state folk dance of the state of Colorado.
Source:L. 92: Entire section added, p. 1072, § 2, effective March 16.
Cross references: For the legislative declaration contained in the 1992 act enacting this section, see section 1 of chapter 158, Session Laws of Colorado 1992.
"1992 Chapter 158." William A. Wise Law Library. University of Colorado, Boulder. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
"Moellenberg Sponsored Bills Advance in Session." Haxton Herold 20 Feb. 1992: 4. Print.
"Section 24-80-909.5. State Folk Dance." Colorado Revised Statutes. Colorado General Assembly. Web. 16 Jan. 2005.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.
"State Folk Dance." Colorado State Archives. Colorado State Archives. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.
"Thirteenth State Folk Dance." American Square Dance May 1991: 62. Print.
Square Dancing 101: Square dancing basic including positions, formations, moves, and a glossary.
Video Square Dance Lessons Online: Video Square Dance Lessons Online and on DVD from Cyberpoint Marketing, LLC.
A Brief History of Square and Round Dancing: by Herb Egender.
Square Dancing: The Historical Geography of an American Folk Custom: by Richard M. MacKinnon, Allan Hancock College, Santa Maria, California.
Square Dance History Project: Website devoted to the documenting the history of square dancing with historical documents and an emphasis on imagery as much as possible.
History and Heritage of Modern American Square Dancing: A summary of the essays by Dorothy Shaw, Bob Osgood and Kenny Reese.
The State Folk Dance Conspiracy: Fabricating a National Folk Dance: by Judy Mangin - Originally published in the Old-Time Herald, v.4(7) p.9-12, Spring 1995.
National Folk Dance Effort Moves Forward: We're On Our Way Now, So Let's Make a Lot of Noise!: United Square Dancers of America National Folk Dance Committee.
The Square Dance Legislation Collection: American Folklife Center 1984/024, Compiled by Michelle Forner, Library of Congress, Washington DC, December 1994
Official website: Colorado State Square Dance Association (CSSDA).
State dances: Complete list of official state dances from NETSTATE.COM
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Colorado state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.
Square Dance Fundamentals, John W. Jones. 208 pages. Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (February 5, 2007)
While there have been countless fun books written on square dancing, Squaredance Fundamentals was the first to cut to the chase. There is no interesting history of square dancing, there are no entertaining anecdotes, just the nuts and bolts of how to square dance. Revolutionary illustrations show the dancer’s point of view, not just the spectators’ viewpoint. Dancers can, without turning on their heads, glean from the detailed illustrations exactly what they need to be doing with their hands, feet, etc. Each dancer can effortlessly grasp the material and easily retain it. Renowned master caller/teacher, Marshall Flippo, assiduously assisted the author in establishing the very first guidelines for standardized “Basic Maneuvers” which would enable square dancers to dance gracefully with any group, anywhere.
No one shows you better how to execute the maneuvers than John W. Jones with his super simplified instructions and state-of-the-art illustrations in Squaredance Fundamentals - the gold standard for over 37 years.
The American Square Dance, by Margot Mayo. 116 pages. Publisher:Music Sales American (September 1, 2006)
You can have fun square dancing and you'll learn how to dance the figures and even learn how to call a square dance with Margot Mayo's classic manual, The American Square Dance. Here is the basic book for square dancers containing all of the essentials for many hours of enjoyment. An illustrated glossary of square dance terms shows all of the basic square dance figures – promenade, allemande left, do-si-do, etc. Complete instructions, calls and illustrated figures for 13 of the most popular American square dances appear, plus the music all ready for your pianist and fiddlers to play.
The Square Dance and Contra Dance Handbook: Calls, Dance Movements, Music, Glossary, Bibliography, Discography, and Directories, by Margot Gunzenhauser. 320 pages. Publisher: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers; annotated edition (July 28, 2010)
This comprehensive guide to traditional style square and contra dancing, sometimes referred to as "country dancing," covers both music and style and gives background information on various dance types and calling techniques. Ninety dances, presented in chapters according to type (mixers, progressive circles, contra, Southern mountain style, squares and others), in a wide variety of formations are described with drawings and diagrams for many of the movements. A glossary of terms, a directory of addresses (organizations; vendors of books, recordings and audio equipment; and dance camps), and an annotated discography and bibliography are also provided.
A glossary of terms, a directory of addresses (organizations; vendors of books, recordings and audio equipment; and dance camps), and an annotated discography and bibliography are also provided.
The Complete Book of Square Dancing (and Round Dancing), by Betty Casey. 208 pages. Publisher: University of North Texas Press (June 1, 2000)
This book includes: 50 basic movements, 35 advanced movements, variations, dances that are a part of the American heritage, Contra and Round Dances, polkas and reels, and calls, past and present.
“Square dancing is friendship set to music,” says author Betty Casey. Just take four couples, old or young, put ’em on a good floor, turn on the music, and you’re all set. Whether you’ve done it before or you’re just starting out, this book tells you everything you need to know—85 basic movements used all over the world, the spirited calls unique to square dancing, the costumes and equipment that are best, and music (from “Red River Valley” to “Mack the Knife”) that will set your feet in motion.
Square Dancing Made Easy, Grade level: K-6. Audio CD (September 1, 1995), Number of Discs: 1, Label: Educational Activities, Inc.
All Time Favorite Square Dances with Calls, Audio CD (September 8, 2009), Number of Discs: 1, Label: KADO, Run Time: 60 minutes.
Square Dance Music & Calls, Audio CD (November 21, 2006), Number of Discs: 1, Label: Collectables Records.
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Brand New High quality preshrunk tee-shirt that will not shrink or fade. Double-needle stitched hemmed sleeves and bottom. Highest quality printing materials. 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester preshrunk blend. Soft, comfortable and weighs 6 oz.
Social Dancing in America: A History and Reference (Volume One), by Ralph G. Giordano. 380 pages. Publisher: Greenwood (November 30, 2006)
Social Dancing in America examines the role of social dancing in daily life from the first settlements in 1607 through the birth of the nation in 1776 and into the beginning of the 21st century. This two-volume set provides a history of American social dances including the Virginia Reel, Square Dancing, the Lindy Hop, Rock 'n' Roll, the Twist, Disco, Breakdancing, and Hip-Hop. Social Dancing in America places social dancing in a historical, social, cultural, and political context.
Volume 1 explores the integral role that social dancing played in the lives of Americans from the first settlements in 1607 through the 19th century, often in the most unlikely of ways. For example, readers may be surprised to learn that George Washington was a well-known aficionado of social dancing, and that he incorporated the etiquette and manners of dances such as the Minuet as a means of diplomacy to secure European allies during the Revolutionary War. After his death, Americans continued to celebrate his birthday with a grand ball that included dancing.
Social Dancing in America: A History and Reference (Volume Two), by Ralph G. Giordano. 428 pages. Publisher: Greenwood (November 30, 2006)
Volume 2 places social dance in a 20th-Century context, illustrating how social dancing itself paralled the social, economic, and cultural traditions of each era. For example, segregation and the Jim Crow mentality was cemented in place all over the United States, and for much of the century, dancing and dance halls were strictly segregated. Segregation forced a mass migration north, and with it came the transformation of Delta Blues music into an American original—Jazz. Jazz gave birth to the Charleston, and later evolved into Swing, which created the Lindy Hop. Later, with the advent of television, programming such as American Bandstand, Soul Train, Dance Fever, and MTV greatly influenced dance styles and modern trends such as Rock 'n' Roll, Freestyle, Disco, Breakdancing, and Hip-Hop.