American Square Dancing

 

Today’s post is written by fellow author and friend, Rebecca Waters. Welcome back to Historical Nibbles, Rebecca!

 American square dancing has its roots in 16th century England and France. The “quadrille” was completed using intricate, memorized patterns. Many of the names of today’s square dance moves, such as allemande, promenade, and dos-a-dos reflect French influence.

American square dancing is linked with the settling of America and western expansion. Instead of memorizing dances, settlers opted for a leader to call out moves in sequence. Square dancing on wagon trains and in early settlements allowed men and women to engage in a socially acceptable activity. Some moves such as “take a little peek and trade the wave” or  “courtesy turn,” were considered flirtatious but safe ways to mingle with the opposite sex.

While some dances were set to music, certain groups considered the fiddle and other instruments tools of the devil. In this case, dance moves were prompted in rhythm and rhyme by a “caller.” These were known as patter calls.

Square dancing waned in the early 1900’s but made a comeback after World War II. The event surged after President Ronald Reagan named square dancing America’s official folk dance in 1982.

-Rebecca Waters

 

Courtesy Turn, a story about unexpectedly finding a second chance at love in a contemporary novella set in Cincinnati, Ohio, is one of nine stories in the newly released anthology, From the Lake to the River.

 

When Lori’s husband died of cancer, part of Lori died with him. It’s been 5 years now. Lori and her husband always enjoyed square dancing. Is that where she should start? Is it possible for Lori to find purpose and joy in her life or will she be forever dependent on her son and his family?

 

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