Square Dance History Project
Square dancing has been an integral part of American social life for centuries. Traditional square dance was vital for generations of Americans, especially in rural communities; in the post-World War II era, modern square dance similarly enjoyed participants numbering in the millions.
Despite its popularity, the history of square dance has not been well documented. Scores of books explain specific figures and calls, but there is no current source that offers a detailed discussion of the development of this form of American social dance. We hope this site helps to fill that need.
As modern square dancing developed in the middle of the 20th Century one of its characteristics was the increased use of music in the delivery of the call. As Tony Parkes points out in his short history of singing calls on this site, singing calls had been introduced in traditional square dancing before World War II. While traditional squares relied on live music, modern square dancing (MWSD) made much wider use of recorded music and the availability of music grew rapidly. The musical taste and ability of MWSD callers varied substantially and the musicality of the callers’ use of their ... Continue Reading.