Folk Dances in the United States

Folk Dances in the United States
Many types of folk dances exist within the United States, as the country’s population is incredibly diverse. While each one of these dances deserve to be the highlight of their own piece, this is meant to serve as a brief overview of the types of folk dances that exist in the United States.

Clogging
In this type of folk dance, the dancer uses their heel, toe, or a combination of their heel and toe to create a percussive rhythm against a floor. The rhythm created by the percussive strike of the feet keeps the rhythm by striking the floor on the downbeat.

Contra Dance
This type of folk dance is a line dance that requires partners. It is a classic couples dance. However, a contra dance can be attended by a solo person, as the dancers within a contra line will progress up and down the line, switching partners frequently. There will usually be solo attendees at contra dances, so finding someone to pair up with is a fairly simple process.

Square Dance
This type of folk dance is, like contra, a dance that requires partners. The dance itself calls for exactly eight dancers, or four couples, with each couple on one side of a square facing the inside of the square. There are many types of square dances, but all of them share this basic pattern.

Swing Dance
This type of folk dance came into prominence at the same time as jazz – it is a dance style that refers to the type of music (jazz) being played. There are many types of swing dances, and Jitterbug is the umbrella term used to refer to all types of swing dance, which includes the Lindy Hop and the Charleston.

Line Dance
This type of folk dance is a dance that has a specific sequence of steps where people dance in rows (or lines). The dancers can face each other, but it is more common for everyone to face the same direction, and the steps are done as one cohesive whole. These are probably the most well-known types of dances, as the Electric Slide and the Wobble are incredibly popular line dances within the U.S. today.

Many other types of dance exist, but these are the ones that fit the most readily into the category of folk dances. They are dances performed by large communities of people, rather than dances performed by those who have specialized in technique. Folk dances are meant for the people, and, as such, they must be easy for anyone to learn.


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