Square dance question

I had a question. A few actually. First, are there black square dancers? Second I know there were black people out west, and I know square dancing and stuff was mainly influenced by white people, but did black people have any influence in western dancing? I was just interested because I heard someone asking that a few months ago (with Black History month and everything) and I was just curious. Thanks!

Steve Pastor

Staff member
W.C. Handy, widely known as the "Father of the Blues," noted square dancing by Mississippi blacks with "one of their own calling the figures, and crooning all of his calls in the key of G."[10]
He remembered this when deciding on the key for "St Louis Blues" which was published in 1914.

I was able to grab that one quickly out of wikipedia, because I remember putting in there!

Can't say if there are currently black square dancers, because I don't do it myself, but, although it may not be a big thing, why not? I've found more and more that certain stories just aren't told because they don't have a high enough profile.

Did you notice that one of the contestants on DWTS, Jacoby Jones, used a country song that was popular a few years ago, or that Donald Drive won DWTS with a "free style" to Cowboy Troy's "I Play Chicken with the Train"?

A series of cds - Before the Blues - proposes, and documents, that the music a blacks and whites was overall pretty much the same until the beginning of the 1900s. Most writers have emphasized the differences in music and dance, and so the similarities are overlooked.
Me, I'm more interested in the similarities and mixing of influences.

I'll post more if I think of it.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
"What has not been properly recognized is that these dances - the quadrille, the coltillion, the contradance and the like - were taken up by Afro-Americans in North an South America and the West Indies and were modified and adapted to local cultural circumstances."

"The outstanding social dance orchestra of its time was that of black Piladelphian Francis Johnson (1792-1844),..." "inventor-general of cotillions; to which add, a remarkable taste in distorting a sentimental, simple, and beautifil song, into a reel, a jig, or country-dance." "wrote original songs into his quadrilles..."

The ex-sloaves interviewed by WPA in the 1930s show that the dances most often rememberd... were contradance, square dances, the coltillion, the waltz, and the quadrille" with Afro American steps.

excerpts from a published article in Dance Research Journal 1988

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