As in the majority of states, LEGACY International assigned individuals to head the campaign to declare the folk dance the American folk dance of South Carolina. Laverne and Barbara Harrelson would lead the charge in the Palmetto State.
From the early 1980s on, modern western square dance organizations, which had been focusing on getting the square dance designated the official American folk dance of the United States of America, shifted strategies. The national organizations decided to focus on state-level designations. They intended to use the states as leverage to obtain the same designation at the national level. Read more about the organized campaign to name the square dance the official American folk dance of the U.S.A.
In South Carolina, the legislation that put square dancing among the list of official symbols and emblems of the sate was Senate Bill No. 516 (SB516) sponsored and introduced by Senator N.G. Setzler in early March 1993.
South Carolina General Assembly
110th Session, 1993-1994
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 1-1-700 SO AS TO DESIGNATE THE SQUARE DANCE AS THE OFFICIAL AMERICAN FOLK DANCE OF THE STATE.
Whereas, the square dance, which was first associated with the American people and recorded in history since 1651, has consistently been the one dance traditionally recognized by the American people as an expression of American Folk dancing; and "
Whereas, square dancing is a traditional form of family recreation in South Carolina and is an activity for young and old which has been recorded throughout South Carolina's history; and
Whereas, square dancing is the American Folk Dance which is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, and heritage dances; and
Whereas, it is appropriate that the contributions that square dancing make to the cultural life of South Carolina, the United States, and the world should be recognized. Now, therefore,
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 1-1-700. The square dance is the official American Folk Dance of the State."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Approved the 20th day of April, 1994.
SB515 was immediately referred to the Senate Committee on General Committee, where it sat until January of 1994.
Things picked up in January and a full vote of the South Carolina Senate approved the bill on January 12, 1994. It was then forwarded to the South Carolina House of Representatives for consideration.
SB516 languished in the House Committee on Education and Public Works for over a month but finally garnered a favorable report from the committee.
It took another month, plus, for the square dance bill to come to a full vote on the floor of the House. Fortunately for the square dancers who had testified in support of the legislation, the bill was approved by the House on March 25, 1994.
The square dance was designated the "official American Folk Dance of the State" on April, 20, 1994 when Governor Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. signed Senate Bill No. 516.
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).
This is how the square dance is described, with a touch of inaccuracy, on the website of the South Carolina State House:
THE STATE FOLK DANCE
The Square Dance was designated the official State Folk Dance by Act Number 329 of 1994. Square Dancing is the American Folk Dance that is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line and heritage dances. Square Dancing has been recorded throughout South Carolina’s history.
The square dance was not designated the "official state folk dance" by the act of the legislature. It was designated as the "official American folk dance."
This distinction may seem insignificant, but when one thinks in terms of a national movement, the "American folk dance" implies something larger than a mere "state" folk dance.
If you haven't read it, a brief article about the campaign to declare the square dance the national folk dance of the United States of America can be found here.
Ten years prior to being seduced to designate the square dance South Carolina's "official American Folk Dance," South Carolina declared that the shag would serve as the state's official state dance.
The following information was excerpted from the STATUTES, Title 1, Chapter 1, Article 9, Section 1-1-700.
Title 1 - Administration of the Government
CHAPTER 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE 9 - STATE EMBLEMS, PLEDGE TO STATE FLAG, OFFICIAL OBSERVANCES
SECTION 1-1-700 Official State American Folk Dance.
The square dance is the official American Folk Dance of the State.
"Dances, Music & Poets." Student Connection. South Carolina State House. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
"SECTION 1-1-700. Official State American Folk Dance." South Carolina Code of Laws. South Carolina Legislature. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.
Setzler, Nikki G. "S*0516 (Rat #0350, Act #0329) General Bill." South Carolina Legislature. State of South Carolina, 02 May 1994. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.
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.
"Square Dance -- American Folk Dance of the States." American Squaredance Aug. 1994: 59-60. 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: South Carolina Square and Round Dance Federation.
Official website: The South Carolina Callers Association.
State dances: Complete list of official state dances from NETSTATE.COM
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official South Carolina 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.
I LOVE TRADITIONAL SQUARE DANCE Black Metal Car Accessories License Plate Frame, This high quality license plate frame is made of metal, and it's the best quality item of its kind in the market. The lettering and art work are done by waterproof vinyl on the license plate frame and it will last for many years without any damage. It will not get brittle or cracked. It fits on all USA and Canada vehicles. It measures 12.5" X 6.5" and is durable to last under all weather conditions.
MY HEART BELONGS TO TRADITIONAL SQUARE DANCE, This is a high quality pre-shrunk t-shirt that will not shrink or fade. It's comfortable, casual and loose fitting and will quickly become one of your favorites. It wears and looks well on anyone. It is cured with a heat treatment process to ensure lasting durability.
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.