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Act of the 54th Legislative Assembly of North Dakota designated the square dance as the American Folk Dance of North Dakota in 1995. The legislation was signed by Governor Edward T. Schafer. Adopted in 1995.
Modern western square dance clubs across the country have collaborated to have the Square Dance declared the state folk dance in all fifty states. They have also been active in efforts to make the Square Dance the national folk dance. There is some controversy over their efforts
Square dance is a folk dance for four couples that was first described in 17th century England, but which has become associated with the United States of America due to its historic development in that country. The various movements used in square dancing are based on traditional folk dances of the various people who migrated to the USA. Some of these dances include Morris dance, English Country Dance, and the quadrille. Square dancing is enjoyed by people around the world, and people around the world are involved in the continuing development of this dance.
The movements are prompted by calls. The calls are put together by a caller to form a dance. The caller leads but does not participate in the dance.
The law designating the square dance as the official North Dakota state dance is found in the North Dakota Revised Statutes, Title 54, Chapter 54-02, Section 54-02-16
Title 54 - State Government.
Chapter 54-02 - State Emblems, Symbols and Awards.
Section 54-02-16. State Dance.
54-02-16. State dance. The square dance, in consideration of its contribution to the art and culture of North Dakota, is designated the official American folk dance of North Dakota.