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Square dancing was adopted as the official folk dance of the Commonwealth by an Act of the 1991 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. The legislation was signed by Governor L. Douglas Wilder.
The definition of square dancing offered in the Code of Virginia, "...includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, the Virginia Reel, and heritage dances, is hereby designated as the official folk dance of the Commonwealth," greatly expands on the generally accepted definitions of square dancing.
Adopted in 1991, square dancing is the American folk dance which traces its ancestry to the English country dance and the French ballroom dance. It is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers. It includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, the Virginia reel, and heritage dances. When the pioneers came west, they brought with them a dance called the quadrille, which means square in French. The pioneers liked the simpler term and so the square dance was born. The dance is known for its series of figures and footwork. Dancers are directed by a caller. It is easy to learn, a good form of exercise and fun.
The law designating square dancing as the official Virginia state folk dance is found in the Code of Virginia, Title 1, Chapter 5, Section 1-510. Virginia symbols were re-organized under one section of the Code of Virginia in 2005.
Title 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS.
Chapter 5 - Emblems
§ 1-510. Official emblems and designations.
The following are hereby designated official emblems and designations of the Commonwealth:
Artisan Center - "Virginia Artisans Center," located in the City of Waynesboro.
Bat - Virginia Big-eared bat (Corynorhinos townsendii virginianus).
Beverage - Milk.
Blue Ridge Folklore State Center - Blue Ridge Institute located in the village of Ferrum.
Boat - "Chesapeake Bay Deadrise."
Covered Bridge Capital of the Commonwealth - Patrick County.
Covered Bridge Festival - Virginia Covered Bridge Festival held in Patrick County.
Dog - American Foxhound.
Emergency medical services museum - "To The Rescue," located in the City of Roanoke.
Fish - Brook Trout.
Fleet - Replicas of the three ships, Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, which comprised the Commonwealth's founding fleet that brought the first permanent English settlers to Jamestown in 1607, and which are exhibited at the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg.
Flower - American Dogwood ( Cornus florida).
Folk dance - Square dancing, the American folk dance that traces its ancestry to the English Country Dance and the French Ballroom Dance, and is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers, and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, the Virginia Reel, and heritage dances.
Fossil - Chesapecten jeffersonius.
Gold mining interpretive center - Monroe Park, located in the County of Fauquier.
Insect - Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio glaucus Linne).
Motor sports museum - "Wood Brothers Racing Museum and Virginia Motor Sports Hall of Fame," located in Patrick County.
Outdoor drama - "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama," adapted for the stage by Clara Lou Kelly and performed in the Town of Big Stone Gap.
Outdoor drama, historical - "The Long Way Home" based on the life of Mary Draper Ingles, adapted for the stage by Earl Hobson Smith, and performed in the City of Radford.
Shell - Oyster shell (Crassostrea virginica).
Song emeritus - "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," by James A. Bland, as set out in the House Joint Resolution 10, adopted by the General Assembly of Virginia at the Session of 1940.
Sports hall of fame - "Virginia Sports Hall of Fame," located in the City of Portsmouth.
War memorial museum - "Virginia War Museum," (formerly known as the War Memorial Museum of Virginia), located in the City of Newport News.
(Code 1950, § 7-35, 7-36, 7-37; 1966, cc. 102, 547, § 7.1-37, 7.1-38, 7.1-39; 1974, c. 24, § 7.1-40; 1982, c. 191, § 7.1-40.1; 1986, c. 138, § 7.1-40.2; 1988, c. 317, § 7.1-40.3; 1991, cc. 71, 575, § 7.1-40.4, 7.1-40.5; 1993, cc. 251, 509, § 7.1-40.6; 1994, cc. 33, 134, 220, 464, § 7.1-40.2:1, 7.1-40.8; 1995, cc. 12, 180, § 7.1-40.2:2; 1996, c. 52, § 7.1-40.9; 1997, cc. 66, 576, § 7.1-40.10; 1999, cc. 69, 336, § 7.1-40.11; 2001, cc. 97, 134, § 7.1-40.12; 2001, c. 228, § 7.1-40.13; 2005, cc. 557, 839; 2006, c. 128; 2007, cc. 391, 685; 2008, c. 262.)