Idaho State American Folk Dance

Square Dance

Idaho State American Folk Dance: Square Dance

Adopted on March 17, 1989.

The square dance was chosen as the
American folk dance of Idaho by the 1989 legislature. It was adopted on March 17, 1989.

The square dance was first associated with the American people and has been recorded in history as early as 1651. Early pioneers often square danced to celebrate the completion of a new barn. Although what we call square dancing usually done in a square, with four couples, it can also be done in a circle or in a straight line.

Idaho State American Folk Dance: Square Dance

Idaho State American Folk Dance: Square Dance

By Concurrent Resolution, the square dance was designated " the American Folk Dance of Idaho." on March 17, 1989. A Concurrent Resolution is approved by both bodies of the Idaho Legislature (House of Representatives and Senate), but is not entered into the Idaho Statutes as law and does not require the signature of the Governor.

Two of the most commonly cited ancestors to modern square dance are the English Morris dance and the French Quadrille. It is the Quadrille that most point to as the grand-daddy of our modern square dance. One of the earliest records of this type of dance in America is contained in the works of John Playford, a musician and dancing master. His book, 'The English Dancing Master - Plaine and Easy Rules for the Dancing of Country Dances, with Tunes to Each Dance' was published in seventeen editions between 1650 and 1728 and contained 918 dances. As the pioneers moved westward, many of the dances were lost or forgotten, but many were preserved, particularly in the southern Appalachians where the running set established itself as one of the deep taproots of western square dance. The running set even had a caller - America's only unique contribution to the square dance.

Idaho Concurrent Resolution


Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:

WHEREAS, love of state and professions is enhanced by traditions that have become a part of our way of life and the customs of the American people; and

WHEREAS, we have distinctive and meaningful symbols of our ideals in our state's flag and in many cultural endeavors, but no official designation of a state folk dance; and

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 a dignified and enjoyable expression of American folk dancing; 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, official recognition of the Square Dance will enhance the cultural stature of Idaho both nationally and internationally; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting that the Square Dance be added to the array of symbols of our state character and pride.|

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the First Regular Session of the Centennial Idaho Legislature, the House of Representatives and the Senate concurring therein, that the folk dance known as the SQUARE DANCE is hereby designated as the American folk dance of Idaho.

Approved March 17, 1989.

Idaho Law

The square dance was designated by legislative Concurrent Resolution and, therefore, was not entered into the Idaho Statutes.


State Dances
State Dances
At least there are currently 31 states that have designated square dancing as their State Folk Dance.