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Skyline Farms, Alabama, 1937.
Square dancing couples at Skyline Farms, Alabama in 1937

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Ruby Wilson in "Gents Go Center," 1939

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Square Dancing
When early colonial settlers came to America, they brought many forms of dance to their new home. Square dancing, one of the oldest forms of American folk dancing, evolved from several different Old World group dances, mainly the English country, or contra, dance and the French quadrille.

In the American version of square dancing, four couples form a square and dance to music from an accordion, banjo, fiddle, and guitar. An American addition to square dancing is the caller. What do you think a caller does?

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CREDIT: Shahn, Ben, photographer. "Square dance, Skyline Farms, Alabama, 1937." 1937. America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945, Library of Congress.
AUDIO CREDIT: Wilson, Ruby. "Gents Go Center." 1939. Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip, Library of Congress.