A square dance is a dance for four couples (eight dancers in total) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, facing the middle of the square. Square dances were first documented in 16th-century England but were also quite common in France and throughout Europe. They came to North America with the European settlers and have undergone considerable development there. In some countries and regions, through preservation and repetition, square dances have attained the status of a folk dance. The Western American square dance may be the most widely known form worldwide, possibly due to its association in the 20th century with the romanticized image of the American cowboy.
Square dancing is, therefore, strongly associated with the United States. Nineteen U.S. states have designated it as their official state dance.
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