Square Dance


Missouri adopted the square dance as the state’s official American folk dance in 1995. Square dances are derived from European folk and courtship dances. Lively music – with fiddles usually as the lead instruments – and callers are hallmarks of square dancing. The caller prompts dance moves by singing or chanting them to the dancers.


Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo)

§10.120. State folk dance. – 1. As used in this section, the term “square dance” means an American folk dance which is called, cued or prompted to the dancers and includes square, rounds, clogging, contra, line and heritage dances.

2. The dance commonly known and referred to as the “Square Dance” is selected for and shall be known as the “American Folk Dance of the State of Missouri.”

(L. 1995 H.B. 84 & 98)

approved 31 May 1995
effective 28 August 1995


Photo Gallery:

Click on an image below to enlarge and read a caption. This will open a new window in the Missouri State Symbols Flickr album.

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Additional Resources:

Eschner, Kat. “Square Dancing is Uniquely American.” Smithsonian Magazine, November 29, 2017.

Higgins, Lisa L. “Allemande Left and Do-si-do: Missouri Folk Arts Turns Corners with Rural Schools.” Museum Magazine 47, (Fall 2005): 12-13.

Jamison, Phil. Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2015.

Jamison, Phil. “Square Dance Calling: The African-American Connection.” Journal of Appalachian Studies 9, no. 2 (2003): 387-398.

Marshall, Howard W. Play Me Something Quick and Devilish: Old-Time Fiddlers in Missouri. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2012.


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