Official State Folk Dance of Texas
Texas designated the square dance as the official state folk dance in 1991. All State Dances
Twenty-two states have passed legislation to declare the square dance as a state symbol, and more than 30 bills have been introduced at the federal level proposing the square dance as the national (folk) dance of the United States, beginning in 1965.
House Concurrent Resolution
WHEREAS, The State of Texas has traditionally recognized a variety of official state symbols as tangible representations of the proud spirit and heritage of our state; and
WHEREAS, The bluebonnet, the pecan tree, and mockingbird are examples of some natural specimens that serve to symbolize the great diversity of the Texas landscape, while such items as the state dish, chili, and the state song, "Texas, Our Texas,” fittingly represent other aspects of our shared culture as Texans; and
WHEREAS, In keeping with this custom, the designation of the square dance as an official state Folk Dance of Texas will provide suitable recognition for this popular American dance form; and
WHEREAS, First recorded in this country in 1651, the original square dances can be described as choreographic melting pots, containing elements of the Morris and Maypole dances of England, as well as the French ballroom dances and church dances of Spain; as later immigrants arrived on our shores, square dancing evolved to include the folk dance traditions of nations such as Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Austria, Russia, and Mexico; and
WHEREAS, Brought to Texas by our pioneer forebears, square dancing quickly proved a popular diversion from the hardships faced by many settlers; in weathered barns or under starry skies, early Texans joined their neighbors in the toe-tapping rhythms of these dances, strengthening and affirming the bonds of community; and
WHEREAS, Today, square dancing continues to be enjoyed by countless individuals of all ages and backgrounds, over 20,000 of whom claim membership in our state’s 525 square dance clubs; although still known as square dancing, the term has expanded to include round, contra, clogging, line, and heritage dancing within its scope; and
WHEREAS, An integral part of our state’s cultural legacy, the square dance unites participants in a shared experience, crossing national and social barriers with its warmth and liveliness; the enduring beauty of this indigenous American dance form makes it an ideal choice for our official State Folk Dance and will serve as a fitting emblem for the rich diversity of our state’s cultural heritage; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the 72nd Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate the square dance as an official State Folk Dance of Texas.