Figurative Use: Full Scale Government Hoedown

In 2013, the US government shut down over arguments about the federal budget. The very funny people at The Onion decided to refer to the shutdown as a hoedown, and included many references to square dancing and other kinds of folk dances in the article.

U.S. On Verge Of Full-Scale Government Hoedown
September 30, 2013

While many bemoan the decrease in square dancing around the world, it seems that square dancing terms can still be used and generally understood in popular media. Square dancing is still fairly well-known, if not well-practiced, at least in the United States.

The association between square dancing and right wing (Republican) thinking is also apparent in this article. I do wish that association didn’t exist. I like my hobbies to be non-partisan…

Documentary: Do-Si-Do in the Sky

I have heard of square dancing tractors, but I didn’t realize there were also square dancing helicopters! I’m going to have to make a whole new category for this!

Trailer for Do-Si-Do in the Sky

Here is the movie’s website.

You can rent or buy the video through Vimeo.

More information about the project to get this movie made on Indigogo:

There is also a book about this phenomenon:
Dancing Rotors by Jr Gilliand

Book: Dancing for Busy People by Calvin Campbell

“Dancing for Busy People” is a collection of over 400 dances using easy to teach dance movements. Most dances use only walking movements based on commonly used square dance terminology. Only 25 basics are used. The same basics are used for contra dances, trios, quadrilles, Sicilian circles, mescolanzas and many of the round dance mixers. Some special description of footwork is necessary for the no-partner dances.

You can contact Calvin to purchase the book at this link:

Anachronistic Costumes

Longer dresses were more common in earlier times, so why don’t we wear them? And bonnets, too? Of course, the answer is that the times changed, and so did the dress. But then, somehow, our idea of what to wear got frozen in time. Is it time to reconsider our anachronistic costumes?


Photo: (source)

Figurative Use: Volkswagen Golf Referred to as “Champion Square Dancer”

What are people thinking about when “square dancing” pops into their heads? Do the words have a positive image, or a negative image? In general, it seems that non-dancers often use the term in a negative way. However, sometimes the term is just used for style. In the case of the following use, I think (but I am not really sure) that square dancer is being used to refer to the fact that this car is “boxy”. My gut feeling is that they are making fun of the car, but then they use the word “champion”, so it’s a bit confusing!


You can see the full review here.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R
May 2015

Figurative Use: Square Dancing in Title of Article about Geometry

I have started a new category on figurative use of the term “square dance” in popular culture. I have noticed that the term is often used in a pejorative sense to indicate something “ridiculous” or “unnecessarily complicated with no real difference at the outcome”. The following article demonstrates a different kind of use. In this case, the article is about geometry, and squares (the shape, not the dance) make an appearance, so the author has chosen to use the term “square dancing” purely for style. I am happy that it is not pejorative, but I am sad that the article doesn’t actually mention square dancing. (It mentions “dancing squares”, but that is not really the same thing at all.)

Square Dancing
March 14, 2010

Various resources about the art and sport of square dancing


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