What Is Modern Western Square Dancing?

Modern Western Square Dancing is also called "Western Square Dancing", "Contemporary Western Square Dancing", or "Modern American Square Dancing". Modern Western Square Dancing evolved from the western style of traditional square dancing from about 1940 to 1960. Traditional Western Square Dancing was promoted beginning in the 1930s by Lloyd Shaw, who solicited definitions from callers across the country in order to preserve that dance form and make it available to other teachers. Since the 1970s Modern Western Square Dancing has been promoted and standardized by an international association of square dance callers.

This modern form of square dancing is taught in around thirty countries as well as the USA and Canada. This includes the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, China, Japan and Russia. Within Europe, the majority of square dance clubs are in Germany and the United Kingdom.

The initial stage reached by all dancers is called Mainstream. This program consists of a core list of about 70 moves, or "calls". Because of this standardization, it is possible for anyone with the proper training to enjoy Modern Western Square Dancing in many countries around the world. Although instruction is typically given in the local language, the calls are always in English.