Learn Some Folk Dances

Learn some common basic folk dances by reading this guide with steps and instructions.

Folk dances can be defined as "dances that were developed, and are now recognized as part of a local tradition." There are many types of folk dances including Country Square dancing, Irish dancing, Clog dancing, Tap Dancing, Ballroom dancing, Cajun dancing, and even Conga dancing.

Folk dancing is said to have started in the Medieval times. People would stand in a circular pattern, hold hands, and sing a familiar tune in order to provide entertainment for themselves.

Today, a live band or a machine provides the music, and the dances are still usually performed in a group. The group may be positioned in a circular pattern, a square, or in a straight line.

If you want to learn some folk dances, dances that were developed and have remained a part of our heritage through the years, you can follow these basic steps:

Clog Dancing - Began in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States

This type of movement is done in a group, so you'll need some friends and a leader. You must keep your upper body fairly straight during this dance. Your feet and knees, going up and down quickly, will provide the basic motion of the dance.

The leader will provide the music and will also call out the moves the group needs to make. Basically, a Clog dance is done to the beat of the music. New Clog dancers will need to start out slowly and work on becoming quicker as they progress.

The Chicken Dance - Believed to have come from the song of the same name that was composed by Werner Thomas in the 1970's. It was later embraced by several heritages as their folk dance.

This type of dance also requires that you be one of a group of people who are standing in a circle.

When the music begins, use your two hands to make a chicken beak. Open and close the chicken beak four times to the beat of the music.

The next step is to use your bent arms like chicken wings. Flap your arms four times to the beat of the music.

Then, make a feathered chicken tail by using your arms and your hands. Move down to the floor while you flap your tail feathers four times to the beat of the music.

The next step is to clap your hands four times to the music, then repeat the steps all over again three more times.

Finally, after the fourth repeat, everyone takes the person's hands to the left and to the right of them. The entire group moves around in a complete circular pattern.

Then, the Chicken dance starts up again from the beginning. The real challenge is that, as the steps progress, the music speeds up, as well as the dancing.

Maypole Dancing - Is a group folk dance that originated in Europe.

To perform this dance, you'll need several other dancers and a pole. The pole must have several- enough so that each dancer has one- long, colored ribbons tied to it.

As the music is played, each dancer moves around the pole holding their colored ribbon. As the dance progresses, the ribbons become intertwined around the pole to make different patterns.

Finally, the ribbons can be unwound by the dancers, or, they can dance again in order to get them unwound.

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