Queen Elizabeth I of England was responsible for introducing what was then called “country dancing” at court late in the 16th century.Up until then, the style of dancing among royalty in Europe was complicated, requiring extensive instruction, and was limited almost entirely to those who had the affluence and the leisure time to practice the complex footwork. According to dance historian John Millar, while Queen Elizabeth was visiting in Sussex, England during 1591 she “watched her hosts doing country dances with their tenants and servants. From that moment on, country dance appears frequently in the records of entertainment at court.” (Great Meadows). From England, country dancing rapidly spread throughout the other Western European nations, and to virtually all their colonies as well.In contrast to the demanding previous styles, country dancing was so easily learned that people in all walks of life adopted it as their most frequent form of public recreation for most of the next two centuries. In the 1800’s, a looser American style came to be known by its two main sub-categories, based on the shape of the formations called “squares” and “contras.”Contras were formed by 2 long lines of partners that danced opposite each other.The word “contra” was a minpronuciation by Americans of the “contre,” which in turn was a French adaptation of the English word “country.” (Great Meadows) During the 1900’s radio was introduced and by the 1940’s contra dancing had evolved into a style called the “Stroll,” revived during the 1970’s in a John Travolta film called Grease.During this same decade  line dancing was born.Instead of facing each other partners stood next to each other.The two line of contra and stroll was replaced with one. (Bowen). Many of the original contra and square dances were adapted during t…
History of Country Line Dance Paper
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