Square dance is a folk dance with four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, beginning with Couple 1 facing away from the music and going counter-clockwise until getting to Couple 4. Couples 1 and 3 are known as the head couples, while Couples 2 and 4 are the side couples. Each dance begins and ends each sequence with "sets-in-order" in the square formation. The dance was first described in 17th century England but was also quite common in France and throughout Europe and bears a marked similarity to Scottish Country Dancing. It has become associated with the United States of America due to its historic development in that country. Nineteen US states have designated it as their official state dance.
The various square dance movements are based on the steps and figures used in traditional folk dances and social dances of the various people who migrated to the USA. Some of these traditional dances include Morris dance, English Country Dance, Caledonians and the quadrille. Square dancing is enjoyed by people around the world, and people around the world are involved in the continuing development of this form of dance. Square dancers are prompted or cued through a sequence of steps (square dance choreography) by a square dance caller to the beat of music—almost a "Simon Says" in dance form. The caller leads, but usually does not participate in the dance. Whether a square dancer travels to China, France, or Mexico, he or she can enjoy attending a square dance because it will only be called in English. This is the only form of dance that is not translated into other languages.
The roots of the American folk music revival in New York City in the 1950s were in square dancing and folk dancing in the 1940s and musicians like Pete Seeger being involved providing the music and songs.