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Streetswings Dance History Archives
1950s ballentine beer Barn dance ad
Barn Dance Title

         The Barn Dance was originated in Scotland in the 1860's. The barn dance was also known as the "Pas de Quartre" which basically was a generic term for American Folk dancing in rural communities or the "poor people's ballroom" of the times. It has been said to have first reared its head at the Gaiety Theater when Meyer Lutz composed the tune "Pas de Quatre."

     These parties were usually thrown after the raising of a barn or would be given as a birthday party, homecoming, or wedding etc. These dances were to merge with Square Dancing in the United States.

     Barn dances were very popular up until about 1899 as farmers and common folk would usually not be invited to the fancier balls of the upper class. A typical occasion for a barn dance was a post "Barn Rasin' party" to celebrate the raising of a neighbors Barn. Barn dances were sometimes referred to as a "General Ruckus or Ruckus". In the 1930's, Radio stations such as the WLS National Barn Dance Radio Show, would broadcast many Country and Western songs as well as featuring many Country artists of the day which would add the main link to combine Country music, Barn dancing and Square dances together.

     Barn dances consisted of Waltzes, Virginia Reels, Reels, Buck dancing andBreakdowns, Corn Husking Dances, Jigs, Buck, Schottische, Quadrilles, dancing etc. Henry Ford (the Auto maker) was very fond of these and Square dances. When the media got involved in the early 1920's (radio and Film), many times the Barn / Square dance scene would be dumbed down to a backwoods stereo typing, etc. Many times your "Abner, Jethro, Homer, and Elmer" (not the musicians) and were portrayed with a straw hat, corn Cobb pipe, raggedy clothes (like worn out overalls with one strap dangling off the shoulder) and shoes with worn out soles and appeared to have a third grade education, but many times it was far from the truth. Barn and square dances consist of fine, educated people who are just down to earth, family oriented and often types very religious.

    However back in the day many of these people did come from the back woods and deeps hills, bringing with them an almost forgotten style of Music, Dance and culture. Some of these folks were so far back the nearest school was over 50 miles away and they only had a mule to ride. Thankfully the entertainment industry went lookin' for them and thank god they found them, cause if they hadn't, alot of this music, dance and culture would be only a myth. Here is a good example ... Uncle John Wilder, a fiddler, was already 80 Years old in 1926 ... (Clip).


... more TO come... See Square Dance for additional info


Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

Scotland 1600's (1850's) n/a Folk | Square
       

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

Arkansas Swing 1894 - Sugar Cane Barn Dance 1889 - Darkey's Dream, the (Characteristic Barn Dance)
Hollywood Barn Dance 1899 - Happy Go Lucky 1908 - Four Little Sugar Plums
Square Dance Jubilee 1901 - Silver Slipper Barn Dance Arkansas Traveler
Square Dance Katy 1902 - Kerry Mills Barn Dance Bake them hoecakes brown
  1904 - Eliza Simpkins Barn Dance
  1910 - Empire State Barn Dance Boatsman
  1957 - Harvest Dance Boogie Barn Dance (Jimmy Bryant)
  Celebrated Barn Dance Cluck Old Hen
  Dancing In The Barn Country Bumpkin
  Harvest Hop Hoe Down
  Shoefly Lancash Barn Dance
  Way Down East Oklahoma Hills
    Old Red Barn, the
    Possum on the Rail
    Riverside Hoedown
    Wolverton Mtn.

Nightclubs

Theatres

Locations

Black Horse Tavern - 1736 (N.Y) Gaiety Theatre ( 1880's) Annapolis
    California
    Charleston, SC
    England, UK
    Merry Mount-MA.
    Scotland
    Williamsburg. VA.
 

Video Clips (pop-up)

Films with Barn Dance

Video Clips (pop-up)

Television

Ballets / Stage

Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1894 - Highland Fling
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1953 - Old American Barn Dance Pas de Quatre
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1898 - Clog Dancing
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
Town and Country Time 1937 - Barn Dance (Ballet)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1898 - Irish Jig Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. Grand Ole Opry  
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1898 - Scotch Reel Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. Green Acres  
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1898 - Sailor's Hornpipe Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. Hee-haw  
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1929 - Barn Dance Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1938 - The Old Barn Dance [DVD] Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1939 - Destry Rides Again [DVD] Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1940 - Village Barn Dance Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1940 - Westerner, the [DVD]

Radio

Publications

Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1941 - Babes on Broadway [DVD] Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. WLS National Barn Dance 7/15/1945 - Life Magazine
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1941 - Barn Dance Frolics
(Soundie, Frank Novak group)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
WRVA Old Dominion Barn Dance  
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. Saturday Night Country Style  
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1943 - National Barn Dance
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
National Barn Dance (1942) (WLS)  
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1945 - Sheriff of Cimarron [DVD] Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1947 - Hollywood Barn Dance Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1949 - ABC Barn Dance Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1950 - Summer Stock [DVD] Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1950 - Wagon Master [DVD] Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1955 - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.    

Other Related Dances of the time...

Arkansas Traveler Corn Husking Dances Husking Dance Pas de Quartre
Basse Dances Country Danse Jig (Gigg, Gigue) Sadie Hawkins Dance
Buck Dance Country Western La Volta Schottische
Carmagnole, la English Dance Lancers Strathspeys
Clog Folk Dance Landler Two Step
Cotillion Harvest Dance Old Paul Jones Virginia Reels
Contredanse Heel and Toe Polka One Step Waltz

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

Political

1937 - Dorothy Littlefield Betty Grable Prince Of Wales
1937 - Thomas Canon Milton Bearle  
Saints and Sinner's Echo-M Cloggers  

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title

Author

Date Published

Publisher

Dance Digest Magazine n/a 10/1938 n/a
Down Beat Magazine n/a 5/6/1949 Down Beat Mag.
Barn Dance Magazine Radio TV Mirror 8/1952 n/a

Musicians

Bands

Singers

Poets / Writers

Jimmy Dean Tennessee Mtn. Boys Candy Mtn. Girls n/a
Homer and Jethro Freeny's Barn Dance Band Zuric Sisters  
Hoosier Hot Shots Patsy Montana  

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Arkansas Traveler Flute Minuet Settlements
Banjo Folk Dance Morris Square Dance
Breakdown Harvest Dance Pigeon Wing Tavern
Buck and Wing Hoe Down Progressive Virginia Reel
Ceilidhs Hootenanny Puritan Waltz
Clogging Horn Pipe Reels Washboards
Cotillion Husking Ritual Fiddle, Banjo, Spoons, Jug
Contra Danse | Country Danse Jig / Gigue Round Dance English Country dancing
English, the Lancers Quadrilles English folk festivals
Fiddle Louisiana Hayride Sadie Hawkins Minstrel

Other...

  • The dance steps were varied and a Barn dance was really a mixture of dances, altho different today, it can be more commonly known or lumped together with square and somewhat Country dances but not Country-Western dancing (aka Urban Cowboy).