Most American people think of a Folk dance as Square dancing today. However a Folk dance is 'any dance created by the people of the land without any influence of a choreographer', this includes all facets of dancing. In other words they just happen, they evolve into a dance shared by others in their region. The dance(s) are built up and practiced expressing the characteristic feelings of the people, according to the peculiarities of any racial temperament.
These dances usually are mixtures of many dances to create one. They consist of partner dances, solo or freestyle, mixers, sets, line dances, festival, Religious, weddings etcetera. They often reflect the mood of the time during their most popular time of being done. They can reflect a musical style or
event and in their originality are usually not at a high level in difficulty but can get more difficult over time. The Folk dances of the U.S. all have names of patterns that may stem from Africa, Russia, Germany, Ireland, Scandinavia, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Cuba etc., as these lands gave us many different and varied cultures of dance through immigration and other avenues of influence.
Folk dancers do not tend to isolate heritage, but rather
embrace them. Folk dances such as the Square
dance, Swing (U.S.), Rumba
(C. Europe) etc. are still popular today. Many dances are
National and or State dances to dedicate their origin. Folk dance
popularity has become a part of the Broadway Stage, the Ballet,
Movies, socials and even the social Ballroom world.
These dances when performed usually require the costume and authentic music made for the dance, rather than what is popular at the time or in style which adds to its beauty and ethnicity. In 1911 Cecil Sharpe founded the "Folk Dance and Song Society" in England to encourage research and to preserve the folk dances, their games and songs. The Int'l Folk Dance Association came along in the the 1920s.
The ballet "Ozaï ,"choreographed by Jean Coralli at the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique on April 26th, 1847 in Paris inspired by the voyages of the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811) had introduced folk dances into the ballet stage.