folk dance, primitive, tribal, or ethnic form of the dance, sometimes the survival of some ancient ceremony or festival. The term is used also to include characteristic national dances, country dances, and figure dances in costume to folk tunes. Many children's games, such as
"The Farmer in the Dell,"
are traditional folk dances. More elaborate examples are the Spanish fandango, the Bohemian polka, the Hungarian czardas, the Irish jig, the Scottish Highland fling, the Hawaiian hula, and the English morris dance, sword dance, and Maypole dance. American barn dances, such as the Virginia reel, are largely derived from European sources. Early in the 20th cent. Cecil James Sharp, founder of the English Folk Dance Society, made a notable collection of English folk songs and dances. The American Folk Dance Society has done much to preserve the knowledge of old American country dances, and a similar interest has developed in other countries. A popular form of recreation, folk dancing is often taught in schools.
See M. D. Lidster and D. H. Tamburini, Folk Dance Progressions (1965, repr. 1978); A. S. Duggan et al., Folk Dance Library (5 vol., 1948, repr. 1980).