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History of Country Line Dancing 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 1800s 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 1900s radio was introduced and by the 1940s contra dancing had evolved into a style called the Stroll revived during the 1970s in a John Travolta film called Grease During this same decade 1970 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 the 1980s by line dance choreographers to suit the growing popularity of the single file dance formation
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