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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Folk Dance Federation
of California, South, Inc.

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Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.


Information: An organization.

A California Statewide Festival was held on May 11, 1946, in the town of Ojai. The first officers of the Southern Section of the Folk Dance Federation of California, Inc. were selected shortly after the festival. There seemed to be no stopping the growth of the Federation, folk dancing, and square dancing until late 1948, when an international incident shouldn't, but did, bring things to a sudden halt.

It was the Russian intervention in Czechoslovakia. A motion presented by a group of Federation leaders that would require all folk dance clubs in the Southern Section of the Federation to swear a loyalty oath to the United States in order to maintain membership. Of course, by extension, this meant a loyalty oath from the individual members of the clubs. The result was a severe fracturing of the organization. By the time the measure was eventually defeated, many clubs had already dropped out, including all of the square dance clubs, who formed their own association in 1950.

The division between international folk dancing and American squares caused some misunderstanding for a time – particularly when a few short-sighted leaders tried to brand all dances with a European origin as "foreign" and to promote "squares and rounds" as the only dances Americans should do. This attitude had soon lost ground as dancers learned that American squares stem from dances brought over from Europe and some "rounds" are essentially European dances with the names changed. The disharmony among many individuals and former friends continued long after the division. Fortunately, wise heads on both sides managed to get together and put the Southern Section back on its feet, almost as good as ever.

The Southern Section finally became its own entity when it formally incorporated and became the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.

Founder of: Santa Barbara Folk Dance Conference, 1956-1968; San Diego State University Folk Dance Conference, 1969-1984; and Fall Folk Dance Camp, 2019-present.

Co-sponsor of: Idyllwild Folk Dance Workshop, 1954-1993.



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