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Thursday, February 6, 2014

New 'Mystery Dance': On Tractors

Growing up in rural Ohio, I've seen plenty of tractor pulls in my life, but I've never even heard of a tractor square dance. Modern Farmer tells us "it's real and it's spectacular." Not only do the farmers  square dance on tractors--they do it in third gear. And yes, the act is really a square dance, although one where "four seated couples maneuver vintage tractors into daisy chains and do-si-dos in front of a live audience." Tove Danovich's article shows how they roll:
Tractor square dances always feature eight riders in their performances – four couples to make up the dance’s traditional 'square' — who often dress in exaggerated drag to play the male and female roles. Another important similarity between troupes is the colorful rhyming instructions of their caller, referred to as patter-call.
The  video accompanying the article features the legendary Farmall Promenade troupe from Nemaha, Iowa; the actual tractor dance starts about the 20-minute mark.

A quick Google search shows what I somehow missed: plenty of tractor dancing, Ohio style: "we know it's summer when the tractors come out dancing!"  --Barbara Bedway

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