Folk dancing, traditional popular dancing of a nation or region. Folk dances derive variously from ancient magic and religious rituals and also from the sequences of movement involved in certain forms of communal labor. Famous national dances include the Irish jig, the Italian tarantella, and the Hungarian czardas. The American Folk Dancing Society popularizes American folk dances, notably the square dance, in which an expert “caller” gives rhyming instructions. Many U.S. dances have European origins, but the barn dance setting is authentically American.