A “barn dance” is a traditional dance, usually with traditional or folk music, sometimes (and probably originally) held in a barn. A popular barn dance joke is:
“I took her to a barn dance, but all I got was the same old stall.”
The joke was published in the Colgate Banner (humor magazine of Colgate University) in 1936.
Wikipedia: Barn dance
A barn dance is any kind of dance involving traditional or folk music with traditional dancing, occasionally held in a barn, but, these days, much more likely to be in any suitable building.
The term “barn dance” is usually associated with family-oriented or community-oriented events, usually for people who do not normally dance. The caller will, therefore, generally use easy dances so that everyone can join in.
A barn dance can be a Ceilidh, with traditional Irish or Scottish dancing, and people unfamiliar with either format often confuse the two terms. However, a barn dance can also feature square dancing, Contra dancing, English Country Dance, dancing to Country and Western music, or any other kind of dancing, often with a live band and a Caller. Modern Western square dance is often confused with barn dancing in Britain.
News and Views
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Sad Sam says he took his girl to a “barn dance” recently and she gave him the same old stall. — Colgate Banner.
21 January 1945, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), “The Funnybone,” Roto-Magazine, pg. 22, col. 2:
THEN there was a sailor who wouldn’t take his girl to a barn dance, because she always gave him the same old stall.
-- Norma and Phyllis Turner, Bedford, Ind.
5 September 1947, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Daffynitions,” pg. 31, col. 7:
BARN DANCE: Where a fellow gives his girl the same old stall.
28 September 1953, Toronto (ON) Daily Star, “A Little of Everything,” pg. 6, col. 3:
Many a farm boy has popped-the-question at a barn dance and received the same old stall.
21 September 1969, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “Tin Pun Alley: Charlie Rice’s Punchbowl,” This Week magazine, pg. 7, col. 2:
“I took my girl to the barn dance, but she gave me the same old stall.”
Letters From Maybe
By Michael Pearson
Lima, OH: CSS Publishing Company, Inc.
“Oh, sure, we used to have barn dance when I was your age. I took your grandma to a barn dance several times, but all I got from her was the same old stall.”
New York City • Music/Dance/Theatre/Film • Friday, January 20, 2017 • Permalink