The Traditional Square Dance is a term that is used for any square dance in America other than what is known as Modern Western. In most cases, it is a term used for the dance forms before 1950 when Modern Western came on the scene. The traditional square dance term is used for mainly regional types of the dance styles like western, southeastern, northeastern, and broadly.
The way to explain the difference is that the traditional square dance has a specific amount of certain dance moves known as calls; the movements are in a specific order and always repeated instead of the one making the calls changing them.
The three main forms that are usually known as traditional square dances include survival dances, revival dances, and fun nights.
These events are often held in communities in Canada and United States where square dancing along with other dance forms are for couples instead of the entire group such as foxtrot, two-step, western, waltz, or in some cases even solo dances like clogging. According to the region, the one that makes the calls, if they use one, it has been handed down from generation to generation.
In the United Kingdom and America, several cities and especially college towns have dance events where everyone in the city is invited to participate. In most cases, along with traditional square dancing, they usually mix it up with contra dances. Once again, the way in which the square dancing is performed has to do with the region, and is usually traditional instead of modern Western.
Fun nights are often referred to as one night stands or barn dances. The majority of these are created for special events where it makes it easier for the participants to dance, and they may not dance on a regular basis including social groups, churches, or civic groups. In most cases, the person that will be calling creates the material.