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"Folk Dances of the United States: Regional Types and Origins"

Scholarly presentation by noted dance researcher Elizabeth Burchenal and published in the Journal of the International Folk Music Council. Burchenal begins her talk thus:

"The term "folk dance" as used here does not refer to "popular dance" or to "revivals" but rather to "authentic" folk dance as a folk art which has been handed down through the…

Big Circle Dance from Carcassonne, KY - Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. In this video, Phil introduces the big set formation danced in Carcassonne, Kentucky; an accompanying video shows actual dance footage.This was recorded at Dare To Be Square on November 19, 2011, at the…

Bill Litchman - Rocky Mountain Square Dancing

(To open the PDF document, click on the underlined link to the right.)This overview of square dance history focuses on two major groups of square dance. One group (northern, Eastern, Maritime, etc.) relies on quadrille-style figures, with couples interacting across the set; this style is prompted like a contra. The second form is found in the…

Carcassonne big set - Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. Carcassonne, Kentucky, still hosts a regular traditional dance series, and these figures are typical of dances there. In this big circle formation, Phil calls two figures-- four leaf clover and lady…

Elizabeth Burchenal 2 - big set in field

Brief shot of Elizabeth Burchenal herself at the start; shots of musicians (guitar, 2 banjos, fiddle) at 2:51

Figures include:
Opposite turn by right hand; partner turn by left hand; swing opposite; swing partner

Lady round the lady and gent around the gent; gent around the lady and the lady round the gent

Women spin, men spin, all…

Elizabeth Burchenal 3 - big set demo

This appears to be a demonstration of various southern Appalachian big set figures. There are several shots of musicians scattered throughout.The film starts with the Georgia Rang Tang figure, also known by many other names: right hand turn opposite, left hand turn partner, right hand turn opposite, left hand turn partner, swing opposite, swing…

Elizabeth Burchenal 4 - big set, rooftop

In this dance, the lead couple passes around their neighbors, and while behind them passes each other by the right hand, then returns to the center of the set, swings the opposite, and moves on to the next couple.

At :46, the two couples form a basket (ladies bow, gents know how) for a very short basket swing.

At 1:21, the ladies go into the…

Elizabeth Burchenal 5 - square dance

Several figures incorporated into four-couple square dance, with the men doing some fancy footwork.

Starting at 2:16 and until the end, notice the musicians, two fiddlers and a banjo. The fiddlers have very different styles.

Elizabeth Burchenal footage 1 - Old Dan Tucker

Elizabeth Burchenal leading a group in Old Dan Tucker, a dance with with an extra gent in the center, a square dance related to the Ninepin. Recorded in Atlantic City, NJ, 1930, at a meeting of the National Recreation Congress. We are told that one of the dancers is Mrs. Thomas A. Edison (Minna Edison Hughes).

Not Your Grandparents Square Dance

Old-time music and square dancing in Portland, Oregon. Interviews with Bill Martin and Michael Ismerio, and footage from the Old Time Music Gathering, reveal the intimate links between the old-time music scene and the revival of square dancing.This is one of a series of short documentary videos produced by Doug Plummer; you can find many more…

Shoo-Fly Swing - dance - Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. He described this figure as an ending figure that can come at the end of a big circle dance. A separate video describes the moves in more detail. This was recorded at Dare To Be Square on November 19,…

Southern Appalachian Squares 0 - Sampler - Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. This samples provides excerpts of the dances presented in that workshop. You will be able to find teaching and a longer dance clip of each dance in related videos elsewhere on this site.

00:00 Big Set…