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Items from "Southern Appalachian": 163

78-rpm Recordings of Southern Dance Callers (1924-33)

This collection of nearly 100 old recordings was created by Phil Jamison to accompany the publication of his book, Hoedowns, Reels and Frolics (2015). The book tells the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia. Other sections of Jamison's website include still images and videos…

Square dancing at Augusta Heritage Festival - 1994

An evening dance at the Augusta Workshops in Elkins, West Virginia on July 15, 1994. Larry Edelman calls the figures to the music of the New Dixie Entertainers: Mike Bryant, Marcia Bryant, Brett Riggs, Pan Riggs, Morgan Simmons, and Tim Rogers.The scatter mixer shown at the start of this clip is one that Larry created using the Harlem Rosette…

Big circle dance - Manny Wiener & American Square Dance Group

Caller Manny Wiener leads a big circle dance—here introduced as a Kentucky running set—with members of Margot Mayo's American Square Dance Group. This is a portion of a half hour radio broadcast on WNYC in February, 1941, part of a series called "America Tells Its Stories." The program can be heard in its entirety here.The Related Items…

Swamp Country Dance

This is a first-person account of attending a country dance in Georgia in the mid-1950s. The author describes the big circle formation in detail:

"A single dance would go like this; The orchestra would give a fanfare, the couples would quickly assemble on the floor in one big circle with the Caller at the head of the circle, his back to the…

Big Circle square dance - Glenn Bannerman

Glenn Bannerman, caller, leads a big circle at MerleFest, 2014

North Carolina Cloggers

Clogging in square dancing has a long history, going back at least as far as Sam Queen's Soco Gap Dancers. It is a form of dance that deserves its own detailed site, but we are including a few examples in the SDHP collection.

This clip includes footage from four television performances; in the first they are introduced as the "North Carolina…

Jubilee Promenaders 2

A half-hour program on L.D. Keller and the Jubilee Promenaders aired on Public Television. View it here.

Jubilee Promenaders 1

The dancers had received national acclaim as the Lake of the Ozarks Dancers in appearances on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour (see Related Item). Their fast tempo, fancy jig steps, and lively performances were a crowd pleaser, and they picked up, renamed as The Jubilee Promeanders, and became regular performers with caller L. D. Keller on the Ozark…

Kentucky Set Running - 1917 firsthand account

After graduation from Vassar and a summer holiday with family, Marguerite Butler, at age 22, headed for Pine Mountain Settlement School in a remote area of eastern Kentucky to try to make some satisfactory contribution to a 1914 world where few such opportunities were allowed for women. A few nights after her arrival at the school, folks gathered…

An Old-Time Dance, Missouri, 1929

An account from a 1929 newspaper of what the author deemed "what was probably a duplication of the real, old-time hill country dance." Interestingly, the words "square dance" appear nowhere in the short article.

Gary Ellison interview

This is an interview conducted by Nathaniel Lucy as part of his research for his master's thesis, "Ozark Jubilee: The Impact of a Revional Identity at a Crossroads," written in 2014. The subject of the interview is Gary Ellison, who explains, "In 1959 and in 1960, the last two years, I was the square dance caller for the Wagon Wheelers, which was…

Smoky Mountain Square Dances

NOTE: To read the actual booklet, choose the link under FILES at the top right-hand side of this page. This is a large file and might take a while to load.This collection, originally published in 1941 and reprinted into the 1950s, contains a detailed look at big set figures from the region. At the time of his death, the author was working on an…

Traditional Square Dance of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Detailed description of big set dances on Ocracoke Island, and an attempt in 1996 to re-create a dance tradition that had dies out. From the opening page:

"The Ocracoke Island square dance is actually a big circle dance, much like big circle dances performed in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States. However, islanders…

Lady Round the Lady - Jerry Goodwin

Recorded at a square dance on April 25, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA. Jerry Goodwin, Caller Mountain Express: Chuck Monticello, fiddle Joe Fry, electric guitar Bob Hill, piano Dodie Goodwin, electric bass

Take a Little Peek - Jerry Goodwin

Recorded at a square dance on February 7, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA.Jerry Goodwin, CallerMountain Express: Chuck Monticello, fiddle Joe Fry, electric guitar Bob Hill, piano Dodie Goodwin, electric bassIn addition to the many related items, you may enjoy this instructional video from 1954.

Promenade the Outside Round - Jerry Goodwin

Recorded at a square dance on February 7, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA. The tune is Ragtime Annie.

Jerry Goodwin, Caller

Mountain Express:
Chuck Monticello, fiddle
Joe Fry, electric guitar
Bob Hill, piano
Dodie Goodwin, electric bass

Right and Left Thru and Pokey Four - Jerry Goodwin

Recorded at a square dance on February 7, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA.

Jerry Goodwin, Caller

Mountain Express:
Chuck Monticello, fiddle
Joe Fry, electric guitar
Bob Hill, piano
Dodie Goodwin, electric bass

Forward Up Six and Sashay Over - Jerry Goodwin

Recorded at a square dance on April 25, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA.

Jerry Goodwin, Caller

Mountain Express:
Chuck Monticello, fiddle
Joe Fry, electric guitar
Bob Hill, piano
Dodie Goodwin, electric bass

Divide the Ring - Jerry Goodwin

In this version of the traditional Cut Off Six / Divide the Ring figure, the active couple turns the others as they stand in a line. Larry Edleman demonstrates this in more detail on the related item.Recorded at a square dance on April 25, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA.Jerry Goodwin, CallerMountain Express: Chuck…

Birdie in the Cage - Jerry Goodwin

Recorded at a square dance on February 7, 1987 at the Prosperity Fire Hall, Washington County, PA.Jerry Goodwin, CallerMountain Express: Chuck Monticello, fiddle Joe Fry, electric guitar Bob Hill, piano Dodie Goodwin, electric bassAdditional versions of Birdie in the Cage can be found here: