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Items from "Southern Appalachian": 163

Susan Spalding Appalachian Traditional Dance Video Collection, 1988-2002

This collection consists of video recordings of interviews and community dance activities in eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia, and east Tennessee recorded at various times, 1988-2002.

The videos were recorded as fieldwork by Susan Elke Spalding; many of them are the source files for the film "Step Back Cindy." The footage includes interviews…

The Slave Roots of Square Dancing

This is an easily-read summary of a scholarly article by Phil Jamison on the African-American roots of southern Appalachian dance and, in particular, the pivotal role played by African-American musicians and callers. The summary notes, "Today, few people know about the pivotal role black people once played in helping develop American dance…

Kentucky Square Dance

The author describes in general terms what he prefers to call the Kentucky Square Dance:"The Kentucky Square Dance (Sharp’s original “running set”) is a four couple square formation type dance characterized by a slow running shuffle step, a tempo which averages 150 beats per minute, and a rather definite order of introduction and…

A Tennessee Square Dance

Caller David Hendrix presents a overview of typical figures that he would use in a "square dance" in his region of East Tennessee.He notes that the dances in his region are related to the so-called Kentucky running set, although the style has changed over the years.

Appalachian Circle

A brief look at southern Appalachian circle dances. The author points out how unfamiliar four-couple squares would be to a dance from that region:---A native of the Appalachian Circle country which includes most of Southeastern United States, does indeed find the four couple set of the North and West and Southwest quite different from the home…

Square Dance - Dolores Heagy, 1986

Portion of a square dance called at Tod Whittemore's contra dance series at the VFW in Cambridge, MA. Tod introduced Dolores Heagy by saying how much he values having contra dancers become familiar with other related styles of dance. She was a caller from Pittsburgh, well known for her fast-paced squares.

Cecil Sharp at Pine Mountain Settlement School

Cecil Sharp first encountered southern Appalachian dancing at the Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky on August 31, 1917. (See here for Sharp's notes that day in his diary.) The event became the focal point of Part 5 of Sharp's Country Dance Book series.That visit is recalled here, in the 1919 Notes from the school.A detailed account of the…

Eastern Kentucky Folk Dancing Oral History Project

This is a collection of recorded interviews that document the development of
traditional square and related dance activity in southeastern Kentucky. The interviews were with mostly elderly residents of Harlan, Letcher, and Leslie Counties and were recorded by Peter Rogers in 1975.

At the moment (July 2016) the audio files and transcriptions…

Square Dancing in the Kentucky Foothills

Based in extensive interviews, audio files and video recordings, the author has compiled a detailed look at dancing in the area around Berea, Kentucky. Her introduction provides a broad look at the topic:

"In Berea and surrounding counties, square dancing, the type done in a big circle that divides into smaller “squares” of two couples,…

Finding List of Southeastern Square Dance Figures

Author J. Olcutt Sanders embarked on a serious effort to track down examples in other regions of square dance figures found in the Southeastern United States. He devised a shorthand method of categorizing figures, and his work is a useful reference from 1942. Sanders summarizes his work thus:

"Despite search in many of the major libraries of the…

Bird in the Cage - D. B. Hendrix, 1952

This is third of three articles from Progressive Farmer featuring East Tennessee caller D. B., Hendrix. Here he provides directions forhis version of a classic square dance figure. A biography of the author can be found at the related item, "Smoky Mountain Square Dances."

"The Square Dance" - David Hendrix, 1951

East Tennessee caller D. B., Hendrix provides a general introduction to square dancing. He writes, "Square dancing is easy to learn. Anyone who can march or keep time to music can learn it. in nearly every community there is at least one person who can call square dances to some degree. Form a square dance group in your community. Eight couples are…

Tennessee Star - David Hendrix, 1951

East Tennessee caller D. B., Hendrix provides directions for this big set variation of the Texas Star. A biography of the author can be found at the related item, "Smoky Mountain Square Dances."

Maggie Valley - Mountain Square Dance

Haywood County, North Carolina has long been known for its dancing. This was the home of Sam Queen’s Soco Gap Square Dancers, who were invited, in 1939, to perform for the king and queen of England at the Roosevelt White House. (See Related items) In 1993, former members of Queen’s dance team, including Richard Queen (Sam Queen’s…

It's Fun To Square Dance

This booklet is profusely illustrated with photographs and diagrams, making the dance figures easy to understand. Lunsford was the founder in 1928 of the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville, and continued as organizer and performer there until 1965. He played a key role in popularizing southern mountain dancing. From Lunsford's…

East Tennessee Square Dance Calls

This 1938 collection of more than 50 dances was written in Oklahoma, where the author explains that he has received "many requests for some East Tennessee square dance calls, or figures." He adds that "the dance figures contained herein are common to both East Tennessee and Oklahoma, as well as to other parts of the country..." The dances in this…

Square Dancing in the Mountains of Eastern Kentucky

NOTE: To read the actual booklet, choose the links above. Numbers 1 & 3 are large files and, depending on your internet speed, might take a while to load. This 1971 collection begins with a somewhat romanticized introduction to dancing in the region. Dance descriptions include figures for the Kentucky Running Set and the Big Set, as well as…

Kentucky Square Dances

An early (1928) collection of figures collected "from callers in Kentucky who are familiar with the old square dances as they are danced in the Kentucky Mountains and elsewhere in the state."

Fiddlin' and Square Dancing Are Back

Newspaper article (1971) written by caller Betty Casey, describing the start of the Green Grass Cloggers.Percussive clogging in choreographed routines had been made popular at the Mountain Dance and Music Festival started by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1928. The Green Grass Cloggers, a group of young dancers coming from the counterculture of the…

Cabool, Missouri - Square dance with Bob Holt

This is the last of 11 clips filmed at a 1997 dance in Cabool, Missouri, featuring fiddler Bob Holt, a National Heritage Fellowship recipient. Calling is done by dancers in the squares, different squares are doing different dances at different times, and the footwork is characteristic Ozark jigging. Fiddler Bob Holt was known for setting rapid…