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

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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 years, from generation to generation, in a manner corresponding to "oral transmission" in the case of folk song, eventually becoming an established tradition of a people.

"The present study of folk dances of the United States is confined to four principal regional types which may be said to be classifiable as folk dances indigenous to and distinctive of this country, whose origins may be accounted for by investigation of the early colonisation and settling of the regions in which they are centred. These are dances, the grass roots of which were in the life and conditions of our early colonists (and later of our western pioneers and settlers) which through the years evolved into a native form and became traditional and characteristic of rural United States.

"... The four distinctive regional types of American folk dances with which we are concerned are as follows: (I) New England Country Dances, (2) Appalachian Mountain Dances, (3) the Mid-West and Mid-South Play Party Games, and (4) the countrywide Square Dances."

She examines colonial settlement patterns and then describes each of her four regional types in more detail.


Journal of the International Folk Music Council, Vol. 3 (1951), pp. 18-21

Date Created

July 18, 1951

Item Relations

This Item is related to Item: Elizabeth Burchenal footage 1 - Old Dan Tucker