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Items from "Southern Appalachian": 136

Glenn Bannerman - big circle dances, audio

Three examples of big sets from western North Carolina, called by Glenn Bannerman with music from the Stoney Creek Boys. These audio files come from two recordings, "Mountain Dance Music Comes Alive" and "Appalachian Clog Dancing and Big Circle Mountain Square Dancing," and are used with Bannerman's permission. You can find more information and…

New Squares - video and web links

Recent years have seen the appearance of a new audience for square dances. One important starting point was a series of dances in the Portland, Oregon, area, led by caller Bill Martin and the Foghorn Stringband. Those dances featured old-time southern Appalachian tunes and high-energy, simple dances, often big sets. A similar pattern has emerged in…

Nils Fredland - Birdie in the Cage and Seven Hands Round

Birdie in the Cage is a traditional square dance figure and a common one; a search for "birdie" on this SDHP website will bring up more than half a dozen other examples. In this version, each of the "birdies" fly out in turn to join another square before they return to their original square at the end of the dance. The figure at the start is also…

Carcassonne big set, #2

This is another example of traditional southern Appalachian big set square dance, recorded by John Ramsay in Carcassonne, Kentucky, September 19, 1991. With relatively few examples on our site of this style of dancing, we have included the dance in its entirety. This one includes at least one figure not shown in #1, lady fall through the old side…

Carcassonne big set, #1

This is an excellent example of traditional southern Appalachian big set square dance, recorded by John Ramsay in Carcassonne, Kentucky, September 19, 1991. ("Big set" is the name given by outsiders; locally it's just "square dance.") The tune is Liza Jane. The caller is Randall Caudill; he is the son of Clifton and Ruby Caudill; they hosted the…

Square Dance - Ary, KY - 1963 (4 cpl square)

see previous item A search for "Grapevine Twist" in this project's digital collection will return references, audio clips, and video clips showing that figure, including Elizabeth Burchenal's silent footage from the 1930s.

Square dance - Ary, KY - 1963 (big set)

The caller is Corbett Grigsby, with music provided by fiddler Marion Sumner and guitarists Martin Young and Roscoe Holcomb. Grigsby introduces the figure as "around behind, lady in the lead."This footage was recorded by filmmaker George Pickow at the Home Place Community Center in Ary, Kentucky, a small town in south central Kentucky. (Ary is about…

Dance to the Music and Listen to the Calls: The Square Dances and Calling of Jerry Goodwin

Larry Edelman produced this video in 1987 while studying square dance calling with Jerry Goodwin. The apprenticeship was supported by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Recorded at the Prosperity Fire Hall in western Pennsylvania the video features Jerry Goodwin calling with the Mountain Express (Chuck Monticello,…

Square Dancing Atop Lookout Mountain

Article by Karen terHorst describes dancing in New Salem, Georgia, an historically-isolated community above Chattanooga, TN. The article is based on her visit to the dance in the 1970s. The dance stopped taking place sometime around 1990.

"New Salem's style is similar to the Appalachian square dancing described by Frank Smith (1955) and Pat…

Traditional Folkdance in Kentucky

Article by LeeEllen Friedland describing the social setting for community dances as well as the dance figures themselves. She differentiates among three types of dance: single dancing, couple dancing and group dancing. Folklorist Burt Feintuch provides a historical look at Kentucky dances in his article here.(excerpt from pp. 6–7) "The…

Set Runnin' in Eastern Kentucky

Description from 1949 by Patrick Napier of traditional square dances in eastern Kentucky.

Old Side Door: A Kentucky Mountain Dance

Article by Patrick E. Napier, originally published in 1949, describing a Kentucky dance figure and its setting.