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Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing

Written in 1949 and republished many times, this is a vital reference for anyone interested in southern Appalachian dance. Patrick Napier is a well-known dance leader at the Christmas Country Dance School in Berea, Kentucky, and this is his compilation of dance figures from eastern Kentucky. It is a PDF file available for download (easier…

Mt. Airy Big Set - Phil Jamison - Southern Appalachian squares

Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. Throughout the weekend, we did several dances in this basic big circle formation. In this version, from the Mt. Airy, NC, region, instead of everyone doing a series of figures at the same time as…

Oh Johnny - Lester Bradley

Big circle mixer. Lester Bradley (caller and guitar) with Paul Amey, fiddle, joined by other musicians: Bob Reed, banjo; David Colburn, guitar; George Randall, 12 string guitar, spoons; Mike Hebb, fiddle; Sylvia Miskoe, accordion; Sue Hunt, accordion; John Derby, mandolin; Samantha Amey, bass; Lynn Bradley Clogston, piano Unlike the more common…

Old Time Square Dancing on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Author Bob Dalsemer discovers a long tradition of the "big circle" square dance on this island off the North Carolina coast, far from the Appalachian Mountains where it is usually encountered.

Shoo-Fly Swing (instruction) - Phil Jamison

See the notes elsewhere comparing this dance with La Boulangère, the only dance mentioned by name by Jane Austen. Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. This was recorded at Dare To Be Square on November 19, 2011, at the John C.…

Shoo-Fly Swing and La Boulangère

Compilation of sources that reveal the similarity between La Boulangère, a European dance around 1800 and the only dance mentioned by name by Jane Austen, and the Shoo-Fly Swing, its American descendant found as the closing figure of a big set dance.

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…