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"Dancing to the Music: Domestic Square Dances and Community in Southcentral Kentucky (1880-1940)"

This detailed examination of the role of square dances in south central Kentucky is written by a folklorist, who based his findings on interviews with 20 musicians, dancers, and callers in that region. (Another look at Kentucky dancing, by researcher LeeEllen Friedland in the late 1970s, can be found here.)In his introduction, Feintuch writes:…

Kentuckiana Squares and Rounds

View full record for details.

Big Circle Dance from Carcassonne, KY - Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. In this video, Phil introduces the big set formation danced in Carcassonne, Kentucky; an accompanying video shows actual dance footage.This was recorded at Dare To Be Square on November 19, 2011, at the…

Carcassonne big set - Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison led a workshop session on square dances from the southern Appalachians, focusing on dances from different communities in that region. Carcassonne, Kentucky, still hosts a regular traditional dance series, and these figures are typical of dances there. In this big circle formation, Phil calls two figures-- four leaf clover and lady…

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…

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…

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…

Kentucky Set Running - 1914 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…

Old Side Door: A Kentucky Mountain Dance

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

Set Runnin' in Eastern Kentucky

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

Set Running - Berea Country Dancers

In a voiceover at the start of the clip, the group's director, John Ramsay, speaks about the history of the dance and share some of his philosophy about dance bringing people together.Other "set running" resources on this site include Stew Shacklette talking about the dance's history and providing more detailed instruction and demonstration.

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.