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From Our House to the White House

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From Our House to the White House

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From Our House to the White House

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Mountain Square Dancing in the 1920's – 1930's


Note: The video cannot be played in this window. Click on the title link above. From that website, click on the link to the actual movie. It's the third item in the right-hand column, under The Arts Collection.

As of June 2013, the video has been removed "for budgetary reasons" from its host site.

From Our House to the White House
This half-hour documentary tells the story of Sam Queen and the Soco Gap Dancers from the Maggie Valley area of North Carolina. They are widely credited with popularizing an exciting form of clogging into square dance, and they were regularly featured at Bascom Lamar Lunsford's Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville, NC.

Sam Queen, "the dancingest man in the land," was the group's leader; he had learned to call from Bob Love, an African-American dance caller.

Team dances were first performed at that event in 1927, but starting in the 1930s the Soco Gap Dancers took first prize with their energetic style that combined southern Appalachian big set figures with clog steps instead of the smooth, low-to-the-ground footwork that characterized most square dancing at that time and place. The Soco Gap Dancers went on to widespread acclaim, performing around the country and winning additional competitions.

Ruth Pershing writes, "Team clogging is a relatively new composite dance form that began in the 1920s in western North Carolina. It was initiated when The Smokey Mountain Dancers first performed at the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival in 1927 in Asheville. By 1938, team clogging had its own competition at the Lunsford Festival, and it was won by the well known Soco Gap Dancers from the Maggie Valley area. They performed freestyle buck dance steps continuously while doing mountain style square dance figures called by one of the dancers."

In 1939, the dancers were invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to perform at the White House for the visiting King and Queen of England. The queen is supposed to have remarked that the dancers' footwork was very much like clogging in her country, and the name stuck.

This documentary tells their story, with lots of archival photographs supplementing interviews with members of the team, now in their later years. Starting at 21:15, there is also archival footage of the dancers taken in the 1930s.


North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

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This Item is related to Item: Soco Gap Dancers
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