John Ramsay - Set Running, a Southern Folk Dance


John Ramsay - Set Running, a Southern Folk Dance


Southern Appalachian - general


This article, written in 1987 and updated in 2013 by longtime dancer, caller, and organizer John Ramsay, presents his views on what has been termed "set running," a style of dance that was named by folklorist Cecil Sharp when he came upon it in Harlan County, Kentucky, in 1917. The form is sometimes called the "Kentucky Running Set," though there is no evidence that the dancers from whom Sharp learned it used either term. The dance is related to the Big Circle dances that are common in southern Appalachian mountain communities. Taking set running as an early form, Ramsay looks at other branches that formed distinctive square dance styles.


John Ramsay

Date Created


Spatial Coverage

USA, Kentucky

Item Relations

This item has no relations.