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Folklife Festival 2003 > Appalachia> Performers > Dancers
   
dancers
   
APPALACHIAN DANCE TRADITIONS: A MULTICULTURAL HERITAGE
 
Many cultural groups have made their home in Appalachia and have shared their dancing traditions with one another. Old-time square dancing has been popular among African-American, Native American, and European-American people since at least the middle of the 19th century. The most common form in the Southern mountains is a circle for any number of couples. Two couples join together to make the "square" and dance figures at the direction of a caller. West Virginia and Pennsylvania dancers prefer a four-couple square. Each community has its own favorite figures and its own ways of doing them.

Footwork dancing is known in the Appalachian region by many names: clogging, buckdancing, flatfooting, hoedowning, or jigging. African-American, Native American, and European-American footwork styles blended over the centuries to produce styles of dancing that vary from one community to the next.

Cherokee traditional dances, often using the movements of animals such as the bear, beaver, or quail, were originally performed before a hunt, to give thanks to the animal for providing food, clothing, and tools. Today the dances are performed to demonstrate our close connection with the natural environment.

Since the 1840s, people have come from the mainland of Europe--Switzerland, Croatia, Bulgaria, Italy, and Hungary--to live and work in the Appalachian region and have brought their own dance traditions with them. The rich heritage of Appalachian dance continues to evolve as Hispanics, Hmong, Indians, Pakistanis, and people of other nationalities make the region their home.

 
 

Coming to the festival...

 

Carcassonne Community Dancers

Jon Henrikson, Blackey, Kentucky
James Boggs, Big Laurel, Kentucky
Rachel Boggs, Big Laurel, Kentucky
Loretta Henrikson, Blackey, Kentucky
Beverley Johnson, Amsterdam, New York
Dale Johnson, Amsterdam, New York
Bobbie J. Whitaker, Cromona, Kentucky
Charles Whitaker, Cromona, Kentucky
Charlie Whitaker, Blackey, Kentucky, caller
Joyce Whitaker, Blackey, Kentucky
Ray Slone, Hindman, Kentucky

—From Blackey, Kentucky, this group includes members of the Carcassonne community dance, one of the nation's oldest community square dances. It occurs twice a month in Letcher County, Kentucky, at the old schoolhouse in Carcassonne, and residents still gather to dance a traditional form of square dancing they have preserved since settlement days.
 
The Green Grass Cloggers

Phil Jamison, Asheville, North Carolina
Karen Bartlett, Asheville, North Carolina
Wanda Davidson, Swannanoa, North Carolina
Gordy Hinners, Weaverville, North Carolina
Carol Mallett, Asheville, North Carolina
Hunt Mallett, Asheville, North Carolina
Trina Royar, Asheville, North Carolina
Rodney Sutton, Marshall, North Carolina
—The Green Grass Cloggers were formed in 1971 by North Carolina college students. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, they are known for their high-stepping clogging style.
www.tackytreasures.com/ggc
 
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