Communities in Motion: Dance, Community, and Tradition in America's Southeast and Beyond

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Overview

For the first time, a book on vernacular dance provides detailed case studies about a range of forms: old-time square dancing in Virginia, Indiana, and Newfoundland; African-American step shows; clogging; Cherokee traditional dance; historical reconstructions of 18th-century dance; and modern contra. This book fills a need from graduate studies to high schools, which are mandated under the Educate America Act to teach dance in historical and cultural perspective. Those interested in folklore, anthropology, dance history, ethnology, aesthetics, American Studies, Appalachian Studies, and more, will benefit from this work as they learn how vernacular dance reflects and shapes communities.

The work is divided into four sections. Each section is prefaced with an introductory essay that sets the essays and interviews into a theoretical context. Continuity and Change deals primarily with dance forms that have developed organically within a community. Conserving Tradition considers the conscious efforts of people from a particular culture to maintain a vernacular dance tradition in the face of change. Inventing Tradition examines revival dance and historical dance reconstructions. Finally, Practical Suggestions for the Documentation of Traditional Dance will benefit readers who want to try their hands at research and documentation.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Informed by the utter collapse of preconceptions about the purity of transmitted folk customs, dancers, musicians, and scholars present 20 essays on vernacular dance as currently performed by serious but non-professional dancers in the Appalachian region. Including dances by people of European, African, and Native American descent, they cover continuity and change, conserving and inventing traditions, and suggestions for documenting dance. The collection was prepared under the auspices of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

Meet the Author

SUSAN EIKE SPALDING is coordinator of the Dance Initiative for the Minnesota Center for Arts Education.

JANE HARRIS WOODSIDE is assistant director of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University.

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Table of Contents

Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Frolics, Hoedowns, and Four-Handed Reels: Variations in Old-Time Dancing in Three Southwest Virginia Communities 11
2 "You Have to Watch Your People": Calling Old-Time Appalachian Square Dance. An Interview with Veronia Miller 31
3 Square Dancing in the Rural Midwest: Dance Events and the Location of Community 35
4 "There's a Lot of Pride Wrapped Up in What We Do": Reminiscences of a Fraternity Stepper. An Interview with Charles Collier 47
5 Stepping, Saluting, Cracking, and Freaking: The Cultural Politics of African American Step Shows 51
6 Anglo-American Dance in Appalachia and Newfoundland: Toward a Comparative Framework 73
7 Finding the Way between the Old and the New: The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival and Bascom Lamar Lunsford's Work as a Citizen 91
8 Wild and Yet Really Subdued: Cultural Change, Stylistic Diversification, and Personal Choice in Traditional Appalachian Dance 111
9 Carrying on the Old Mountain Clog Dance: Thoughts about Freestyle Clogging. An Interview with Bob Phillips 127
10 "Clogging Is Country": A Precision Clogger's Perspective. An Interview with Barbara Bogart 133
11 "I Want To Show These Young People What We Used To Do": A Cherokee Revivalist Remembers. An Interview with Walker Calhoun 137
12 "Everybody Needs Identity": Reviving Cherokee Dance 141
13 The Green Grass Cloggers: The Appalachian Spirit Goes International 169
14 "We Tended To Project a Lot of Energy": Reminiscences about the Early Days of the Green Grass Cloggers. An Interview with Dudley Culp 175
15 Folk Dance in the Early Years of the John C. Campbell Folk School 179
16 Old-Time Fiddling and Country Dancing in North America: Some Reconsiderations 191
17 Dance, Our Dearest Diversion: Historical Dance Reconstruction in Colonial Williamsburg 203
18 Yuppies Invaded My Tradition at Midnight: A Sociological Study of a Contemporary American Contra Dance 221
19 Collecting Traditional Appalachian Square Dances 239
20 How To Document Dance: From the Notes to Talking Feet 245
Conclusion 249
Bibliography 253
Index 263
About the Contributors 271
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