Next Stage Arts Project and the Putney Historical Society present “Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance,” a virtual lecture by scholar of traditional music and dance, Phil Jamison, on Thursday, December 3 at 7:30 pm.
The southern Appalachian square dance is a hybrid dance form that developed in the American South during the nineteenth century, and like the Appalachian musical traditions, these dances reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the region. In this Zoom event, Phil examines the multicultural roots and historical development of these dances and identifies the components of earlier European, African, and Native American dance forms that combined to make them uniquely American. He will also discuss African-American and native American musicians and callers who at one time were present in New England. These include African-American musician and barber John Putnam (1825–1895), who was active as a fiddler and dance prompter in Greenfield, MA during the nineteenth century.
Phil Jamison is nationally known as a dance caller, old-time musician, flatfoot dancer, and scholar of traditional Appalachian dance. A 2017 inductee to the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, he has called dances, performed, and taught at music festivals and dance events throughout the U.S. and overseas since the early 1970s, including forty years as a member of the Green Grass Cloggers. Over the last thirty years, Jamison has done extensive research in the area of Appalachian dance, and his book Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance(University of Illinois Press, 2015) tells the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia. He has given numerous presentations on Appalachian dance – from the Smithsonian Institution to Beijing, China – and he teaches Appalachian music and dance at Warren Wilson College, in Asheville, North Carolina, where for twenty-five years, he served as coordinator of the Old-Time Music and Dance Week at the Swannanoa Gathering.
Proceeds from this event benefit the Putney Historical Society. Advance tickets are $10 for the Zoom presentation or $22 for the Zoom plus a 2021 Putney Historical Society calendar. For more information and to register for the Zoom, visit www.nextstagearts.org.