This book examines the dynamism of Appalachian dance traditions and the creativity involved in their evolution. Focusing on six dance communities—three in Eastern Kentucky, one in Northeast Tennessee, and two in Southwest Virginia—the book documents the experience of dancing as people have enjoyed it, or continue to enjoy it. It shows that dance traditions are never static; they constantly shift and change over the course of decades. Like all customs, they are characterized by “flexibility of substance” or continued evolution. Characteristics are retained, discarded, or altered according to adherence to precedents. This is evident in old time square dancing and footwork dancing, both of which have waxed and waned in popularity from decade to decade in all six communities. This book also explores the dance communities' divergent responses to social change, including industrialization, as well as the use of dance for community development.
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