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Appalachian DanceCreativity and Continuity in Six Communities$
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Susan Eike Spalding

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038549

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038549.001.0001

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Mr. Perry’s Sweet Shop and a New Old Time Dance

Mr. Perry’s Sweet Shop and a New Old Time Dance

(p.96) 5. Mr. Perry’s Sweet Shop and a New Old Time Dance
Appalachian Dance

Susan Eike Spalding

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the role of of cultural exchange in the evolution of old time dancing and the creation of a new style in dance in the coal town of Dante in Russell County, Virginia. It begins with a historical background on the Cumberland Plateau and the town of Dante as well as the community's transition from farming to coal mining. It then discusses the impact of social and economic factors, including the interaction among local residents, African American southerners, and European immigrants, on Dante's dance traditions. It also looks at the exchange of dance ideas that took place in venues like Mr. Perry's Sweet Shop, along with the ways that dancing forged connections among African American communities in the coalfields. Finally, it explores changes in the old time dancing in Dante, citing the role played by the values embedded in the movement of the old and new dances and to people's beliefs about community, change, and the individual's relationship to it.

Keywords:   cultural exchange, old time dancing, Dante, Virginia, African American southerners, European immigrants, dance traditions, African American communities, coalfields, dance style

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