BOONE - Appalachian State University’s Center for Appalachian Studies announced their inaugural Global Roots of Appalachian Mountain Dance Symposium. Scheduled for March 31 to April 2, this symposium is free to anyone wishing to attend and will include performances, workshops, jams, film screenings and discussions, lecture demonstrations, a keynote panel and social dances of the diverse traditions that make up the global roots of Appalachian dance. Activities are located on campus throughout the event and Saturday features workshops and demonstrations at the Jones House in Boone as well as the Florence Thomas Art School in West Jefferson. Participants can expect to be introduced to a variety of dance and music traditions including West African, Afro-Caribbean, Cherokee and Irish dance traditions. Additionally, Appalachian dance traditions, such as flatfooting and buckdancing, and their close “cousins,” such as tapping, will be featured throughout the weekend.
Dr. Julie Shepherd-Powell, assistant professor of Appalachian Studies and organizer of the symposium, has worked in conjunction with the Center for Appalachian Studies to invite internationally renowned lecturers and performers from both within and outside of the Appalachian Mountains to participate throughout the weekend. In addition to lecturing and performing, these individuals will lead opportunities for symposium participants to experience these dance traditions first hand.
Notable performers and presenters include the Raven Rock Dancers of Cherokee, North Carolina, a group founded by Cherokee elder Walker Calhoun (1918-2012); Thomas F. DeFrantz, scholar of African American studies and dance who will perform and present on early African American dance traditions; Phil Jamison, Appalachian dance performer, caller, and historian, and author of Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance; John Turner, a renowned Watauga County flatfoot dancer, square dance caller, and dance board maker; the Green Grass Cloggers of Asheville, NC, a traditional Appalachian dance collective celebrating their 50th anniversary (2021); Sherone Price, a West African dancer and Associate Professor of Dance at ASU; and Khalid Saleem, an internationally renowned African drummer who will also serve as an artist-in-residence throughout the weekend.
Highlights of the weekend include a keynote panel exploring the historical roots of mountain dance at 4 p.m. and a performance featuring a variety of dance styles at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 1, and a round robin style social dance featuring Afro Caribbean, céilí, and square dances on Saturday, April 2, at 7 p.m.
This event is made possible by support from the North Carolina Humanities Council, the North Carolina Arts Council and combined efforts of the ASU Center for Appalachian Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences and local music and dance groups and participants. The entire three day Global Roots of Appalachian Mountain Dance Symposium is free and open to the public as well as students and ASU faculty and staff. Please direct any questions to the Center for Appalachian Studies.
To learn more about the symposium and to view the entire symposium schedule, please visit our website at appcenter.appstate.edu/globalroots.