APPALACHIAN CLOGGING

Choreography: Hilary Roberts
Instrumental Music: Traditional, Julianne Johnson, Spotted Pony, Kiowa Special, George Booker
With its foundations in Irish and English step dancing, Appalachian Clogging is a subtle combination of European, African, and Native American dance elements. The resulting blend is a high-spirited demonstration of precision footwork and complex traditional patterns.

SQUARES



Choreography: Erik Hoffman
Instrumental Music: Traditional, Flop Eared Mule, Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
The square dance is a form developed in early New England communities, combining elements of English Morris dances and contra dances, the French quadrille, Irish country dances, and African dance. The "caller" is America's only unique contribution to the square dance: as the dance evolved increasingly complex patterns, a caller gave cues to the steps and formations. This piece shows the dynamic form of square dancing that evolved in the 1950s, with formations like the "Harlem rosette" and the "teacup chain.” 

EAST TEXAS KNOCKDOWN

Choreography: Neal Sandler and Hilary Roberts
Song & Instrumental Music: Traditional, Old Plank Road
Vocal Arrangement by Suzanne Leonora
On to the taverns of East Texas! The 1930’s is the setting for this raucous dance where men and women, spurred on by local string band musicians, take turns showing off their favorite steps in good-natured competition. The town “fool,” who opens the dance, is affectionately tolerated by the townsfolk because she reminds everyone of life’s absurdities. Despite her clownish nature, the fool is the leader of the whole dance. With her encouragement, the energy builds as dancers vie for center stage until the entire tavern is up and dancing! They’ll dance and dance until they are so beat that they feel “knocked down.”

SAILOR'S HORNPIPE

Choreography: Hilary Roberts
Based on research by Julie Ann Keller and Chris Campbell
Sea Shanties: Traditional, Arranged by Bon Brown, Maui, John Kanakanaka
Instrumental Music: Traditional, Off to California, Lamplighters Hornpipe, Staten Island Hornpipe
Daily toils and rare light-hearted moments are relived in this suite set aboard a 19th-century North American whaling ship. Singing sea shanties was encouraged as it helped the sailors to pace their work, and it also forged the camaraderie and interdependence that was crucial to survival in their dangerous line of work. The songs featured here were written about the often traveled journey from San Francisco to Hawaii. The sailor’s hornpipe steps are based on those of Scottish Highland dancers. On rare occasions when they were not hard at work, sailors would show off with their high-stepping, intricate footwork. Accompanied by fiddle, the Hornpipe thrived as a means of release and competition on board and in port.

KENTUCKY RUNNING SETS


Choreography: Hilary Roberts
Instrumental Music: Traditional, Mississippi Sawyer, Goodbye Liza Jane, Kitchen Girl, Little Liza Jane
Up next, grab a partner and circle south! Kentucky Running Sets, a direct descendant of a dance form that existed in England prior to 1650, is the earliest of all American Western dances. Starting with the traditional European steps, the settlers picked up the pace to a running stride. A caller was added to the dance, yelling out playful rhymes to communicate the next figures, while the dancers added their own hoots and hollers to stir up the excitement. Having been danced in isolation in the Appalachian Mountains for generations, these Running Sets were brought to light by English dance scholar Cecil Sharp in 1917.

LINDY HOP

Choreography: Frankie Manning, Christine Sampson, Julie Ann Keller, Hilary Roberts, Yael Schy
Songs & Instrumental Music: Jukebox Saturday Night (Stillman & McGrane), Tuxedo Junction (Hawkins, Johnson & Dash), Wolverine Blues (Jelly Roll Morton), Posin' (Cahn & Chaplin)
This joint is jumpin’! By the time America reached the 1940’s, all across the country’s dance floors young people were swinging out to Big Band sounds, showing off with Shim Sham Shimmy, Black Bottom, Posin’, Charleston, and Lindy Hop. These were dances introduced in earlier decades by the Black communities, emerging from the Southern juke joints and Harlem night clubs, eventually exploding into a national obsession. This suite takes you right into the dance halls where folks are strutting their stuff in a show of jazz moves, where fun and flirting is all the rage.

DANCES OF THE PROGRESSIVE ERA

Choreography: Richard Powers
Staging: Hilary Roberts
Instrumental Music: At a Georgia Camp Meeting (K. Mills), Down Home Rag (W.C. Sweatman), At the Jazz Band Ball (unknown), The Varsity Drag (deSilva, Brown, Harrison), Dippermouth Blues (King Oliver)
The Progressive Era, spanning the late 1800’s through the 1920’s, was a time of huge social change in almost all facets of American life the integration of electricity, telephones, and automobiles into everyday life; industry, labor, and immigration reform; the social consequences of prohibition and women’s suffrage; and the mass migration of Blacks to the north. All of these things revolutionized modes of creative expression in America, especially dance and music. This suite explores some of the more provocative and socially relevant styles of the era. First up is the Cakewalk Quadrille, originally known as the Chalk Line Walk. It started back in the 1850’s in Florida as Black slaves imitated the solemn Seminole Indian processions. Over time it became an exaggerated parody of the mannerisms of the Big House, or the Master’s house. The slaves would have such fun strutting, bowing, waving canes, and doffing hats, that many of the slave owners found it amusing and even staged contests between plantations, with a cake as the prize. By the 1890’s Whites in blackface started dancing the Cakewalk in traveling minstrel shows and then in big city venues in Chicago, on Coney Island, and in New York City dance halls. It also became a social dance form in White society and its popularity lasted through the first two decades of the 20th Century. Next is the original Two-Step Polka, which came out of the 19th-century polka craze but was made smoother and slower to accommodate heavy dresses and petticoats. It caught on with the public when John Phillip Sousa came out with dance marches such as the Washington Post March in 1891, but these were quickly dropped for Ragtime tunes when the new sound took the country by storm at the turn of the century. Now the dancers pull out the Texas Tommy, said by many to be the first swing dance because it was the first social dance to introduce breakaway steps in the basic eight-count rhythm. Although it is impossible to say who was the true inventor of the dance, some claim it was two African Americans, Johnny Peters and Mary Dewsen, who first brought the dance from the South to San Francisco in 1909. Later Peters and his new partner Ethel Williams would perform it regularly at the Fairmont Hotel. Al Jolsen often came to the Barbary Coast after doing his own shows downtown, just to watch the Texas Tommy Dancers, and eventually he contracted to take a team on the road back east to New York. The rest is history! Featured next is the Charleston, popularized by James P. Johnson’s all-Black Broadway musical Runnin’ Wild. Although it was one of the many hastily written numbers in the show, the Charleston struck a nerve with the public, and soon it became one of the biggest hits of the decade. Unlike the Texas Tommy, which never really caught on outside the Black community due to its technical difficulty, the Charleston moved quickly into the White world. Since then it has been most frequently associated with the speakeasies of the Prohibition era. There young flapper girls and boys would dance alone or together as a way of mocking the “drys,” or those who supported the ban on liquor. During this time, the dance was considered immoral and provocative and caused quite a stir in “respectable” circles. But the Charleston lived on and was one of the dances from which the Lindy Hop developed in the late 1920’s and early ‘30’s. However, in the years before Shorty George Snowden even named those new breakaway dance moves the Lindy Hop, Harlem was already hopping to a thriving music and dance scene. Every evening the hot bands would play to packed dance halls, but the real party would start after hours. Virtuoso piano players, the masters of the dazzling Stride style, would hold highly competitive “cutting” contests. At these all-night dances held in crowded apartments (where the price of admission helped hold off the landlord) the original Lindy style was born.

DANCES OF BAJA CALIFORNIA

Choreography: Rudy Garcia
Instrumental Music: Traditional, El Apasionado, La Californiana, La Suegra, El Azul Cielo
Due to its extreme climate, geographical isolation, and poor resources, Baja California remained a backwater region until the California and Alaska Gold Rushes, when it became a stop on the sea route to the gold fields. In came a rush of European immigrants, some of whom decided to stay rather than press on to the north. Their cultural backgrounds blended with those of Spanish and Indian blood to form a new amalgam, and the dance forms that emerged combined European styles waltzes, mazurkas, schottisches, and redovas with the local flair. The musical group, the Cuchi, featured accordion, snare drum, violin, and bass fiddle, and the dance style was called “Alsada,” or raised step, because of the exaggerated high-stepping movements.

HAMBONE

Choreography: Mark Anderson, Erik Hoffman and Mark Ryken
When the slave laws of 1740 forbade the African slaves to beat drums or play musical instruments, their spirit could not be broken. In their resourcefulness, they used hand claps, foot beats, and body slaps to make music. Hambone, a display of percussive rhythms in which the human body is the instrument, is a precursor to many American dances such as clogging, tap, and step.

DANCES FROM CAJUN COUNTRY

Choreography: Jerry Duke
Staging: Hilary Roberts
Songs: Traditional
Instrumental Music: Traditional, Festival Waltz, Fais Do-Do, Colinda, Port Arthur Blues / Acadian Two-Step / Madeleine
The Cajuns came to Louisiana by a circuitous route. They are descendants of French immigrants who settled in Nova Scotia and became known as Acadians. In 1755 they were ousted from their settlements by the British and headed to Louisiana, which was rumored to be more welcoming to French Catholics than the northern colonies. They ended up in back country around Lafayette, where they established a distinctive culture, filled with Creole, Spanish, African, Caribbean, English, German, and Native American influences. This suite is set in the 1940’s and, through a rich weaving of song and dance, tells of Cajun rituals and customs that flourished in the local dance halls. The traditional songs, Cajun Waltz, and Contra provide a way to renew old ties, make new friends, and affirm the community’s identity. Then, to warm up the party, the band strikes up the fast-paced Two Step with its twists and turns that are quintessentially Cajun.

SING OUT JUBILEE!

Chorus Director: Bon Singer
Songs: Traditional
From the Pacific to the Atlantic, from the beginning of America’s history to the present, Jubilee takes you on a song filled journey through America. From Ballads and Southern Shape Note Hymns, to Old Time tunes, New England Whaling songs, Swing Era hits, and more, Jubilee sings out! Singing of love’s finer times and deceptions, life’s toils and troubles, the fun times, the hard times, to mark a precious moment, singing for spiritual guidance or to make the work go faster, Jubilee sings to tell the tales of life.

JUBILEE AMERICAN STRING BAND

Music Director: Hap Engle
Songs: Traditional
Instrumental Music: Traditional
In a musical display of hard-driving Old Time tunes, Swing Era sounds, Tex-Mex border melodies, Bluegrass breakdowns, Cowboy Swing that’ll have you hopping, Cajun Country tunes and more, the Jubilee American String Band, takes you on a romping tour of the United States! With a cadre of talented musicians in their own right, playing instruments such as fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, accordion, trumpet, sax, bass, and drums, they are what makes the dancers’ feet do their thing and what will have you out of your seats stomping and clapping to the tunes that have made this melting-pot called America so great!