Appalachian dance film premiering at D&E
Free showing is part of Augusta Spring Music Week
ELKINS – “Reel ‘Em Boys, Reel “Em,” a film produced by The Mountain Dance Trail that documents Appalachian dance traditions, will premier at 7 p.m. today as part of Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College’s Spring Music Week.
The free showing will be open to the public at Eshleman Science Center room 400 on the D&E campus.
In 2013, Mountain Dance Trail Coordinators Rebecca Hill and Gerry Milnes were awarded a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council to create the film. The Mountain Dance Trail is a cultural heritage tourism project of Augusta Heritage Center and Davis & Elkins College that preserves and promotes the tradition of old-time square dancing in rural communities throughout West Virginia.
The film celebrates the exceptional endurance of traditional dance in West Virginia, while discussing and revealing centuries-old dance customs as they exist today.
“We hope this film will instill pride in those who are involved with preserving square dance and flatfooting traditions, and that it will serve as an educational tool when people look at Appalachian culture and dance traditions,” says Hill, who co-produced the film along with Milnes.
“Reel ‘Em Boys, Reel ‘Em” features West Virginia traditional square dancing and step dancing, and follows The Mountain Dance Trail as it winds across the Mountain State. Interviews with square dance callers, old-time musicians, dancers and dance historians, along with current square dance footage and archival footage from Augusta Heritage Center, are combined to create a film that celebrates the importance of old-time music and dance.
The Mountain Dance Trail kicked off its third season in February with more than 100 square dances and live music slated every weekend. The program works with 16 communities extending from just over the Virginia line to the Ohio border.
Square dances this week are scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday at the Randolph County Community Arts Center and at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ireland Community Center in Lewis County. To learn more about community square dances throughout the state, visit www.mountaindancetrail.org or to request a 2014 brochure, call 304-637-1209.
A Center of Excellence for more than 40 years, Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College offers several week-long programs featuring instruction in many traditions of music, dance, craft and folklore. Concerts, dances, a summer festival and other heritage arts events are part of the Augusta experience. Augusta Heritage Center is also home to significant collections of field recordings, oral histories, photographs, instruments and Appalachian art.
Support for The Mountatin Dance Trail project is provided by the West Virginia Humanities Council, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the Country Song and Dance Society and the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more information, please visit the D&E website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.