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PUTNEY — A scholar of traditional music and dance will present a virtual lecture about southern Appalachian dance.

Next Stage Arts Project and the Putney Historical Society present “Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance,” a talk by Phil Jamison, at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 3.

The southern Appalachian square dance is a hybrid dance form that developed in the American South during the 19th century and, like the Appalachian musical traditions, these dances reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the region.

In this Zoom event, Jamison examines the multicultural roots and historical development of these dances and identifies the components of earlier European, African and Native American dance forms that were combined. He will also discuss African American and Native American musicians and callers who at one time were present in New England. These include African American musician and barber John Putnam (1825–1895), who was a fiddler and dance prompter in Greenfield, Mass., during the 19th century.

Jamison is nationally known as a dance caller, old-time musician, flatfoot dancer and scholar of traditional Appalachian dance. A 2017 inductee to the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, he has called dances, performed and taught at music festivals and dance events around the country and overseas since the early 1970s. He was a member of the Green Grass Cloggers for 40 years.

Over the last 30 years, Jamison has done extensive research on Appalachian dance, and his book, “Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance” tells the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia. He has given numerous presentations on Appalachian dance, and teaches Appalachian music and dance at Warren Wilson College, in Asheville, North Carolina.

Proceeds from this event benefit the Putney Historical Society. Advance tickets are $10 for the Zoom presentation or $22 for the event, plus a 2021 Putney Historical Society calendar. For more information, and to register, visit

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