“Now everybody Forward and Back”, all join hands and walk that track, circle ’round, now circle back, promenade home with Jill and Jack!”
In front of the Asheville Civic Center there is a public art display of a couple of bronze statues of a man and woman dancing to a fiddler. That, in a nutshell, defines the long tradition of music and dance in Western North Carolina. In this region of Buncombe and Madison counties, one can dance to contra (lines) or traditional squares at any number of places on any given night of the week. The Grey Eagle Monday night dance and the Warren Wilson College Farmer’s Ball dance on Thursday nites are weekly gatherings where a several hundred individuals gather to a variety of local and traveling string bands. These dances have become institutions on their own and, when combined with the world famous “Sit-Down” dance (featured during the Saturday night summer Shindig on the Green series in downtown Asheville), complete the circle for dancers of all ages and skills.
In addition to being socially remarkable and great way to meet people of all ages, it is also great exercise and includes everybody in the room, even if you are sitting down. Target Entertainment can bring this very quality to your event. With a dance caller and as little as 8 people, a three-man string band can provide hours of easy fun on any lawn, sidewalk or back barn. Much of the music played for these types of dances comes from the age-old Appalachian mountain tunes passed down over hundreds of years and generation after generation. The music is called “old-time music” because it has always been around: before the dawn of radio and bluegrass. There is another saying: Rock and roll might be here to stay, but that old-time music never went away.
That’s because, in Western North Carolina, if you don’t learn to play an instrument, you learn to clog. Some of those folks “from not around” would call this tap-dancing and indeed, some dancers do have metal taps on their special dance shoes. Nearly every town and church has it’s own set of cloggers. There are groups with matching uniforms and poodle skirts to earthy dance collectives like the famous “Green Grass Cloggers” who are celebrating over 40 years together as a performing dance troup. In terms of clean fun entertainment, clogging is universal in Western North Carolina.
Target Entertainment’s Boys of Buncombe, the Good Ol Mountain Dewds, and the Ribtips provide the right back-up for any dance. With a dance ‘caller’, all the dances are taught on the spot and feature in-depth instruction when the “calls” get a little more complicated. Traditional tunes like the Arkansas Traveler, Soldiers Joy, and Texas Gals will get the whole crowd moving and clapping along.
For more info about contra dancing or square dances please click here