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Solo Folk Dancing Appalachians

Solo Dancing from the Appalachians - Flat Footing and Buck DancingThe buck dance, flat footing, hoedown, jigging, sure footing, and stepping are all traditional Appalachian solo dances. These names are often interchanged and dancers do not always agree on their use.Most of these dances rely on a fiddle player.Flatfoot dancing is mostly dancing with the feet low-to-the-floor. It is a relaxed style that can make the dance look almost effortless.Buck dancing was popularized in America by minstrel performers in the late nineteenth century. Now days, many dancing clubs perform buck dance and regular clogging at folk festivals and fairs.The term "Buck Dancing" is often used to describe any solo freestyle dancing, and Flatfooting is often referred to as buck dancing.Buck dancing emphasizes percussive rhythms with a greater use of the heel and toe. A buck dancer keeps his weight on the balls of the feet. The heel and toe movements produces clicks, which some people describe as a "patter" sound. The style uses a greater bent leg position that distinguishes it from "shuffle" clogging.In clogging circles, there's some controversy about whether the arms should be used as you dance. Many of the oldtime buck dancers kept their upper bodies almost immobile as they danced, but some dancers find that arm movements help them both keep their balance.Dancing with a partner is known as a "buck and wing" dance.There's Usually a Fiddle Player  What's the Difference Between a Fiddle and a Violin?Not much, if anything.They both look alike and have four strings. There might be a slight difference with American fiddling. Sometimes the bridge may be slightly less curved.A violin is called a fiddle when playing folk music. Fiddle playing, or fiddling, is a style of music.A fiddle may have gut or synthetic strings while a violin has steel strings.Traditionally you sit to play the violin and stand to play the fiddle.The violin player is usually more formal in style and dress. The fiddle player plays exuberantly and wears common, every-day clothes.Violin players most often play classical music and fiddle players play folk music for dancing.Violin music is for listening and fiddle music is for dancing.Fiddle players most often play solo. The violin is often played solo, too, but may be part of a choir.The fiddle player doesn't usually have formal training. The violinist does require training since violin music is harder to learn.Flat Foot Dancing Flat FootingPeople have different definitions of flat footing because of their own experiences.Some people say your foot can't come off the ground more than five inches, or if they can see the soles of your feet, it's not flat footing.But flat footing, like buck dancing is a free style dance, so there are no rules.Flat foot dancing is a rhythmic individual percussive step dance. Chugs, steps, brushes, and scuffs are used to produce sounds that are in time with the music, often old time fiddle tunes. Flat footing is closely related to Buck dancing and often goes by other names such as Appalachian Clogging, Clogging, or Back Stepping.Flat-footers can be found at almost any fiddle convention, music jams, and dances throughout the Appalachian Mountains.The simplicity of the dance makes it enjoyable to perform and watch. It looks like the average Joe out there dancing just for the fun of it.Flat Foot dancers often perform during clogging events. While they all appear to be clogging, you'll never see so much variety in a dance step. The flat foot step has less of a shuffle and is more irregular than the basic clog step, with none of the hopping or springing cloggers often do. It's really interesting just to sit and watch the flat footers, and observe the variations in each individual's step.

Click on the link for the entire article and to see some short videos of buck dancing and flat foot dancing.
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