Since 1938, the Berea College Country Dancers have been performing and leading workshops regionally, nationally, and internationally, bringing dances of Europe and the Appalachian region to exuberant audiences, and sharing the joy of dancing. The group has toured Denmark, England, Japan, Mexico, and Central America, as well as much of the United States. Visits to a school or community may last a day, a week, or longer. For example, the Country Dancers conducted a week-long residency in a Minnesota school system. In the fall semesters, we usually travel to nearby dance communities and schools, such as our recent trips to Louisville, Carcassonne, and Sand Gap Kentucky. In the spring, our longer break allows us to travel farther afield, such as New York and northern New Jersey; Nashville, Tennessee; Washington, D.C., Helvetia, West Virginia; or the Florida coast. The Country Dancers have performed at many festivals from the Apple Festival in Paintsville, Kentucky to the Wimborne Folk Festival in southern England. Please click on the links below to experience the flavor of a Country Dancers performance.
The Country Dancers offer a program demonstrating similarities between local dances and their European counterparts:
- English Country Dances and American Contra Dances are organized so that everyone has the opportunity to dance with everyone else, helping to build an atmosphere of cooperation.
- Morris and sword dances from the British Isles date from the fifteenth century. With clacking sticks and ringing bells, they harken back to festivals welcoming the change of the seasons.
- Dances from Denmark reflect the energetic and very sociable Danish culture.
- And of course, old time Appalachian square dance and clogging show the heritage and spirit of the region in which we reside.
All the dancers are full time students from many disciplines who dedicate themselves to dancing and sharing dance with others. Live music by our talented student Country Dance Band is one of the joys of Country Dancer performances and workshops.
Danish American Exchange representative Kristine Petersen joins the Country Dancers, leading warm-ups and teaching Danish dances. She is available for discussions on Danish culture, history, lifestyle, and education with students, educators, and community members.
The Country Dancer program focuses on the National Dance Standards through dance, history, and culture.
The Country Dancers offer:
- Assembly programs
- Workshops for students of all ages
- Formal performances
- Community dances for school and community organizations
We would be delighted to be a part of your community.
For information, contact:
Deborah Thompson, Coordinator
Berea, Kentucky 40404