Folk Dancing by Erica Nielson (2011) ISBN: 978-0-313-37688-7 is part of the ABC-CLIO’s American Dance Floor Series. The book covers the history of social dancing in North America, with emphasis on the 20th century folk dance movement. Between 2008 and 2011, author Nielson traveled to dance events across the United States and interviewed over 100 people for this one-of-a-kind, must-have book.

Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics – Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance by Phil Jamison (2015) ISBN: 978-0-252-03927-0. Old-time musician and flatfoot dancer Phil Jamison journeys into the past and surveys the present to tell the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia. He argues that these distinctive folk dances are not the unaltered jigs and reels of the early British settlers, but hybrids that developed over time by adopting and incorporating elements from other popular forms. He traces the forms from their European, African American, and Native American roots to the modern day. From the Shoo-fly Swing to the Virginia Reel, Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics reinterprets an essential aspect of Appalachian culture.

The Bible in Israeli Folk Dance by Matti Goldschmidt (Viersen 2001 (Germany) ISBN: 3-933512-12-3. Examines every Israeli folk dance at hand and choses those whose lyrics can be traced back to the Bible. Containes researched development of the dances and describes their origins. Deals with preconceived notions of supposedly “biblical” dances, and sets the record straight. Wherever possible, Goldschmidt has included detailed descriptions of the dances and pictures for illustration.

Black Dance from 1619 to Today by Lynne Fauley Emery (Princeton: Princeton Book Co., 1988); $19.95.  A complete and fascinating history with many notes and quotes, and a foreword by Katherine Dunham.  Lynne Emery is a social scientist and historian who has a great knowledge of dance. It is available at commercial bookstores.

Cultures and Styling in Folk Dance by Sanna Longden and Phyllis Weikart (Ypsilanti, Mich.: High/Scope Press, 1998) $37.95.  Written for schoolteachers, and a companion to Phyllis Weikart’s other books, it is useful for anyone who teaches folk dance.  The book gives up-to-date background for 27 cultures, discusses dance styling, traditional music, and lots more.  In addition, it contains photos from performing ensembles, festivals, folk dance groups, and overseas travel.  400 pages. Contact Sanna for information.

Dancing Through Time: Western Social Dance in Literature, 1400-1918, Allison Thompson, compiler. A survey of social dance, and the ballroom as a setting for social interaction, in the lives of English and U.S. middle and upper classes. 88 literary excerpts, full index, hardcover, 259 pages, $41.50.  CDSS, P.O. Box 338, Haydenville, MA 01039; 413/268-7426;

Folk Dance Problem Solver by Dr. Ron Houston.  Dance descriptions (there are *22* in this series) and other information. This series of books and the newsletter, “Report to Members,” is available when you join Ron’s Society of Folk Dance Historians, 2100 Rio Grande, Austin, TX 78705.  Or write to Dr. Houston and ask for back issues.

Dance A While by Cathy L. Dark, Jane A. Harris, Anne M. Pittmann, Marlys S. Waller.  (9th Edition) If you want to teach your class something about partner, folk, social, contra, and ballroom dance, it is here. This book covers everything from A to Z. It even gives you a glossary just in case you did not know some of those square dance calls. And, its many indexes and other additions at the back of the book are fabulous to help you plan and find all kind of relevant material.

Glad i att dansa! (version 4.2) by Bill Gooch, international dance leader and Scandiphile of Knoxville. A collection of 167 descriptions of traditional dances from 17 Swedish provinces, including detailed maps with dance locations.  $25 plus postage to 4401 Alta Vista Way, Knoxville, TN 37919; 865/522-0515;

Notes on Teaching Country Dance by Bruce Hamilton. Although written with the Country Dance teacher in mind, it has valuable tips and tricks for all dance teachers. Available through the Country Dance and Song Society,

Index to Viltis 1944-1994 compiled by Shari and Bert Osen; edited by DeWayne Young.  An index to Viltis Magazine to assist you in locating articles about folk dance, folklore, and recipes.  The index is valuable for dancers, teachers, library collections, researchers, and students of international folk dance. Sadly, DeWayne Young died in 2014 and we are unable to find anyone who is managing the supply of these books. If you know of a source, please contact

Vytautas (Vyts) F. Beliajus, Mr. Folk Dance, USA, Memoirs of a Lithuanian Immigrant 1908-1994 Edited and published by L. DeWayne Young. Limited to 100 copies, privately published. Available only in university dance libraries and folk dance institutes where VILTIS folklore magazine is housed. Published in 2008 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vytautas F. Beliajus, February 26,1908, and the 64th anniversary of his VIL TIS magazine, September 1944 in Fairhope, Alabama. For further information, contact L. DeWayne Young ( or 208-785-2427).

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. This beautiful novel has nothing to do with ethnic dance, except that geishas had to be superb dancers. However, the historical facts of a geisha’s day-to-day life in the 1930s and ’40s are carefully researched by the author (his first book) who has degrees in Japanese art history and Japanese history. Insights into this complex culture are amazing, the story is spellbinding.

Music and Song in Persia: The Art of Avaz by Dr. Lloyd C. Miller, (Publisher: Curzon Press London & University of Utah Press USA – 1999), is the first full-length analysis of the theory and practice of Persian singing, demonstrating the centrality of Persian elements in the Music of the Islamic Middle Ages, their relevance to both contemporary and traditional Iranian music and their interaction with classical Persian poetry and metrics.  This book also chronicles the efforts to document and preserve traditional Iranian folk and classical music during the 1970s.   Available at and

Musical Instruments of the World, an Illustrated Encyclopedia by the Diagram Group (New York: Facts on File Inc., 1976); $19.95. This great resource has more than 4000 drawings of a global range of traditional, historic, and contemporary instruments from all cultures, divided into the instrument types of aerophones, idiophones, membranophones, chordophones, and mechanical and electrical instruments, and more.  Available commercially and from music education catalogs.

Polish Folk Costumes by Christopher Majka, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
E-mail: or website:

Polish Folk Dances and Songs: A Step by Step Guide by Ada Dziewanowska (New York: Hippocrene Books); $39.50 plus $3.00 shipping.

The 800-page book includes in-depth descriptions of more than 80 dances, including the national dances (Polonez, Mazur, Kujawiak, Oberek, and Krakowiak).  Each description contains step-by-step dance instructions accompanied by historical and cultural background.  The book also includes more than 400 illustrations of dance movements, over 90 music transcriptions with lyrics in Polish and English plus translation and pronunciation, and a number of maps.  For more information, or to get your author’s autographed copy, contact Ada Dziewanowska, 3352 N. Hackett Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211; 414/964-8444.

Polish Folk Embroidery by Jadwiga Turska (New York: Hippocrene Books, Inc., 1998); $75. Includes more than 200 color illustrations from 31 regions; 336 pages. Hippocrene Books, 171 Madison Ave., New York 10016; phone, 212/685-4371; fax, 212/779-9338.

The Spirit of Hula
In a book that every student and fan of hula will treasure, halau from Hawai’i, the U.S. mainland, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, and Mexico share photos and stories that celebrate the spirit of hula worldwide. Included in the book are 70 stories, over 300 photographs, commentaries on hula, Hawaiian healing, and lei making by noted kumu hula from Hawai’i and Japan.

Romanian Traditional Dance: A Contextual and Structural Approach by Anca Giurchescu with Sunni Bloland (Mill Valley, Calif: Wild Flower Press, 1995); $40 plus $5/shipping and handling.  This is the book Sunni and her colleague, Anca, have been working on for two decades and is a comprehensive document on everything you ever wanted to know about Romanian folk dance.  It is worth owning for the photos alone.  You can order it from Sunni Bloland, 1734 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94703.

The World of Greek Dance by Alkis Raftis (Finedawn Publishers, 1997), contains tradition and folklore in Greek dance, history, dance events, and a comprehensive directory of festivals, groups, museums, and resources. Contact Dora Stratou Theatre, 8 Scholiou Street, 105 58 Athens, Greece.

World Music: The Rough Guide (London: The Rough Guides, Ltd., 1994); $19.95 USA, $25.99 Canada.  A complete handbook of music of the world’s peoples focusing on popular music, both contemporary and traditional.  Much information about musicians and recordings as well as cultural backgrounds and instruments.  It is available in commercial bookstores.

A World Treasure of Folk Wisdom by Reynold Feldman and Cynthia A. Voelke (Harper San Fransisco, 1992); $16.  This little reference book is filled with gems of wisdom from many cultures such as “Don’t jump high in a low-ceilinged room” (Czech) or “When the music changes, so does the dance” (Hausa).  Other wise sayings are scattered around this newsletter.  It is available in commercial bookstores.

The People Have Never Stopped Dancing by Jacqueline Shea Muphy (University of Minnesota Press 2007). During the past thirty years, Native American dance has emerged as a visible force on concert stages throughout North America. In this first major study of contemporary Native American dance, Jacqueline Shea Murphy shows how these performances are at once diverse and connected by common influences.

Many of the earliest books on dance, particularly those dating back to the 1900’s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. Read Books Design and Hard Press Editions are two houses that are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork. Look for the titles below and dozens more on-line at

  • FOLK DANCES FROM MANY LANDS (Folklore History Series)

Fictional Characters Who FOLK DANCE? Alexandra Schiller, herself a long-time folk dancer, has written a series of books centered around a folk-dancing private-eye. Each book contains references to folk-dancing.

  • The Case of the Suave Swami
  • The Case of the Imaginary Imam
  • The Case of the Lambent Lama
  • The Case of the Minstrel Minister
  • The Case of the Rambling Rabbi



Make sure dancing is introduced at a young age. Give the gift of reading and dance to all the little ones in your life.

Barnyard Dance
Kind of silly, but why not? It’s a children’s book that gives a thumbs up to dancing. Get your children and grandchildren believing that dancing is a part of life. A bespectacled fiddle-playing cow and a pig twirling a sheep are featured in a barnyard dance.

Kitchen Dance
by Maurie J. Manning

A little girl wakes in the night to mysterious, inviting noises. She rouses her brother, and they sneak downstairs and peek into the kitchen. To their amazement and delight, their parents are dancing and singing – “¡Como te quiero! Oh, how I love you!” – as they clean up and put food away. Mama and Papa discover the two kids and sweep them into the embrace of a family dance. Slowly, the song changes to a lullaby… the children close sleepy eyes… then Mama and Papa tuck them into bed again…. a perfect bedtime book, with a satisfying hugs-and-kisses ending.

Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp
by Carol Diggory Shields

This is a rollicking rhyming dinosaur picture book for young children. Have you ever wondered what the dinosaurs did for fun? What really happened when the Jurassic gang wanted to let off some steam? They danced, of course! They rocked and rolled, they twirled and tromped! They had themselves a dinosaur stomp! Join Diplodocus, Iguanodon, Duckbill, Tyrannosaurus, Allosaurus, Brontosaurus and other rockin’ dinosaurs at the biggest, loudest, wildest party ever! Boomalacka boomalacka! Whack! Whack! WHACK!

Giraffes Can’t Dance
by Giles Andreae

Gerald the giraffe doesn’t really have delusions of grandeur. He just wants to dance. But his knees are crooked and his legs are thin, and all the other animals mock him when he approaches the dance floor at the annual Jungle Dance. “Hey, look at clumsy Gerald,” they sneer. “Oh, Gerald, you’re so weird.” Poor Gerald slinks away as the chimps cha-cha, rhinos rock ‘n’ roll, and warthogs waltz

Elephants Cannot Dance
by Mo Willems

Gerald the Elephant is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In Elephants Cannot Dance! Piggie tries to teach Gerald some new moves. But will Gerald teach Piggie something even more important?

How Can You Dance?
by Rick Walton

It’s no secret kids love to dance, and the quirky kids and animals in this book find inspiration everywhere. How can you dance if you’re lying on the floor? Dance like a snake as it slithers to explore. How can you dance when you’re mad as a bee? Dance around wildly. Each page also includes a second verse kids can chant as they jump out of their seats to dance. This energetic celebration of movement will encourage kids to boogie through any mood.

I Hope You Dance!
by Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers

I Hope You Dance! for children is witty and fun, warm and fuzzy, wild and fanciful. For the kid in your life, here’s the opportunity to say:

I hope you dance!
Stir it up, baby, make a splash
Do the shag and the monster mash
The Cotton Eyed Joe and the Hokey Pokey
If you ain’t got rhythm that’s okey dokey
Don’t lay in the tub and bubble bath soaka
Get your shimmy on the floor and do the zydeco polka


East European Folklore Center News,  PO Box 3969, Eugene, OR  97403.  A four pager with much information on Balkan dance and music events. Also, check out the EEFC e-mail list for discussion of all issues concerning Balkan music and dance.  Questions: To subscribe, send the message “subscribe eefc” to

Let’s Dance! magazine is published by the Folk Dance Federation of California, Inc. 10 times a year. It comes free with membership in the Federation and contains articles of interest to folk dancers, listings of clubs and other dances in Northern California, advertisements and dance descriptions. Individual membership in the Federation costs: $35 USD per year (out of country $45 per year). To join, visit their website: To submit an article to the magazine, or to place an ad, contact or call 408-771-4542 days. Back issues 1944-2006 available here.

Folk Dance Scene is the official magazine of the Folk Dance Federation, South. Folk Dance Scene is published 10 times per year on a monthly basis except for combined issues in June/July and December/January. Scene is published to educate its readers concerning the folk dance, music, costumes, customs, lore, and culture of the peoples of the world. It also is designed to inform them of the opportunities to experience folk dance and culture in Southern California and elsewhere. Contact:

The Northwest Folkdancer, PO Box 1944, Woodinville, WA 98072-1944. A 24–page newsletter full of informative articles about folk dance, folk music, folk costumes, travel, club news, and folk dance events; often also includes dance descriptions, music and lyrics, and ethnic recipes. $16/year for individuals, $20/year for families, $18/year for clubs. Membership form and complete information available on the Web site:, or email

Ontario FolkDancer, magazine of the Ontario Folk Dance Association, with always interesting articles.  Subscription ($20[Canadian] single, $25 couple, $25 USA/overseas) includes membership in OFDA.  Diane Gladstone, 22 Latimer Ave., Toronto M5N 2L8; 416/489-3566.

The Society of Folk Dance Historians, 2100 Rio Grande, Austin TX 78705; 512/478-8900. Ron Houston also publishes annual books of dance notes called “Folk Dance Problem Solvers,” and has incredible archives of folk dance descriptions, recordings and related collections.

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