Festival Square Dance Friday to honor folk games history
By J. Henry Duncan


Posted on October 9, 2017 12:14 PM



Square Dancing, a form of Folk Dancing, has long been a part of Logan County heritage. Square Dances in rural Logan County in the early 1900s following the harvest season were held in parlors of farmhouses; the furniture was pushed back to the walls and the rugs were rolled up to form the dance floor.

In my Great Grandpa Sam Duncan’s farmhouse near Muddy River were reports of floor support beams cracking under the added dancing pressure.

Square Dancing waned during the Depression and the WW ll , but in the late 1940s and 50s, Johnny Orange of the Oakville Community resurrected interest in square dancing by teaching and demonstrating dancing sets to 4-Hers and young couples. He then organized a group called the Red River Dancers who, practicing under his detailed and rigid instructions, performed dancing throughout the county. 

Evelyn Richardson has provided news releases and pictures of the Red River Dancers performing at the 4-H Camps, Kentucky State fair, University of Kentucky Folk Dancing seminar, the Berea nationwide radio show, and the international dance festival in Chicago.

 Mr. Orange continued his dancing and leadership into the 1960s; this was in spite of a tragic farm accident which amputated his foot above the ankle. Not to be deterred, Mr. Orange invented a prosthesis foot which he wore as he continued leading square dancing for several more years.

George Duncan, a local farmer, continued calling square dancing at community centers, on tobacco floors, at treet dances and during local festivals. The Bray Boys band served as his primary musicians. At the wedding reception of Mr. Duncan’s grandson, Tim Gilliam, in Cincinnati, Mr. Duncan organized and called a successful Square Dance.

James ‘Sonny’ Duncan and I have continued calling family Square Dances in recent years.

A community public Square Dance, recognizing this heritage of dancers and leaders, will be held at the Russellville Sportsman’s Club at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13.. Barry Silvey and his Backroads Bluegrass band will provide the live music. There will be interludes of Line Dancing and fun dances for the Kids. A cake walk will generate funds for a local charity.

This event is free to the public; you are asked to bring some finger foods to serve as refreshments.




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