Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Burt Feintuch, Lynwood Montell, Jim Miller

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study focuses upon dance events, those occasions which have as their purpose the convening of persons to square dance or play party games which resemble square dances. Four different forms of these events were identified in Trigg County, Kentucky: neighborhood dances, play-parties, picnics and barbecues and public dances. I have described them from a historical perspective, examining the social interactions that occurred during the events.

The major portion of the information presented was gathered through interviews with current and past residents of this county. The descriptions span the years from the turn of the twentieth century to the 1970s. The years just before and during World War II were a time of great social change in this area, which was reflected in the decline of neighborhood dances, picnics and barbecues and play-parties and the development of the public dance.

By describing the entire complex of dance event forms I have attempted to show the relationships among them and how the events varied to suit different sets of circumstances. At the same time, the role of the dance events in general in affirming and strengthening a sense of community and in fulfilling the social needs of area residents has been described.


Anthropology | Dance | Social and Behavioral Sciences