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Birdie in the Cage

Birdie in the Cage

Update: 2019-10-2345
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People have been doing the square dance since before the Declaration of Independence. But does that mean it should be THE American folk dance? That question took us on a journey from Appalachian front porches, to dance classes across our nation, to the halls of Congress, and finally a Kansas City convention center. And along the way, we uncovered a secret history of square dancing that made us see how much of our national identity we could stuff into that square, and what it means for a dance to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. 


Special thanks to Jim Mayo, Claude Fowler, Paul Gifford, Jim Maczko, Jim Davis, Paul Moore, Jack Pladdys, Mary Jane Wegener, Kinsey Brooke and Connie Keener. 


This episode was reported by Tracie Hunte and produced by Annie McEwen, Tracie Hunte, and Matt Kielty. Mix by Jeremy Bloom.


Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate


 


Check out Phil Jamison's book,  “Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance


Watch this 1948 Lucky Strike Cigarette Square Dancing Commercial


A rare image of Black Square Dancers in 1948


The Square Dance History Project


Read “America’s Wholesome Square Dancing Tradition is a Tool of White Supremacy,” by Robyn Pennachia for Quartz


And Pennachia’s original Twitter thread


Read “The State Folk Dance Conspiracy: Fabricating a National Folk Dance,” by Julianne Mangin


 

Comments (11)

Danger Durian

The dance of my generation is the cupid shuffle, millions of kids have had to learn it for PE classes.

Feb 12th
Reply

skiib o

seriously?? do we just fucking cry about everything now. get over it..... it's a goddamn dance nothing more nothing less. wow. people have to much free time

Jan 1st
Reply (1)

TransHaus

Radiolab was once my favorite podcast. now it's borderline unlistenable due to identity obsession. the most pathetic part of this whole piece was, and I'm paraphrasing, after she went to the square dance conference and the person said "we don't care about your orientation, we don't care about your color, we just care if you can dance," and she even said, "everyone was so friendly and I had a great time, but I still didn't feel like it was my dance." oh FUCK RIGHT OFF. the only one obsessed with race in this whole podcast was this woman and she is totally oblivious to this. this is not the first stupid identity episode. the whole series on gender was ridiculous. I'll give them one more shot but if they keep this up, for those reasons I'm out.

Dec 12th
Reply (1)

J MB

this entire podcast was a setup for a conversation about race. please... back to science. pretty sure the ratio in a dance hall / hip hop club is gonna be similar...

Dec 3rd
Reply

RobDude

"Ugh it's all white people, but know what I surprised about? They were friendly!". Wow, big surprise LOL. How is that not racism? Just another example of how prejudice against white folks is ok. 🙄

Nov 4th
Reply (3)

Cupcake Kitten

Where can I get a copy of the instrumental version of "po black sheep" at the end by Jake Blount???

Nov 4th
Reply
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Birdie in the Cage

Birdie in the Cage

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