• September 15, 2019

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Calling on tradition

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Posted: Friday, September 13, 2019 9:54 am | Updated: 10:06 am, Fri Sep 13, 2019.

Square Dance
Dancers swing on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at the Rowan arts Center in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Marie Roberts / Trail Blazer Marie Roberts

A connection to the past brought Will Bowling out from Clay County to call for  the square dance at the Rowan County Arts Center. 

Each semester, students from Morehead State University’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music put together several square-dancing events, the first one of this school year kicked off Wednesday, September 11.

“We’re calling the same calls to the same type of music that folks all over these mountains were dancing to over 100 years ago. So it’s just kind of the thread that just keeps running,” said Bowling.

Square Dance
Will Bowling dances with his wife on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at the Rowan arts Center in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Marie Roberts / Trail Blazer Marie Roberts

Sarah Kate Morgan, has been organizing the event for several years, and played upright bass for the night. She said the event has had anywhere from 25 to 90 attendees in the past.

“It’s really nice to get to hang out with a snippet of the whole community, not just students,” said Morgan who is a senior and traditional music major at MSU.

Morgan said she is set to graduate soon, so she plans to transfer the organization of the dances to Larah Helayne, a senior at Montgomery County High School and a student with the KCTM. 

Helayne said the dances have played a huge role in finding her passion.

“For me it’s just been about realizing this is my own culture," she said. "When I got into traditional music and dance, it’s something that really opened up my whole life.”

Bowling added that no two places are the same.

“I’ve went out and danced different places, even called a few different places and seen how a lot of these communities have a very specific dance style,” said Bowling. “So, it might be all the same calls, all the same figures, but some of the different breaks might be different, just the way that the dance culture in that community might be a little bit different.”

Square Dance
Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, at the Rowan arts Center in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Charlee Harmon / Trail Blazer Charlee Harmon

Bowling has been square-dancing for 15 years and called his first dance around three years ago. “I just thought it was one of the most fun things that I’d ever done. It just felt right,” he said.

The next square dance will be held on October 8, at 7 p.m. in the Rowan County Arts Center.

Follow the link below to see what Bowling has to say on the tradition of calling square dances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkBe8bhyV24&t=3s