REEL ‘EM, BOYS, REEL ‘EM, a film by Gerald Milnes and Becky Hill (Augusta Heritage Productions, AHCMS-12)
REEL ‘EM, BOYS, REEL ‘EM features West Virginia traditional square dancing and step dancing and follows the Mountain Dance Trail as it winds across the Mountain State. Interviews with callers, musicians, dancers and dance historians, along with current square dance footage and archival footage from Augusta Heritage Center are combined to create a film that celebrates the importance of old-time music and dance. Centuries old dance customs are discussed and revealed in the traditions as they exist today. This film documents the exceptional endurance of traditional dance in West Virginia.
The Mountain Dance Trail project celebrates West Virginia as the only Appalachian state that maintains a strong community dance tradition. The dance trail follows a route from the Potomac Highlands in the eastern part of the state, to the Ohio River in the west, connecting 10 communities that still host old-time mountain square dances.
The towns are: Marlinton, Dunmore, Monterey, Blue Grass, Franklin, Upper Tract, Circleville, Riverton, Harman, Elkins, Helvetia, Pickens, Ireland, Sutton, Glenville and Henderson.
Square dance styles vary throughout the state, from the “Mountain Circle” or “Big Circle” dances in the east, to Appalachian four-couple squares in the west. “Round Dances,” like waltzes and two steps, are played between square dances at most locations.
Square dance culture has been losing ground over the last 50 years, but West Virginia has held on to traditional dancing in small towns and communities across the center of the state. The idea behind The Mountain Dance Trail is to honor, embrace, and promote these dance traditions and to preserve Appalachian old-time dance in its localized forms.