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Swinging Through American History


with Mark Matthews

writer, historian, dance caller/instructor, officer with the Missoula Folklore Society, writing instructor at The University of Montana College of Technology

Mark Matthews, historian and author of "Swinging through American History," will take you back to the ballrooms, taverns, juke joints, honky tonks and dance emporiums of the past as he explains the manner in which American dancing evolved with certain social changes--and, how certain dances stimulated changes in American social life. The spectrum of historic dances runs from the colonial English country dance to the French quadrille to the American square dance and the waltz; plus modern movements such as the one-steps, the Charleston, Lindy hop, mambo, twist and disco.

Mark will even get the more adventurous audiences out of their chairs and onto their feet to experience the joy of movement, or he can limit his presentations to readings from his writings, enhanced with vintage videos or modern recreations of iconic moments in dance. Mark's books include "Square You Sets: The Birth of American Social Dancing"; "Promenading toward Democracy: The Great Square Dance Revival"; "Cakewalking out of Slavery: A Study of Racism in America"; and "Jitterbugging across the Colorline: Desegregating the Dance Floor."