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January 08, 2015


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"Seven Up" is apparently the same as "La Yucca" which is in the book "Dances of Early California Days" by Lucile Czarnowsky. It is a version of the "Siebenschritt" or "Seven Step," a folk dance well known in Germany and in the British Isles. It also appears in the Peter Beemer manuscript, from the mining town of Warrens Diggins Idaho in the 1860's. Cool that they did it in Utah also; another example of the central question of the history of traditional music: Who stole what from whom, and when?!!
Vivian Williams

The "Seven Step Schotische" is still alive and well in small hold-out communities in Utah, such as Koosharem, Hooper, etc., where they still maintain an old time dance tradition. Seven Step has many cousins. To add to what Vivian Williams has posted, the Norwegian folk dance "Rugen" is another cousin. Dudley Laufman has included the "Seven Step Polka" in his Barn Dance collection, which originated in the Shetland Islands. (BTW: it is technically more a schottische than a polka). Dudley recorded that it has also been found on Native American reservations in North Dakota. ! 2 3 4 5 6 7 is another cousin, a Play Party found in the southern states.

Craig Miller, Utah State Folklorist, and I found the above dances still in living tradition in our fieldwork research during the 1980s and 90s We found the Trilby, Varsouvienne, Chicago Glide, Baltimore, Heel-toe Polka, Heel Toe Schottische, Circle Two-Step (a version of Paul Jones danced to RedWing) etc. Utah and the Mormon West has a huge social dance tradition dating back to pioneer days. Mostly round dances have survived in living tradition, except for one Quadrille that is still danced today in the town of Oak City.

Craig Miller's materials, "An Old Time Utah Dance Party, Sheet Music and Dance Steps," "Social Dances of the Mormon West" and a CD of field recordings of dance music, are available through Utah Heritage Arts.

Polygamy dances were trio dances like one would find in Scandinavia like the "Polygamy Waltz," one man, two ladies, and the "Double Quadrille" danced with trios instead of couples. The Danish trio folk dance, "The Crested Hen" is documented in Daughters of Utah Pioneers' Museum archives as a "polygamy dance." Scandinavians were the second largest immigrant community. First were Brts.

I am currently putting together a "Mormon Pioneer Dance" project featuring 30 dances of Mormon pioneer era 1847 to 1869, and some of their descendants. This project is partially funded by the National Folk Organization. and will consist of a book, CD an DVD of these 30 dances, This is the final product of my lifetime research. It will be completed by July 2016 and hopefully published thereafter.
Laraine Miner

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