Floyd shares Appalachian culture through dance lessons


Floyd, Va., March 18 – Dancing circle: The Floyd Country Store dance instructor teaches people of all ages basic clogging steps. Photo: Samantha Hill

Floyd, Va. — On the third Friday of every month at 5 p.m., the Floyd Country Store conducts Old Time dance lessons for the public. Dance lessons are free with the $5 admission to the Friday Night Jamboree

Phil Louer is the dance instructor. He has taught dance lessons for the past 30 years. He says dancing is for everyone and teaches groups varying from children at local schools, to the elderly in nursing homes.

“Really, the underlying, the essential element is moving to music, the movement to music,” said Louer. “Which is inherent in all of us … we as all people, everyone in the world, it’s ingrained in us to move to music.”

He has lived in the New River Valley since 1968, when he went to Virginia Tech. He said he started dancing 37 years ago with a local group called the Hoorah Cloggers.

Clogging, flat footing and square dancing are some of the dances taught and seen at the Friday Night Jamboree. According to Doubletoe Times, the magazine of clogging, old time dances like clogging and flatfooting came to Appalachia around the 1700s. The magazine says the dances are more impromptu in current times.

Local residents Gary Andrews and Ben Harman have been dancing since they were young. Andrews moved outside of Floyd last year from North Carolina, where he learned to dance growing up.

“It just comes to you naturally. It ain’t nothing — I don’t take no classes or nothing. It just comes to you,” said Andrews.

Harman says he grew up in Floyd, living there for 20 years. He currently lives in Martinsville, Virginia and tries to visit as much as he can. He also agreed that flat footing comes naturally.

“It just comes to you,” said Harman. “I think you can either do it, or can’t!”

The next dance lesson is on April 15, 2016. For more information, visit the Floyd Country Store’s website and view its calendar.