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Work Samples

Finale, Destination Baltimore

This video work sample is of the Finale from my latest project, "Destination Baltimore" that I created, directed, performed in, and choreographed. The production debuted Dec 9, 2017 at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), Catonsville, who requested that I create a show around the cultural theme for all CCBC campuses this year: "Baltimore Stories".

Steppin' At The Junction

I not only choreographed, danced, and sang in this new production, I also served as the producer and Artistic Director, so this video is an overview, presenting the entire show as a sample of my work in the performing arts. "Steppin' At The Junction" debuted in March, 2017 at the Gordon Center for the Performing Arts.


About Eileen

Anne Arundel County

Eileen Carson Schatz's picture
Eileen Carson Schatz has dedicated her life to sharing the power and joy of traditional music and percussive dance with people throughout the U.S. and abroad. The Founding Artistic Director of Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble in 1979, she is a pioneer in bringing Americana music and percussive dance to performing arts stages and the general public. For over 38 years, she has filled many roles, including Footworks' Artistic Director, performing artist, choreographer, vocalist, song writer, and... more

Destination Baltimore, December 2017

"Destination Baltimore" is my most recent project and is a theater production that I was asked to create by the Director of Performing Arts for all the campuses of the Community College of Baltimore County, whose cultural theme this academic year is "Baltimore Stories". I created, produced, directed, choreographed, and performed in the show, which celebrates the music and dance at the roots of Baltimore. From colonial times to the present Baltimore has attracted people from all over the world looking for a chance to build a better life. Destination Baltimore celebrates the city's multicultural history and included some of the best Americana musicians in the country, including Grammy winning Mark Schatz, multi-instrumentalist Danny Knicely, banjo and guitar player Gina Clowes, Baltimore’s own legendary fiddler Jon Glik and djembe player and percussionist Jumoke Ajanku, and Footworks’ founding director Eileen Carson on lead vocals.

Traditional African and Irish music and dance in the show represent the diverse cultures that met each other on these shores and led to our beautiful and unique American culture. Bluegrass music and clogging, blues, swing music and dance, early jazz and tap dance, and modern dance created a visual timeline of Baltimore’s history.

I revised some existing and created some new choreography for this production, wrote new songs, and also researched songs about Baltimore from Baltimore songwriters and found "Christmas in Baltimore" written by Geoffrey Himes and Alan Seeley which included a Baltimore "Hon" character and got the audience singing along.

Guest artists included Maryland's own swing dancer Kevin Crandell and renowned tap dancer Baakari Wilder. Baakari paid homage to Baltimore’s legendary hoofers Baby Laurence and Buster Brown by performing some of their actual steps to the tunes they favored, "Billie's Bounce" and "Cute", bringing a piece of Baltimore heritage to life.

The show included scripted narration that I researched and wrote, along with photos of different eras of Baltimore projected as backdrop for some of the pieces. The finale includes a modern dance set to the poem, "We Dance America", written for this production by the great Baltimore poet Gayle Danley, and ended in Southern Appalachian music and dance that featured spots for the guest artists, including the band taking a dance break.

The Maryland State Arts Council's Presenting and Touring Program provided partial funding to make the first draft of this production possible along with hours, days, and weeks of unpaid hours from me and Footworks' principal dancers, Co-Director and Rehearsal Captain Marsha Searle and Musical Director Mark Schatz. The response from the audience was extremely enthusiastic and I hope to secure funding to further develop the production and answer the requests to present it again and throughout Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic.

  • Destination Baltimore

    "Destination Baltimore" was presented on Dec 9, 2017 at The Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Directed by Eileen.

Steppin' At The Junction, March 2017

“Steppin’ at the Junction” is a new production that I created, produced, directed and performed in with Footworks. It is the result of the Baltimore-based acoustic band Charm City Junction and the Anne Arundel County-based Footworks recognizing, with excitement and delight, the similarities of each group’s repertoires and approaches to presenting traditional music and dance, inspiring this project. Both ensembles have extensive histories and experience in traditional Old Time, Bluegrass, and Irish music and perform them with entertaining skill while remaining true to each tradition. Under my direction, Footworks also expands each tradition with innovative, original, and often playful creations they bring to their concerts. Charm City Junction has the same approach - making traditional music new and current and lots of fun. “Steppin’ at the Junction” includes lively tunes with acoustic instrumentation, songs, and percussive dance choreography and is a wonderful and high energy celebration of the roots and branches of American music and dance.

The Gordon Center for the Performing Arts in Ownings Mills served as our Presenting Partner and the production debuted in March of 2017. "Steppin' At The Junction" will continue to be presented at theaters throughout MD, with dates currently being booked for the coming season.

Hot Strings and Flying Feet

Hot Strings and Flying Feet is a full length theater show and was my biggest project in 2016, performed in April at Maryland Hall in Annapolis. I produced the show and served as Artistic Director and lead choreographer, vocalist, and dancer. With funding support from the Maryland State Arts Council’s Presenting and Touring Program, I was able to include special guest artists, including the Maryland-based Teelin Irish Dance Company and the Claire Lynch Band from Nashville.

My goals include staging acoustic music and percussive dance, from traditional to contemporary, with great respect for our multicultural American heritage, illuminating our roots along with presenting more current versions of percussive dance, which is found in cultures all over the world. I also seek to portray the vital role that traditional music and dance continues to play in sustaining individuals and communities and the shaping of our nation, and inspire audiences to participate even after the performance, to sing and dance for their own enrichment.

Bringing the acclaimed Claire Lynch Band to Maryland audiences was a great honor, as I have been a fan of hers for over 30 years. Claire is a national treasure with multiple awards, including the band’s most recent recording is currently nominated for a Grammy. The band’s approach to performances is a musical parallel to the way I create and present dance, all of the musicians have deep roots in traditional Old Time and Bluegrass music and stay true to the integrity of those traditions, while at the same time have contemporary sensibilities in selection of material and arrangements. The band branches out into swing music and new compositions from a wide range of songwriters, and Claire is also an award winning songwriter. In addition to presenting dances to the great live music of the Footworks band, including the Claire Lynch Band in the production inspired me to branch out in the choreography and include the modern dance training and talents of Footworks’ principal dancers to the Claire Lynch Band’s music.

As producer, Artistic Director, and lead choreographer, I am presenting the entire production as a project for consideration, and the video work sample is an over view with highlights that show the range of music and choreography.

The video edit is in order of the production and follows the below program notes, which helps identify the different segments.









Footworks is a non-profit organization funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, the Aceves-London Family Fund, and by individual donors.


MUSIC: “COME ALONG”, Eileen Carson Schatz and Mark Schatz, “ST. ANNE’S REEL”, traditional
CHOREOGRAPHY: Eileen Carson Schatz

Many of the people that come to North America are saddened at leaving their homeland, but their music and dance keep their spirits up and their hopes alive. Tonight Irish tunes and dances will represent all the wealth of music and dance brought to these shores by immigrants from all over the world. Maureen Berry, the director of our special guests, Teelin Irish Dance Company, was a principal dancer with Footworks for years and has gone on to create the Teelin School of Irish Dance and the performing company. We are delighted to have Maureen dance with Footworks this evening, as well as with members of her company.

Sean-nós (Old style) Irish Jig - kept alive in the Ghaeltacht region of Connemara, this old style of dancing predates modern competitive-style step dancing. This choreography uses classic Connemara jig steps, taught to us by Róisín Ní Mhainín at the Cóilín Sheáin Dharach Jig Festival, (Ros Muc Connemara).
Irish Reels – Sean Nos improvisation, and old style step dance steps of Joe O’Donovan and
Patrick O’Dea.
Hornpipe/Treble Reel Teelin Irish Dance Company brings us contemporary Irish step dance.

MUSIC: Fiddle tunes all traditional
CHOREOGRAPHY: Maureen Berry, Patrick O’Dea, Shannon Dunne, Eileen Carson Schatz

Gumboot Dancea traditional dance inspired by the work boots of the diamond miners of
South Africa. These steps were learned from Themba Thomba of South Africa, the
Vanaver Caravan, and Maureen Berry’s trip to South Africa years ago.
Cherokee Chant and Dance to the Four DirectionsIn the 1990s, Eileen learned these from
Walker Calhoun, a Cherokee living on the Oklahoma reservation. The National Endowment for the Arts granted funds to bring him East to help recover Cherokee language, songs, and dances. This chant and dance are likely centuries-old gems from the North American continent. The foot rhythms performed in bare feet were choreographed by Eileen in homage to her Cherokee ancestors.
CrossroadsA new dance that portrays the meeting of Irish, Native American, and African
cultures meeting in America, resulting in new traditions of music and dance, such as
Southern Appalachian music and dance and American tap dance.

MUSIC: Gumboot: Jeff Sarli, inspired by the guitar music of the South African Townships, Cherokee Chant: Traditional, Tu Loc/Audience participation song: Joseph Shambalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo
CHOREOGRAPHY: Traditional, Eileen Carson Schatz

Friendship Dance - We include the traditional Native American Friendship dance, always done
in circles, to represent North American and Native American influences.
Flatfootingthe old-style form of Southern Appalachian step dance, an individual
improvisational response to fiddle tunes, is still found all over the mountains today.
Southern Rootarranging the steps in unison and in patterns of circles and lines started in the
early 1900s. This routine, in a North Carolina style, is the first piece in our repertoire,
created in March of 1979.
Appalachian Stompa new contemporary clogging piece choreographed by former Footworks
principal dancer Heidi Whitfield.

MUSIC: Fiddle tunes all traditional
CHOREOGRAPHY: traditional, Eileen Carson Schatz, Heidi Whitfield

We Need A Good TimeSing and clap and move with us!
English Clog Dance - Preserved from the vaudeville era, an English-American dance done in
the traditional shoes with carved wooden soles. This piece is special to us, taught to us
by Anna Marley, who wanted us to learn some of the repertoire of the Marley family, a
vaudeville act from Boston, famous at the turn of the last century.
Buck Dance“rural” early tap dance taught to us by the Georgia Sea Island Singers
Hambone - African American body percussion
Steppin’ - body percussion & vocals from a tradition originating in African-American
fraternities & sororities
The Cake Walk Eileen found these words on an old lithograph print and was inspired to write
the melody.
Hoofin’old style a cappella tap dance
River Root – a reworked clogging routine Eileen choreographed and performed in 1996 for
Riverdance in London.

MUSIC: “We Need A Good Time,” Eileen Carson Schatz and Mark Schatz, Fiddle tunes all traditional, “Cake Walk”, Eileen Carson Schatz
CHOREOGRAPHY: Brenda Bufalino, LaVaughn Robinson, Paul Woodruff, The Marley Family, Matthew Gordon, Eileen Carson Schatz


KID ON THE MOUNTAIN - a beautiful contemporary slip jig done is soft shoes, another gift from Irish traditions.

MUSIC: Traditional

EN ROOT an a cappella and innovative piece with roots in Southern Appalachian clogging

CHOREOGRAPHY: Eileen Carson Schatz

We are thrilled to have the Claire Lynch Band with us tonight! Mark and Eileen have been fans of Claire’s since the 1970s and her gorgeous singing, award-winning original songs, numerous recording projects, and her years of touring internationally have made Claire a national treasure, preserving and innovating in acoustic Americana music.
The Claire Lynch Band performs a selection of songs, and Footworks is honored to choreograph new dances debuting this evening to three of them. What a thrill to perform them with the Claire Lynch Band live!

MUSIC: “Scarlett Ribbons”, Evelyn Danzig and Jack Segal, “A Canary Song”, Buddy Mondlock, “Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring”, Henry Hipkens
CHOREOGRAPHY: Kevin Crandall, Emily Crews, Agi Kovacs, Marty Miodek, Eileen Carson Schatz, Marsha Searle

THE FUNK PIECE An original piece drawing from Southern Appalachian clogging
and American tap dance.

CHOREOGRAPHY: Eileen Carson Schatz


Buttermilk Road bringing it to a close, starting with Claire’s singing and Mark hamboning
Arkansas Traveler/Skeet Shoot drawn from Southern Appalachian clogging traditions this piece is the basis for the finale. Dancers get to “Rise and Shine” and party to the music!

CHOREOGRAPHY: Eileen Carson Schatz

International Bluegrass Music Association Award Show

In 2014 I was commissioned to choreograph and perform (with Footworks) the opening number for the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) Award Show to a sold out Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC. One of my career goals has always been to bring increased awareness and respect to clogging as a beautiful American performing art, worthy of any concert stage. I have served as a pioneer in this endeavor and it has been a challenge to cross over to mainstream performing arts venues where other “fine arts” dance forms are regularly presented. With Footworks, we have come a long way in achieving this goal.

Historically, including dance in bluegrass productions is an obvious fit, after all the “Father of Bluegrass”, Bill Monroe was an old style clogger himself. Yet, there have only been a few of the more worldly bluegrass festivals and productions that have included dance. The IBMA Awards Show is one of the biggest annual events in the bluegrass world, and has been very well produced and aired on NPR nationally for years. I consider creating and performing an opening production number for the Awards Show a major development for the art form of Southern Appalachian clogging. The producers requested a production number that would show, thru dance, the history of the music from old time music through contemporary bluegrass with the hopes that the visual addition of dance would help lead to the show being televised for the first time.

Eileen and Footworks' musical director created the musical arrangement that was performed live for the performance by some of the very best musicians in Americana/bluegrass music: Tim O’Brien, Mark Schatz, Sierra Hull, Bela Fleck, Bryan Sutton, Ron Stuart, and Missy Raines. The piece received a standing ovation and the 2014 IBMA Awards Show went on to be televised on "Music City Roots" and was aired nationally on PBS stations in spring and summer of 2015.

Steps & Stripes

“Steps and Stripes,” a two-act theater production presents the cultural diversity of Baltimore and Maryland and the vital role that music and dance have played in the shaping of our state and country. The first video is of the original 8-minute production number "Steps and Stripes" that was performed for the American for the Arts Conference in Baltimore June, 2010. The second video is an overview of the second full-length theater production of "Steps and Stripes" performed at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis March 8, 2013.

In April of 2010 I received a commission from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA) to create a new work in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, which was in September, 2014. I was asked to create and perform a piece that would highlight Baltimore's history and cultural diversity to be presented at the Americans for the Arts (AFTA) 50th annual conference in Baltimore in June.

I created a piece including Footworks' dancers and a band of live musicians. I presented traditional Irish music and dance along with traditional African music and dance, illuminating how these diverse cultures met each other here and led to some of our beautiful and uniquely American music and dance. Clogging and tap, along with modern and hip hop dance, helped to create a visual time line of Baltimore history. The finale section was performed to a new fiddle tune composed by Footworks' musical director using the chords to our national anthem, a trumpet player played the Star Spangled Banner melody over the new tune, and with all of the dancers on stage together, we presented a joyous celebration, titled "Steps and Stripes."

There were over 1,000 arts presenters and advocates from all over the country there and the response was tremendous! Robert L. Lynch, president of AFTA wrote: "...rousing and patriotic performance... loved the portrayal of our American history and it's many threads through dance...a deeply moving and entertaining piece that resonated with us all..."

The reception from the AFTA conference audience inspired me to create a new production. I also attended the 2011 Teaching Artist Institute and created a new arts integrated residency, "Understanding the Star Spangled Banner Through Dance," that has been presented in schools throughout Maryland with an accompanying new school show.

The first presentation of the full production "Steps and Stripes" debuted at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis on April 9, 2011. Along with Footworks dancers and musicians, I enlisted guest artists from culturally diverse backgrounds to present Baltimore history through the music and my choreography. I used the original piece presented at the AFTA conference as a guide, presenting our shared heritage of traditional Irish and African music first because they were the largest populations of early immigrants to Baltimore. Then I showed the mixing of the cultures and started to move through history all the way to present day, represented by Hip Hop and Modern dance. The Star Spangled Banner was first a poem that Francis Scott Key wrote in the Baltimore harbor, so I collaborated with Baltimore poet Gayle Danley who wrote and performed two new pieces for the production. New music included a song I wrote for the first act, "We Need A Good Time," along with the new fiddle tune for the finale and another song, "The City of Baltimore," co-written with Footworks' musical director.

I continued building this production, a rootsy, multi-cultural, "Americana" approach to commemorate and celebrate the 200th anniversary of our national anthem. The next presentations of “Steps and Stripes” were on March 8, 2013 at Maryland Hall in Annapolis, and on March 9, 2013 for the South County Concert Association in Harwood, Md. I created and added new choreography, and Special Guest Artists for these performances included Baltimore’s own Sankofa Dance Theater, members of Good Foot Dance Company, renowned tap dancer Baakari Wilder, percussionist Steve Bloom and many others, all residents of Maryland. “Steps and Stripes” expresses my gratitude and respect for the strength of spirit and courage found in all of the traditions, past and present, in Maryland and the United States. I also want to inspire audiences in this time of social and economic challenge and political polarization to honor and celebrate the strength found in our diverse and vibrant culture. I believe Steps and Stripes celebrates our diversity and can encourage an atmosphere of unity. The production was presented in selected venues in MD through September of 2014, including for the Star Spangled Spectacular at the Baltimore harbor.

The following program notes give the historic context and broader picture of the production:




By 1790, approximately 1600 African Americans, 80 percent enslaved, were in Baltimore. By 1860, of the 30,000 African Americans living there, 90 percent were free, making Baltimore’s free black community the largest of any city in the nation. The Port of Baltimore provided many African Americans with employment related to the port’s activities, and the success of the port owed much to the contributions of African Americans. The Underground Railroad tracked right through Baltimore’s waterfront and Frederick Douglass, a central figure and gifted orator in America’s abolitionist movement, worked in the shipyards of Fells Point. The word “Sankofa” means to learn from the past in an effort to build for the future. Footworks is delighted to have Baltimore’s premier African group Sankofa Dance Theater with us this evening, bringing the rich legacy of African culture.

The Harvest Suite - traditional African dance presented in a medley that blends two harvest dances from two different regions: AkonKon danced by the Djoila People of the Sene-Gambia Region and Koukou danced by the Manian Ethnic Group of Guinea and the Cote Ivoire. The concept of the harvest is one that is far-reaching and is symbolic of investing time and energy in a way that will lead to a positive outcome. Sankofa’s dancers this evening are Kibibi Ajanku, Director, Mya Ajanku, and Janaye Scott. The drummers are Jumoke Ajanku, Musical Director, and Jabari Jefferson.

Musical Composition: Jumoke Ajanku
Choreography: Kibibi Ajanku


From the American Revolution through World War I, over a million immigrants passed through the port of Baltimore, and many that stayed were from Ireland. Baltimore’s first mayor, James Calhoun, was an Irish immigrant. The Irish who came to Baltimore by the early to mid 19th century were fleeing poor economic conditions and the Irish potato famine and were seeking employment opportunities and a better life. Ireland’s rich music and dance heritage has always given hope and inspiration to its people, bringing joy to their lives and strengthening their communities.

Into the West – a song expressing the sorrow of leaving home and hope for new

Sean-Nos (Old Style) Irish Jig – kept alive in the Connemara region of western Ireland, this style of dancing predates modern competitive step dancing.

Reels, Slides, and Polkas – Sean Nos improvisation, modern step dance, and set dancing.

Music: “Into the West,” Danny O’Keefe and Fred Tackett; Fiddle tunes: “Connaughtman’s Rambles,” “Gallway Rambler,” “Ballydesmond,” “O’Keefe’s,” “The Maid Behind the Bar,” all traditional, “Jade Piglet,” Matthew Olwell
Choreography: Roisin Ni Mhainin, Joe O’Donovan, Patrick O’Dea, Shannon Dunne, Megan Downes, Emily Oleson, Eileen Carson Schatz


Before the advent of audio recordings and cable news networks, songs and news reports were passed around by street singers. These were men and women who made their living singing to the public, and hawking sheets of parchment printed with narrative songs, testimonials, and news items. These papers were called broadsides, and in the 18th and 19th centuries, singing and selling them was as regular an occupation as being a sailor or a tinsmith. In the city or at a country fair, it would have been common in those days to encounter the street singer, a throng of people gathered round him, and his coarse voice booming throughout the locality. In those latter days of the 1812 War, with Admiral Cockburn’s British squadron lying in wait at the mouth of the Severn, Washington in flames, and the remains of our Maryland militia scrambling up the turnpike to the defense of Baltimore, this is how tidings of battle found their way to Marylanders at home.
Francis Scott Key's poem "The Star-Spangled Banner" was itself circulated on a broadside, and paired with the air "To Anacreon in Heaven", the anthem of a gentlemen's society of London not unlike the Ancient and Honorable Tuesday Club of Annapolis.

USS United States vs. HMS Macedonian – A signal victory brought home by storied Marylander Stephen Decatur, this song was composed shortly after the action of 25 October 1812. The composer is lost to history, but the tune is called “Decatur’s Victory.”
The Patriotic Diggers – Composed by the eminent American poet Samuel Woodworth, this song describes the preparations for New York’s defense after the burning of Washington on August 24th, 1814.

Music: "USS United States vs. HMS Macedonian", composer unknown, to the tune of "Decatur's Victory" composed by Peter Brice. "The Patriotic Diggers", composed by Samuel Woodworth, to the tune of "The Old Oaken Bucket".
Choreography: Catherine Marafino.


Most Native Americans were forced to leave Maryland during the 1700’s when eastern tribes were being displaced by colonial expansion. The original inhabitants of the area that is now Maryland included the Lenape, Nanticoke, Powhatan, Susquehannock, Tutelo, and Saponi tribes. These tribes are not extinct, but except for descendents who hid or assimilated into white society, they do not live in Maryland anymore. Most Lenape people were forced to relocate to Oklahoma in the 1860’s where they became a part of the Cherokee Nation. We begin this suite with a traditional Cherokee chant, and present the traditional Friendship dance, always done in circles, to represent North America.

Cherokee Chant
Friendship Dance – Native American, African, and European traditions all met through-
out North America and new traditions emerged.
Flatfooting – the older Southern Appalachian form of step dance, an individual
improvisational response to fiddle tunes, is still found all over the
mountains today.
Southern Root – arranging the steps in unison and in patterns of circles and lines
started in the early 1900s. This routine, in a North Carolina style, is the
first piece in our repertoire, created in March of 1979.

The City of Baltimore – was written for this production and refers to the many folks from further South that moved to Baltimore and Maryland seeking better employment and education opportunities.

Shenandoah Breakdown – a favorite bluegrass tune. The Baltimore-Washington area remains a hotspot for Bluegrass music which is one of the results of Irish, English, and Scottish fiddle tunes meeting African sounds in the new world. The modern banjo’s ancestor is likely a gourd instrument from West Africa, and there were many African American banjo players in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, mostly playing homemade banjos. The banjo was a major part of the minstrel shows in the mid 1800s, was wildly popular across the nation, and the instrument continued to evolve. One of the first noted banjo makers was William Esperance Boucher from Baltimore.
Funk on Feet – a contemporary clogging routine. Originally from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, clogging is now found all over the world.

Music: Fiddle tunes: “Coal Black Night,” “Leather Britches,” “Dubuque,” “Possum On A Rail,” all traditional; “Funk on Feet,” Mark Schatz and Jon Glik, “The City of Balti-
more,” Mark Schatz
Choreography: traditional, Eileen Carson Schatz, Heidi Kulas


From colonial times to the present, Maryland, especially Baltimore, has attracted people from all over the world looking for a chance to build a better life. By the mid 19th century, most immigrants were German, African, and Irish, with a smaller percentage of French. In the late 1800’s Austrians, Scandinavians and Russians added to the population, and in the early 1900’s Eastern and Southern Europeans also immigrated to Baltimore. In the 1930’s approximately 3,000 Jewish refugees fleeing Germany arrived, and in the 1940’s the city attracted over 250,000 white, black, and Native American migrants in search of wartime jobs. The many industries in the Baltimore area, such as the McCormick & Company spice factory and Bethlehem Steel of Sparrows Point provided employment. Meanwhile, the city had become a major crossroads for swing and jazz – Billie Holiday, Chick Webb, Eubie Blake, Cab Calloway and his sister Blanche Calloway all were born and raised in Baltimore. Live music and dancing were found in the many clubs and theaters all over town, and from 1922 until the mid 1960’s, the Royal Theater on Pennsylvania Avenue was a nationally known hot spot.

We Need A Good Time – another song written for this production about music and dance lifting our spirits. Matthew Olwell and Emily Oleson bring swing dance to the song. Together they are Good Foot Dance Company and we are very happy to have them with us tonight.

Hoofin’ - a cappella old style tap dance with steps from Eileen, one of our tap heroes
Brenda Bufalino of New York, and the legendary LaVaughn Robinson of Philadelphia, a beloved mentor and teacher who shared the stage with Cab Calloway, Tommy Dorsey, and Ella Fitzgerald and toured with Footworks in the 1980’s.

Tribute to Baltimore Hoofers – Buster Brown, one of the great tap dancers from the 1930’s through the 1970’s, was born and raised in Baltimore and started his career there in the annual “Autumn Follies.” He went on to tour nationally with many of the great jazz legends. “Baby Laurence” Jackson, another of the great tap dancers of the same era and also from Baltimore, started his career as a singer and was around the tap dancers of the time as he toured the Loew’s Circuit. Around 1940 he focused on tap dancing and became a soloist, dancing with the big bands of Duke Ellington and Count Basie throughout the 1940s. In the 1950s he was influenced by Charlie Parker and other bebop musicians and was thought of as a drummer as much as a dancer. This evening we are thrilled to have renowned tap dance artist Baakari Wilder with us. Paying homage to Baltimore Maryland’s legendary hoofers Baby Laurence and Buster Brown, Baakari will include some of their steps and perform to the tunes they favored, “Cute,’ and “Billy’s Bounce.”

Music: “We Need A Good Time,” Eileen Carson Schatz and Mark Schatz, with special thanks to the great song writer Si Kahn for all the source material he shared with us; “Cute,” Neal Hefti; “Billy’s Bounce,” Charlie Parker
Choreography: Emily Oleson, Matthew Olwell, Eileen Carson Schatz, Brenda Bufalino, LaVaughn Robinson, Buster Brown, Baby Laurence, Baakari Wilder.



We present a tribute to the African ancestors and to the African American people and are so delighted to have guest artist Jabari Exum with us this evening to recite poetry that was written for this piece. Guest artist Rita Burns brings the words to life with modern dance.

How Does She Do It? – a poem that acknowledges the experience and journey, especially the strength to overcome.

Music: Drumming, traditional, “How Does She Do It?” Gayle Danley
Choreography: Kim Kristi Jones, Eileen Carson Schatz


The Motown explosion in the 1960s demonstrates the power of music to leap over ethnic and cultural barriers and encourage respect and appreciation. Motown is a record company originally founded by Barry Gordy, Jr. in Detroit, the “Motor City.” Motown played a vital role in the integration of popular American music by achieving major cross over success. From 1961-1971, Motown had 110 Top 10 hits and Motown acts enjoyed widespread popularity with black and white audiences. Popular recording artist Smokey Robinson said: “We were not only making music, we were making history. I did recognize the impact because acts were going all over the world at that time. I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music.” The Royal Theater in Baltimore went on from it’s days hosting the great swing and jazz acts to present all the great Motown Acts into the 1960s.

Dancin’ In the Street – one of the great Motown hits released in 1964 by Martha and The Vandellas. The song was re-issued in 1969 and became a million seller and one of the most played singles in history. We present it here with a “Soul Train” line, popularized by the TV show “Soul Train” that aired from 1971 until 2006.
Dancing in the aisles is encouraged!

Music: William Stevenson, Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter
Choreography: Eileen Carson Schatz, Marsha Searle, improvisation by the dancers


Flatfoot/Tap - Matthew and Baakari trade some flatfooting and tap sounds.
Baakari’s Groove – Baakari brings us contemporary tap dance.

Music: Mark Schatz, Steve Bloom, Baakari Wilder
Choreography: Matthew Olwell, Baakari Wilder


People all over the world gather together to play music and dance for personal expression and to connect with others in a social setting. Powerful traditional music and dance is often found where struggle and hardship are present in the culture and music and dancing give strength and hope. Many of our favorite dances come from using work tools, work shoes and boots, and the body as a musical instrument. There are many versions of this found worldwide.

Hungarian Boot Dance - America’s population is a beautiful tapestry of diverse cultures from many lands. Footworks’ principal dancer Agi Kovacs is an immigrant, born and raised in Hungary. She brought us this boot dance from her native land.

Hambone - we are inspired by early African Americans who sang to aid in their labor and used their own bodies as percussive instruments, called hamboning or pattin’ juba. At the folk festivals of the 1970’s and 1980’s Footworks co-billed with the Georgia Sea Island Singers. At parties after the shows we traded steps and songs and they taught us to hambone.

Steppin’ - created by African American fraternities in the 1970’s. In the late 1990’s Footworks shared a co-bill with Step Afrika!, the first group we know of to bring stepping from it’s origins on college campuses to the performance stage. As long time fans of steppin’, we invited them to guest artist with us in many shows.

Music: “Hambone,” traditional.
Choreography: Eileen Carson Schatz, with special thanks to Frankie and Doug Quimby; Paul Woodruff & Step Afrika!


Flathop - a flatfooting piece that has allowed itself to be taken over by contemporary pop culture and is an intersection of rural and urban traditions.

Hip Hop – from Baltimore native Seth Johnson, a piece with Hip Hop and modern dance influences from his environment.

Music: Fiddle tune “Sugar in the Gourd,” traditional, arranged by Mark Schatz and Steve
Bloom; Beat Box, Jabari Exum
Choreography: Emily Oleson


Drumming has always played a central role in many cultures all over the planet and we could not resist bringing together the muli-cultural array of drums that our musicians play. We present a blending of the Shekere, a West African instrument made from dried gourds, the Bodhran, an Irish frame drum, the Cajon found in Cuba and South America, the Daf, a frame drum from Iran, and the Djembe, a rope-tuned skin covered drum from West Africa. According to the Bamana people of Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying Anke dje, anke be which means “Everyone gather together in peace.”

Abakwa – a popular call and response song from West Africa. Please join in on the
Primordial Soup – jamming on the drums.
6/8 Time - drumming in 6/8 time.

Music: traditional, improvisation from each drummer, arrangement by Steve Bloom


Francis Scott Key was born in what is now Carroll County, Maryland and he studied law at St. John’s College in Annapolis. The Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13, 1814 was a big turning point in the War of 1812 and Key was on board the British ship HMS Tonnant in the Baltimore Harbor to negotiate the exchange of prisoners. He was held captive because he had overheard the British intent to attack Baltimore. Key watched the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry throughout the night and could see the Fort’s American “storm flag” still flying by the light of rocket barrage, but when the battle stopped, he would not know the outcome until dawn. A huge new Garrison flag, which had been made by Baltimore flag maker Mary Pickersgill and her daughter, was raised over Fort McHenry early on the morning of September 14 to replace the tattered storm flag and to signify the American victory. Key was so inspired by the sight of the American flag flying triumphantly above the Fort that he began to write a poem which he completed after his release on September 16 entitled “Defence of Fort McHenry.” Key gave the poem to Judge Joseph H. Nicholson who saw that the words fit the melody of the popular British song “The Anacreontic Song.” Nicholson took the poem to a printer in Baltimore who printed broadside copies of it, and on September 20 the Baltimore Patriot printed the song and it quickly became popular and continued to gain popularity throughout the 19th century. By a law signed on March 3, 1931 by President Herbert Hoover, “The Star Spangled Banner” was made the official national anthem of the United States. We feel a deep connection to Francis Scott Key keeping faith through the night of peril and then writing a song about what the flag symbolized to him: hope and a land of freedom for all.

De Peace – an a cappella percussive dance influenced by the multi-cultural array of
traditions in Footworks’ experience.
“We Dance America” – poetry written for this production, recited by Jabari Exum
The Star Spangled Banner – percussive dance influenced by old style “military” tap.
African drumming and dance
Irish Fiddle Tune with Djembe – traditional Irish dance meets African traditional
American Fiddle Tune – clogging, one result of the blending of cultures in America.
Swing dance – another dance style made in America.
Bucket music – urban American dance.
Tap - another American result of the mixing of percussive dance traditions.
All In – a combining of dances found on these shores.

Music – “We Dance America,” Gayle Danley; “The Star Spangled Banner,” music by John Stafford Smith, lyrics by Francis Scott Key; Irish fiddle tune: “The Silver Spear;” traditional; American fiddle tune: “Steps and Stripes,” Mark Schatz; “Bucket Music,” Steve Bloom
Choreography – Eileen Carson Schatz


The first video is of the Footworks performance at the The 43rd Annual Wheatland Music Festival,
another large project in 2016 was my return to the Festival in Michigan, one of the premier Americana music festivals in North America. I started performing and teaching workshops there early in my career in 1977, and over the years assisted the festival in it’s growth, including dance performances on the main stage and helping to create the children’s area and the dance area with workshops including many styles and designed for all levels and backgrounds.

I had not performed at the festival since 2004, so the return was a special event for me and for members of my company Footworks. I created two main stage performances for the audience of over 10,000 and we taught several workshops. I was able to continue my tradition of bringing a live band to the festival with some of the best in acoustic Americana music: Musical Director Mark Schatz on bass and banjo, Jon Glik on fiddle, and Jordan Tice on guitar, along with special guest artists to the festival, including the Co-Founder of Footworks, Rodney Sutton, Maryland’s own Baakari Wilder, one of the best tap dancers of his generation, and Steve Bloom, a great multicultural percussionist who is also from Maryland.

I had to adapt pieces from the repertoire for the main stage performances and also choreographed some new works suitable for the festival audience. I am presenting the entire project of taking Footworks to the Wheatland Festival and serving as Artistic Director, lead choreographer, vocalist and dancer for the performances for consideration. The video work sample is an over view with highlights showing the range of material that was presented for the Friday and Saturday night performances.

The second video is a segment of a performance at the 20th Annual Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster Farm Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland in September, 2011.

The third video is from Footworks' segment of the "Clogfest" show at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in Shrewsbury, England in August, 2011.

The forth video is of a performance at the Shakori Hills Festival in NC, a truly great multicultural roots music and dance festival. Footworks performed there in 2012 and they hosted us for one of our 35th Anniversary Celebration performances in 2015.

In 2009, I celebrated the 30th anniversary of Footworks, and watching video footage from 1979 on, I was reminded of how lucky I have been to be included in the artist line ups of major Folk Festivals throughout North America and the United Kingdom. These exciting festival environments provided so much inspiration, and many of them added to my growth as a performing artist and choreographer by giving me opportunities to collaborate with artists from a culturally diverse range of backgrounds and traditions.
Although very happy to create theater productions for the last several years, I decided to reconnect with my festival roots. In 2011, Footworks returned to the fabulous Vancouver Folk Festival and also had the honor of being included in the 50th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the very first major festival that I performed for in 1976.

In August and September of 2011 I joined forces with the Turtle Duhks, a great young band whose leader, Leonard Podolak, I have known since he was a child and have mentored. I directed the collaboration and we toured the United Kingdom, presenting numerous shows at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in Shrewsbury, England and at the 20th Annual Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster American Farm Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland.

It is a great honor to perform overseas and represent American culture. At the Shrewsbury Folk Festival I created a show that included material in homage to the English, Scottish, and Irish influences of music and dance that are such a part of the ancestry of American music and dance. I also helped to plan the "Clogfest" show there, a co-bill of all the percussive dancers that were part of the awesome performers line up at the festival. For this show I deliberately kept to only American material for our spot, all my choreography except for the Steppin' segment. The video footage is of this show.

Then we went on to the Ulster American Farm Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland, a UK government-sponsored, high-level museum that focuses on the generation of Irish that fled to the new world:
"Tens of thousands of emigrants from these islands took with them a strong and rich cultural identity to start afresh in the "New World" of pioneer America. Many of these original emigrants were from Ulster and settled in Virginia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. The music of these "backwoods settlers" influenced traditional American Folk Music and has especially made its mark on the "Old-Time" & "Bluegrass" music tradition. We wish to raise awareness amongst the wider community about the various types and styles of music and dance which traveled from these islands to the continent of North America in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. "

The grounds of the Park include a large walking tour through authentic 19th century Irish villages, that leads to a building designed to look like a sea-side dock that houses an authentic ship from the era. The tour takes you through the ship and out the other side into the new world, where they have transported period-correct, authentic cabins, stores, houses, etc, from the Southern United States.

It is in this setting that we had the honor to be included in the awesome line up of artists for the 20th Annual Appalachian and Bluegrass festival. An unsolicited letter sent to the Footworks office is a great example of the responses we received:

Hi Footworks:
I really hope you can come back to Ireland again. Eileen brought her dance performance to the land of Riverdance and had us all on the edge of our seats. The story her troupe told through dance was exhilarating yet heartbreaking, and always spectacular.
The sensitivity with which they brought us the ancient and lost dance of the Cherokee people was haunting and heartbreaking as we look back in shame at what we Europeans destroyed. But the troupe was able to portray the dance of this gentle people as living, breathing humanity, in its glory and splendour, far removed from the cold historical record.
And yet it was with a sense of pride that we watched the introduction of Irish traditional and set dancing to the story, although we could see clearly what it replaced, and it was hard not to notice the subtle blending of our tradition with the emerging tradition of the new world.
Throughout the performance, Eileen kept us entertained with little stories and descriptions, in her warm and gentle accent which we love to imitate! And she taught us how to holler - man could she holler!
The energetic and invigorating crescendo was nothing short of spectacular, and a triumphant display of dancing skill and human endeavour.
The whole show was a rollercoaster of crying, laughing, cheering and hollerin', an emotional, musical and visual experience, testament to Eileen's gift of choreography and story telling through performing arts.


Many of my works as a choreographer are posted with other projects in this Portfolio with productions I created and performed with Footworks. I am delighted to include here large choreography projects that I created for other companies.

In late 2014 and early 2015, I was honored to receive commissions to choreograph new Southern Appalachian Clogging pieces. One project was for Companie de la Danse Manigance in Quebec City, Canada, and one was for the Berea College Country Dancers in Kentucky.

In late February and early March of 2015 I was privileged to be in Quebec, Canada with Companie de danse Manigance. The ensemble is a 40+ year old Quebecois step dance company based in Saint Marie, Quebec. In November of 2014 Manigance’s director, Maude Filion, came to MD to study Southern Appalachian clogging with me, assisted by Footworks’ rehearsal captain Marsha Searle, towards Maude’s goal of adding clogging choreography to her ensemble’s repertoire. She is incredibly talented and quick and I started giving her direction right away for how to use the steps for the new choreography. We worked together through phone and email and she created a very good initial piece using the steps she learned from us and the ideas that I gave her for the choreography. In February of 2015, Manigance brought Marsha and I to Quebec for a residency to teach the company and complete the choreography.

In this video you will see the finished piece, the first part is what Maude created after studying with me, and the second part is new choreography that I created, with Marsha’s assistance and under Maude’s direction after we left. The Manigance dancers are great and also quick and focused and were a great pleasure to work with. Maude titled the piece “La Traversee, Suite des Appalaches" and it has been performed to great response and is now a part of Manigance’s repertoire. Of note is the fact that of all the Southern Appalachian music I brought to Maude's attention, she selected music from Footworks' CD "Lift Up Your Wings" for the choreography, and that is the music heard on this video sample of the piece and the music they use in performance. Together we hope to co-bill in the future at a Canadian festival and I have hopes of inviting Maude to choreograph for Footworks and perform with us as a special guest artist in future productions.

The following is a letter sent by Manigance's director, Maude Filion:

Ste-Marie, January 13th, 2016.

To whom it may concern,

I had the pleasure of working with Eileen Carson in the development of a traditional Clogging choreography for the Compagnie de Danse Manigance situated in Ste-Marie, Québec, Canada.

Manigance is specialized in French-Canadian traditional dances, including Québec's unique stepdancing Gigue. It is based south of Québec City, in the Québec province, and has been promoting Québec's folklore for 40 years now.

Eileen has been a wonderful coach for me, as an artistic director, in this process, but also for the dancers, as interpreters of Appalachian Clogging for the first time. From the very first minute, she adapted her teaching to our quite different way of dancing and transmitted her passion to the dancers.

This whole week with Eileen brought us not only a new style of dancing, but a whole cultural exchange, as she took the time to explain to us the roots of the clogging and the cultural heritage that is today still living in the South-Appalachian region.

As there is no doubt about Eileen's knowledge of the American culture, I wholeheartedly recommend working with her for her professionalism, her skills as a teacher and choreographer, as well as her full engagement in projects.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions,

Maude Filion
Artistic Director
Compagnie de Danse Manigance
Ste-Marie de Beauce, Québec, Canada [email protected]


In early 2014 the Berea College Country Dancers' Director, Deborah Thompson, invited Footworks to present a residency for the college in Kentucky. The project included a full company Footworks performance in November of 2014 for the entire Berea College campus and local community. This was followed by an intensive residency in January, 2015 on the Berea College campus to teach and choreograph for the 76 year old ensemble. I, with assistance from Footworks' rehearsal captain Marsha Searle, taught clogging, arts integration, and movement to Education and Dance majors and other dance classes on campus.  I also choreographed and taught a new Southern Appalachian Suite with assistance from Marsha to add to the Berea College Country Dancers' repertoire.  Footworks' Musical Director, Mark Schatz, assisted with musical arrangements, taught instrumental classes to students in the music program, and performed the music for the unveiling of the new suite.

The Berea College Country Dancers are a legendary group in the traditional dance field. The ensemble was going through a transition with mostly new dancers, and their director had not been in the role very long and had taken on the huge challenge of retaining a vast repertoire while at the same time taking steps to bring the group further along by adding the project and new choreography with me.

The second video is of one of the very first run-thrus of the Suite in one of the last rehearsals. The live music is provided by Al White, leader of their band, and Mark Schatz. The Suite has been performed on the Berea campus and on their tours in 2015 and is now included in their repertoire. It was quite a pleasure and honor to work with such a revered and long standing company.

The following is a letter sent by the director of the Berea College Country Dancers, Deborah Thompson:

To whom it may concern:

This letter is in support of the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble (hereafter referred to as Footworks), both as a performance group and as choreographers. At Berea College during this past school year (2014-15), they presented one of their signature evenings of performance, to great excitement on the campus, and later, came for a two week choreography residency. The main purpose of their visits was as part of a revitalization of the Country Dancers, our long-standing college traditional dance team, first by providing an inspiring and rousing performance, thereby increasing the campus appetite for clogging and other forms of percussive dance.

Second, but more important, two members of the group, founder and artistic director, Eileen Carson Schatz, and rehearsal captain and company manager, Marsha Searle, came to Berea College for a two-week residency to create new choreography for the Country Dancers team. They also served a larger portion of the campus population through workshops for the Dance Education class and the Social and Folk Dance class. These students learned several percussive dance styles and were also made aware of the value of traditional dance through Eileen's passionate and multicultural presentation of the history of percussive dance in America and its antecedents.

I was very impressed at Eileen's and Marsha's abilities in dealing with a large range of ability among our dancers, from those who had just been accepted into the group to those who have danced for much of their lives. It was obvious they had done their homework and came with some ideas in mind, and they were still able to leave us with a phenomenal 8 minutes of choreography for our group within two weeks, and one that also captured the personality and style of our institution and team. The choreography was ambitious but accessible, leaving us with a suite including a wide variety of styles from historical to contemporary, smooth to bouncy, and segments for the varying levels of ability. All members of the ensemble were thus able to feel that vital mix of achievement and challenge that keeps them coming back for more. Eileen and Marsha were able to take responsibility for the team's rehearsals and direction for those two weeks while being sensitive to not taking over, thus building on and building up the current group leadership, emphasizing teamwork and responsibility among the members.

One of the most valuable parts of the residency was the individual meetings Eileen had with the troupe members, in which she not only helped the dancers with their footwork, but helped build a sense of professionalism among the dancers, then further developing this through personal and affectionate interactions with each individual, as well as innovative warm-up exercises and educational techniques.

In all of our interactions, Footworks was very prompt, professional, and thorough and they took great pains to insure clarity, understanding, and achievable expectations. They balanced flexibility with the experience and knowledge of what works and what is fair for independent artists, thus ensuring a great outcome for all.

I highly recommend Eileen Carson Schatz and Marsha Searle as dance residency leaders, choreographers, dancers, artists, and businesswomen, and the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble as professional artists who will work closely with individuals and institutions to provide high-quality, educational artistic experiences.

7 Deborah J. Thompson, Ph.D.,Coordinator of Country Dance Programs

Investing in Lives of Great Promise



I have been a singer my whole life, singing with my family, with school choruses throughout my youth, and with numerous choirs as an adult. I am the lead singer for all concerts with Footworks, with our side project “Mark Schatz and Friends”, and with “The Gratitones”, a vocal trio that sings for our church, fund raisers for local non-profits, and other occasions needing inspirational music. I am currently singing with the McDaniel College Gospel Choir in Westminster, and have been commissioned by the college music department to add rhythm exercises for the music students in the choir, and to choreograph a dance for all 50 singers in the choir for their Spring 2016 concert. I will be working with the fabulous choir director, Shelley Ensor, to explore additional ways to add dance and movement for this concert.

As a songwriter, I often get “hooks” or inspirations for a song and have completed several of them. I am delighted that some of my songs have been recorded and performed by other artists. I have included here a sampling of songs I have written and performed.

The first video is of a performance with the Footworks band of "We Need A Good Time," a swing song that includes Baltimore locations and hot spots from the swing/jazz era in Baltimore that I researched for the Footworks production “Steps and Stripes.” Mark Schatz gave some assistance with the music. The song is now included in the “Tap Roots Suite” in the Footworks production “Hot Strings and Flying Feet” and was written to include audience participation.

The second video is of “I Take You With Me” performed by me with “Mark Schatz and Friends” at 49 West Coffeehouse in Annapolis, MD. The musicians are Ricky Simpkins on mandolin, Mark Schatz on upright bass and harmony vocals, Jordan Tice on guitar, and Marion Overman on drums and harmony vocals.

The third video is of “Winter Star” performed by me with “Mark Schatz and Friends” at 49 West Coffeehouse in Annapolis. The musicians are Alexander Mitchell on fiddle, Mark Delaney on mandolin, Mark Schatz on upright bass and harmony vocals, Jordan Tice on guitar, and Elizabeth Melvin on piano and harmony vocals.

The first audio recording is of my gospel song “He Lifts Me.” The song first appeared on the Footworks “Lift Up Your Wings” CD, then was included by Tim and Mollie O’Brien on their CD “Away Out on the Mountain.” In 1997 the song won “Best Gospel Song” in the national Chris Austin Songwriting Competition held annually and the high profile “Merlefest” in NC. It was subsequently recorded by The Issacs, one of the best bluegrass gospel bands performing today, and by gospel artist Lynda Randle. This recording is by Lynda Randle.

The second audio recording is of “Happy New Year, Baby”, one of my all time favorite songs that I have written. I am singing lead and the musicians are Joe Herrmann on guitar, Mark Schatz on upright bass, and Sam Herrmann on hammered dulcimer and harmony vocals.


We Need a Good Time
-Eileen Carson and Mark Schatz

We need a good time, yes we do
Let’s have a good time, come on now
Put your hands in the air and shake them about
Clap real hard, let’s sing and shout
We need a good time, yes we do
Let’s have a good time, come on now
Meet me at the corner of Charles Street and Pratt
Come on baby, let’s show ‘em where it’s at.

Fillin’ jars at McCormick’s Plant is where my days are spent
You roll the steel down at Sparrow’s Point, that’s how we pay the rent
All week long we’re up at dawn and work a long hard day
When Friday finally rolls around, here’s what I have to say

I’ll fix my hair, get all dressed up, put on your dancin’ shoes
We’ll go downtown and make the scene on Pennsylvaia Avenue
The Royal will be hoppin’ with the hottest jazz around
And if they play that Baltimore Bounce, they’ll be no sittin’ down

Even in Charm City there are hard times, this is true
But things I know will be alright as long as I have you
To take me out and make me laugh and dance the Lindy Hop
I don’t think I could make it if the music ever stopped.

Last Ch:
We need a good time, yes we do
Let’s have a good time, come on now
Put your hands in the air and shake them about
Clap real hard, let’s sing and shout
We need a good time, yes we do
Let’s have a good time, come on now
Meet me at the corner of Charles Street and Pratt
Come on baby, let’s show ‘em where it’s at,
Come on baby, that’s where I’m at.

I Take You With Me -Eileen Carson

I leave this place that feels like home
Back to my life on the roam
I take you with me love, where I go
I take you with me love, where I go

We did our best to be kind
And now it must be left behind
I take you with me love, where I go
I take you with me love, where I go

Where I go I may not know
And life may sometimes lay me bare
But no matter where the road leads
I will always feel you there

We sang our songs from the heart
They never die though we part
I take you with me love, where I go
I take you with me love, where I go

And now I swim this winding stream
Refusing to forget our dream
I take you with me love, where I go
I take you with me love, where I go
I take you with me love, where I go

Winter Star -Eileen Carson

Oh star, oh star I see you
In the velvet night.
And when you shine down on us
It blesses all in sight.

Oh star shine down
And bring the light of day,
And your star shine
Through the darkness lights the way.

Oh winter wind keep blowin’
And stir up our delight.
And when we feel you on us
It quickens all the night.

Oh fire keep a burnin’
And warm us from the chill.
Take us to a quiet place
Where time itself stands still.

He Lifts Me -Eileen Carson

When I’m feelin’ down and blue
Lord help me call out to you.
Life’s load is hard to abide
I’m glad I’ve got you by my side.

The Lord, he lifts me with his strong arms,
Oh yes he does.
The Lord, he lifts me with his strong arms,
Oh yes he does.

Despair and grief can cloud my view,
Help me see the signs of you.
Light the way through life’s dark times
And help me heal this heart of mine.

How to live day by day,
Help me Lord and show me the way.
In your house I long to reside,
I’m glad I’ve got you by my side.

Happy New Year Baby -Eileen Carson

Oh the year it draws to a close
And we tried our very best.
Days and hours slip away like time that never slows,
Still remembering you won’t rest.
And I know we said in a whisper
Time to part and go our own ways.
But I can’t let our love fade into the past,
And in my heart you’ll stay.

So Happy New Year Baby,
Happy New Year my love.
Oh I hope you’re somewhere safe and warm
And you raise a glass to me.

Oh the New Year now is here
And this wish to you I’m sending.
Though the way ahead isn’t clear
I know our hearts will keep on mending.
Our love changed yet kept on growing,
And it’s there to see us through.
We will not regret the lessons learned
And to our paths will be true

Last Ch:
So Happy New Year Baby,
Happy New Year my friend.
Oh I hope you’re somewhere safe and warm
And you raise a glass to me.

Arts in Education


In 2015 I received a sizeable grant to create a new school show for elementary through college grades called “Irish Roots and American Branches” that will also be suitable for general public audiences. The show has already been performed and received very enthusiastic responses from teachers and students and has several bookings for this season. The production is fully arts-integrated with visual aids and audience participation. The following is the Study Guide for teachers:


“Irish Roots and American Branches”

Footworks illuminates the American story of traditions coming from the old world and meeting others here, resulting in new traditions in an exciting, educating, and entertaining program. Students will learn the powerful role the Irish played in the shaping of Maryland, the United States, and American culture. The program includes traditional Irish dance accompanied by live Irish music and some of the descendant American forms of music and dance. Footworks is celebrating 36 years as a professional company, performing for theaters and festivals internationally, and the 2015-16 school term will be their 35th season performing and teaching in Maryland schools.

“The Footworks assembly was fantastic! Every child and teacher was engaged from beginning to end. They were wonderful, and we hope to have them back!” – Lothian Elementary School


Ceili (Ceilidh) – a party with music, dancing, and often story telling
Celtic – of or relating to the Celts or their languages.
Celts – a member of a group of people (such as the Irish or Welsh) who lived in ancient Britain and parts of western Europe.
Contribute – to give (something, such as money, goods, or time) to help a person, group, cause, or organization
: to help to cause something to happen
Culture – the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.
Emigrant – a person who leaves a country or region to live in another one; a person who emigrates.
Emigrate – to leave a country or region to live elsewhere.
Famine – a situation in which many people do not have enough food to eat.
Fiddle – a violin.
Gaelic – the traditional language or Goidelic speech of the Celts in Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Scottish Highlands.
Immigrant – a person who comes to a country to live there.
Immigrate – to come to a country to live there.
Jig – any of several lively springy dances in triple rhythm; music to which a jig may be danced.
Perseverance - the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult.
Potato Famine - Irish Potato Famine, also called Great Potato Famine, Great Irish Famine, or Famine of 1845–49, occurred in Ireland in 1845–49 when the potato crop failed in successive years. The crop failures were caused by late blight, a disease that destroys both the leaves and the edible roots, or tubers, of the potato plant.
Reel – a lively Scottish-Highland dance (and Irish dance) in 4/4 time; also the music for this dance.
Sean Nos – Old Style Irish Dancing.
Set Dance – an Irish social dance.
Slip Jig – a lively irish dance to 6/8 time.
Social Dance – a group dance or couple dance done for social and usually recreational purposes. Social dances can be danced with a variety of partners in a relaxed, easy atmosphere.
Tradition - a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time; the stories, beliefs, etc., that have been part of the culture of a group of people for a long time.
Work Ethic - a belief in work as a moral good.


“Fiddly Me” – The following song is used in the performance to teach the Irish Immigration story. It is a traditional tune with the lyrics from the show written by Mark Schatz and Eileen Carson Schatz.
The following is a link to the original song used as source material:

“Fiddly Me”

Fiddly me ree I ree ann
The roots are deep in Ireland
Fiddly me ree I ree ah
The branches grow in America

Traditions helped them through the days
Of hardship in so many ways
The fiddle with its jigs and reels
At ceili’s how it did appeal

Sean Nos steps on the old wood floor
Both young and old would call for more
A set dance or a song was sung
That told a tale in the Gaelic tongue

Potatoes were what they all ate
Then came the famine that sealed their fate
It’s starve or choose to emigrate
Across the Atlantic Ocean

Unskilled they took what they could find
They built the B&O railroad lines
They joined the US army for
To fight in that awful Civil war.

Life in the new world it was tough
These newcomers were treated rough
To help them keep their spirits strong
They turned to dance and tunes & song

The music changed as they did meet
Folks in the hills and city streets
Native and African Americans
The steps and songs did change and blend

With a workers back and a poet’s heart
In America they made their mark
From Eugene O’Neil to Kennedy
They’re part of our identity


Books In Grade Level Order

“Flying Feet: A Story of Irish Dance”, by Anna Marlis Burgard and Leighanne Dees. Chronicle Books, Jan. 2005: preschool – 3rd grade.

“Rhythms and Dances for Elementary Schools”, by Dorothy La Salle. A.S. Barnes and Company, 1939: preK- 6th grade.

“S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet”, by Eve Bunting and Illustrated by Matt Faulkner. Sleeping Bear Press, Chelsea, MI, 2007: 1st -3rd grade.

“Popular Irish Songs”, by Florence Leniston. Dover Publications, 1992: 1st -12th grade.

“Across the Water: Teaching Irish Music and Dance at Home and Abroad”, by Rebecca E. Farrell. R&L Education, 2010: 3rd-12th grade.

“Irish Fairy and Folk Tales”, Fall River Press, 2014: 6th – 12th grade.

“The Story of Irish Dance”, by Helen Brennan. Roberts Rinehart, 2001: 6th-12th grade.

“The Irish Americans: A History”, by Jay P. Dolan. Bloomsbury Press, New York, 2008: 9th-12th grade.

“The Irish Americans”, by William Griffin. Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, 1998: 9th grade-12th grade.

“The Irish Way: Becoming American In the Multiethnic City”, by James R. Barrett. Penguin Group Inc., New York, 2012: 9th grade- 12th grade.

“The Irish Reel Book”, by Patrick Steinbach. AMA Verlag, 2005: For teachers.


“Mullagh Half Set” – an example of irish set dancing, circa 1970’s.

“All-Irelenad Irish Dancing Competition in 1926” – shows both adults and children competing.

“Around the Floor and Mind the Dresser” – wonderful example of people dancing for fun and sociality.

“Step Dancing From 1963” -

“Irish Dance Archive” – Another Irish Dance Video from the 1950’s this begins with the announcer speaking in Gaelic.

“Kilfenora music festival 2015”- shows a modern ceili.


Maryland Historical Society: They have information about Irish immigrants to MD and it offers: Tours and Workshops, Research Center, and Virtual Field Trips.
Photos of early immigrants to Baltimore, including Irish, have been kept by the MDHS and can be seen online at this link:

1. Begin by asking students, “What caused people from all over the world to migrate to the United States?” Have students discuss in small groups. The teacher will explain why the Irish migrated to the United States (fleeing poverty and famine, seeking better employment opportunities and political and religious freedom).

In 1816, 6,000 Irish people immigrated to America. Within two years this number had doubled and would continue to grow. The greatest spike in the number of Irish who immigrated to America came when the Potato Famine devastated Ireland from 1845-1853. In 1846, 92,484 immigrated and by 1850 that number had grown to 206,041. It was certainly a dramatic increase from the figure just thirty years earlier. By the end of 1854, two million Irish had immigrated to America. This was nearly one quarter of the population of Ireland. It was during this dramatic exodus that Baltimore experienced an increase in its Irish population. The Irish who came to Baltimore settled in the southwestern part of the city and most men went to work for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Women immigrants usually worked as domestics. Men went to work for the railroad because employment opportunities for Irish were scarce. Irish immigrants were mainly farmers and lacked the skills to work in businesses or crafts. Due to their lack of skilled labor, Irish immigrants faced a great deal of discrimination. They were viewed as inferior people.
Baltimore became the third most common point of entry for European immigrants, behind New York and Boston. In 1867, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad entered into a partnership with the North German Lloy Stemship Line to build immigration piers at Locust Point. The ships landing at Locust Point would drop off German, Irish and English immigrants. From there, immigrants could immediately go and work for the railroad or board a train and continue westward.
The Irish experience in Baltimore was one of hardship and challenge. By examining images and primary source materials, students can get a first-hand account of what the immigrant experience was; both in Ireland and in America. The students can also learn about the specific experiences of the Irish immigrants who came to Baltimore.
Source: Extracted from The Irish Shrine at Lemmon Street; Baltimore City Historical Society; Library of Congress-Irish Immigration; Marist College-The Irish in the Hudson Valley
2. Explain that the United States is a nation of immigrants. Except for the descendants of the Native
Americans living on this continent before the arrival of other people, everyone living in the United
States today is the descendant of someone who came to this country from somewhere else.
Ask students whether they know anyone who has immigrated to the United States from another country and whether they know the story of their own family’s immigration to the U.S. Have students share some of these stories with the class.

3. Discuss the difference between immigrant and emigrant. See vocabulary. Try this memorization technique to help the students remember the difference: Immigrant starts with an “I” and describes people who come IN to a country to live. Emigrant starts with an “E” and describes people who LEEEEAVE a country to live in another country.

4. Go over the vocabulary as a class. Discuss what you think a ceili would look like? Watch the videos “Around the Floor and Mind the Dresser” and “Mullagh Half Set”. What do you think a modern ceili would look like? Watch “Kilfora Music Festival 2015” to see if the students’ ideas were correct.

5. Before the assembly ask the students to be prepared to evaluate and talk about their experience as audience members. After the assembly, as a class, discuss what you just saw. What were your favorite parts? What were some of the new vocabulary words you learned? What did you learn to do? How can you share what you learned with those around you? How can you continue learning more?


1. Writing assignment: Write a review of the assembly you just saw and include what you learned and analyze what you saw. Do you feel the Irish played a role in shaping Maryland, the United States, and American culture? Use the information you learned in the assembly to support your claims.

W1 CCR Anchor Standard Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

2. Tell students that the period of heaviest immigration happened about 100 years ago, between about
1870 and 1910. People came from all over Europe in search of a better life, more freedoms, and economic opportunity. Many of these newcomers arrived in the United States at Baltimore’s Locust Point, where the B&O Railroad built a large immigration facility. Ask students what types of Irish people they think might have immigrated. Wealthy people? Poor people? Families or single men? People who faced persecution?

Have students pretend that they are newspaper reporters covering the first ships to arrive at the Baltimore’s Locust Point. Direct students to write an article that describes the scene as the Irish immigrants unload from the steamship and enter the reception center. Students may choose to draw a picture to accompany their article.
Closure: Have students present their articles as if they were delivering a news broadcast.

3. Make up a story about a young person who emigrates from Ireland to America. Include hardships, daily tasks, fun activities, etc. Try to imagine how they might accomplish the same things as you each day but in a different way. Incorporate what you learned in the assembly. Include what activities they did to keep their spirits up and to connect with each other.
4. As a class, make up your own words to the melody you learned in the show. (This activity can be used with any lesson plan.) Try to use rhyming in the composition. You can also split the class into smaller groups and have the groups work together to create their own lyrics. Have each group present their song to the class.
5. Write down all the new vocabulary words you learned today? Can you define each of them?
What caused the Irish people to migrate to the United States?
What are some of the consequences of Irish migration to and within Maryland and the United States?
What are the interactions, contributions, and the results of the migration of various people and cultures to the United States?
How did Irish traditional music and dance affect the lives of Irish immigrants in the new world?
How did Irish traditional music and dance affect American music and dance?
How does participation in traditional music and dance benefit people from any cultural background?

OTHER ARTS IN EDUCATION PROGRAMMING that I have created includes the show called "Keeping the Beat: Multicultural Influences in American Music and Dance", and a residency program called "Roots and Rhythm".

I consistently receive great feed back from teachers and students:

" Eileen is amazing! We are so grateful to have had her back! The kids were AWESOME this afternoon. Eileen brings content, skills and ideas that the kids enjoy, learn and are excited about! We were certainly sad to see her go! If there was some way we could keep her forever we would!"

Nikki Rittling
P.E. Teacher/ WIN Team

From a 4th grade student:

"I really enjoyed you teaching us! It was really fun too! I had a lot of great feeling inside of me, and it felt like all I could do was dance! My heart had only DANCE!!! It was the best feeling ever! You are a WONDERFUL dance teacher, you taught us so much, and I love how you were really patient with us!"

And from a 3rd grade student:

"You are the best. Thank you for teaching us about culture and to dance. I hope you have a great life and great shows. I want you to do shows all over the world and make other people happy just like you did with us!"


The first video has selections from the show I created for school auditorium performances called 'Keeping The Beat." The second video includes a promo piece with Young Audiences of Maryland (YAMD) and an overview of the culminating sharing after a 3 day residency with 7th graders at a middle school in Baltimore. The residency connects to and illuminates the social studies curriculum and the students learn the background of each culture and how music and dance is a deep expression of the human experience, often vital to the survival of individuals and communities. You will see on the video the students learned Irish, Cherokee, African American Juba with lots of individual improv, and the Boot Dance from South Africa. The footage ends with a student sharing a poem with me that the residency inspired in her.

The third video is from my largest school residency to date, when I taught at a school in Baltimore County from January - May of 2013. I worked with 3 classes of sixth grade boys and each class focused on one tradition they shared for the culminating event. I also choreographed a finale piece for all 64 students, and the performance received enthusiastic response from students, faculty, and parents.

The fourth video is part of the culminating sharing from elementary students in Anne Arundel County at the end of my arts integrated residency "Understanding the Star Spangled Banner Through Dance" that was presented from 2012-14 to connect with the bicentennial of the national anthem written in the Baltimore harbor.


SoleMates 2003 - 2004

This footage provides an overview of a production I created in collaboration with the Washington, DC based group Step Afrika!

This show grew out of my life experience, starting with family members from the South being Civil Rights advocates, to my parents filling our home with the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson along with Uncle Dave Macon and Johnny Cash, to my experiences as a teen while living in Japan and attending an American school during the height of the Motown music era with many African American classmates with whom I danced every day, to later exposure and participation with the Southern African American traditions of buck dancing and hamboning with fellow artists at folk festivals, to a deep and long term friendship with Philadelphia Tap legend LaVaughn Robinson.

I am very grateful that my path took me to major folk and world music and dance events where I had the opportunity to see and jam and collaborate with many diverse and great acts, from a double dutch jump rope team from Detroit, to stellar blues acts from Chicago and Memphis, to the Ghettoriginals, the Hip Hop group that was one of eight acts, along with my group, that was selected to represent American culture for the Smithsonian's America Festival in Japan. All along the way, over and over, I watched music and dance open the hearts of artists (and audiences) from different ethnic backgrounds and we always easily found each other's commonalities, especially on the dance floor. As Joseph Shambalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo said to me at the Winnipeg Folk Festival while sharing our amazement at similarities between our Southern Appalachian steps and their South African steps, "You know it is because God is everywhere that you and I dance the same steps." The most important theme in my choreography and productions is to reveal the similarities from culture to culture while celebrating the differences. Percussive dance, from whatever tradition, is such a powerful response to music, actually becoming a part of the music by adding sounds while dancing, and is a beautiful expression of the universal human need to make a joyful noise.

I first saw Steppin' at the National Folk Festival some time in the 80s and was blown away by it's percussiveness, precision, and the power of the moves in unison. I met StepAfrika! some time in the late 90s when we were performing on the same co-bill, and later invited them to be our guest artists in a show I produced at Maryland Hall in Annapolis.

In 2002, I invited them to guest artist/collaborate with me and Footworks to create "SoleMates." I secured funding support from the MSAC New Initiative Grant along with some Maryland theaters as presenting partners. From Steppin' to stepdance, from the diamond mines of South Africa to the coal mines of Southern Appalachia, "SoleMates" featured music, song and dance associated with white and black communities in America while tracing the roots of these connected forms in African dance, Irish dance and more.

" SoleMates... lit up the stage in this highly successful collaboration... the audience was entranced by this riveting American experience." - The Washington Post

I did a lot of research while I was creating this production, and the following program notes give some historical context and will help identify what you see on the video.



Balanta is a dance tradition from Senegal. Created by a community that prides itself on its spiritual connections with nature as well as excellent herding skills, the dance reflects the playful energies that can exist between man and woman. Each costume was made by the dancer who wears it.

Choreography: Randee Lynn Grant
Music: Traditional drumming by Medoune Gueye, Ernest Shaw & Lauretta Noble

Dance, music, song, and storytelling are all a part of traditional Irish homelife. This piece shows stepdancing along with social ceili figures and sets. Traditional instrumentation includes wooden flute and bodhran, a wooden frame drum made with goatskin. The embroidery on the "solo dresses" take after designs in the Book of Kells.

Choreography/Steps: Megan Downes, Maureen Berry, Eileen Carson, Matthew Olwell, Donny Golden
Music: Traditional, including Planxty Drury (jig), O'Farrell's Welcome to Limerick (slip jig), Lad O'Beirne's (hornpipe), Sweets of May (jig), Toss the Feathers (reel), Kiss the Maid Behind the Barrell (reel)

Singing and making music have always been a way to bring people together and find common ground. In the late 1800s, a Southern dance party could be a social gathering of the moneyed land-owners, or a hoe-down in the mountains, or a jam at the juke-joint. Musicians for dance-parties could be traveling minstrels or musicians from the local community, whether farm-hands or townspeople. When most of the company retired for the evening, the musicians might go all night! Black and white musicians would play with each other on the bandstand and after hours. String bands from this era consisted of fiddle, banjo, tambourine, bones, and guitar. People jammed with each other using body-slapping hamboning, patting Juba, singing, and buck-dancing as a way to make music and rhythm without any instrumentation, and everybody could improvise and participate.

Choreography: Eileen Carson, Matthew Olwell, Megan Downes, Matthew Gordon, Mark Schatz; hambone and dance rhythms also improvised by the company
Music: Traditional, including Mississippi Sawyer, Buffalo Gals, Miller's Reel, Sally in the Garden, and Angelina Baker; "I Do Love" -traditional, from the singing of Guy Davis, with vocal improvisation by soloists Brian Williams & Lauretta Noble
Mark is playing a fretless banjo made in the 1880s.

The work whistle blows and the long hard day is over. It's time for making music with each other, sharing joys and hardships. In northern England, the coal miners turned work tools into props for the Rapper Sword, an ensemble dance expressing the power of teamwork, symbolic of the strength and fearlessness of the workers. The lyrics of "Dark As A Dungeon", written in 1947 by the son of a Kentucky coal miner, convey the intensity of the mining life that profoundly impacts the culture of Southern Appalachia. Fiddle tunes and dancing like in Footworks' "RiverRoot" help to keep spirits up during hard times in the mountains. Step Afrika!'s piece, "Sebenza" (Work), originated through the company's collaboration with The Soweto Dance Theatre. The gumboot dance is a tradition created by South African workers who labored in the oppressive mining industry of then-apartheid South Africa. Isolated from their families for long periods and in need of entertainment, the miners began to create rhythms with their boots to pass the time. The dance has become one of the most popular traditions in all of southern Africa.

Choreography: Eileen Carson, Maureen Berry, Emily Crews, Kirsten Smith, Laura Cortese, David Macemon (Rapper), Mbuyiselwa Jackie Semela (Sebenza)
Music: Traditional; "Calgary"-Mark Schatz; "Dark As A Dungeon"-Merle Travis
Vocalist: Eileen Carson

-- Intermission --


A common language that transcends boundaries of class, race, and background, music is a soulful expression of our collective cultural experience. In our selection tonight, we will blend African drums, African-American bones, and contemporary American string-band music in a piece composed by our Musical Director called "Steppin' in the Boilerhouse". Mark wrote it to inspire new clogging students in a class that he was playing for at the Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins, West Virginia.

Music: "Steppin' in the Boilerhouse" -Mark Schatz

The wooden clogs historically worn by English dancers were a form of tap shoes. Providing the practical, sturdy protection of a work shoe, the carved wooden soles had an undeniable use as a musical tool. Many of the rhythms were performed in the States in vaudeville or minstrel shows, helping to influence and integrate with the music and dance that were being created here. Tap originated in America, and along with Southern Appalachian clogging, grew from roots in many traditions and styles. Here, guest artist Kelly Isaacs helps to illustrate the relationship of tap to traditional English hornpipe steps.

Choreography: Kelly Isaacs (also improvisation), Heidi Kulas, Eileen Carson
Music: Traditional hornpipes: Off to California, Joe Burke's

The human voice has lifted spirits and brought people together down through the ages. "One Beautiful Day" is a contemporary song from bluegrass band Front Range.

Music: "One Beautiful Day" -R.C. Amos

An inspiring piece from Step Afrika!'s repertoire, Wade celebrates the merging of three dynamic African and American dance styles with the resonant melodies of African-American spiritual songs.

Music: traditional spiritual; Voices by Lauretta Noble & Brian Williams.
Choreography: LeeAnet Noble, Kirsten Smith & Paul Woodruff

This suite of songs, tunes, and accompanying dances illuminates some of the connections within American music, from blues to old-time to bluegrass. "Far Away Blues" is woman's blues, a duet from the singing of Bessie Smith and Clara Smith. Choreographed by Eileen Carson in her early days as a clogger, "Guitniks" is somewhere between buck dance and clogging, and danced to the twelve-bar blues. "Raleigh and Spencer" is a striking example of the impact of the blues on old-time fiddle music. This kind of tune often inspires the dancing of casual, old-time flatfooting, which is about keeping the beat and joining in the jam, rather than showing off. The tunes go up-tempo with "Stay All Night" for a routine choreographed in the style of the North Carolina Green Grass Cloggers, precision social clogging such as might be done at a festival competition or recreational performance. "Sittin' On Top of the World" is a blues song that found its way into old-time and bluegrass circles, and is now considered a bluegrass standard. Bill Monroe, known as the father of bluegrass, was inspired by his Uncle Pen's string band, The Mississippi Sheiks. Playing alongside the old-timey fiddle in that band was a blues guitarist. This evening, our band plays "Sittin' On Top of the World" in a version akin to Uncle Pen's band, and then carries the same tune into modern bluegrass style. Monroe's tune "Jerusalem Ridge" motivates a modern clogging piece from Footworks. Usually danced to pop music, bluegrass, or country, contemporary clogging has a widespread following, with national competitions. Its style continues to integrate different forms of traditional and popular dance from tap to stepdance to hip-hop, and leaves room for improvisation.

Choreography: Eileen Carson, Heidi Kulas;
Music: "Far Away Blues"-traditional; Vocal duet performed by Eileen Carson & Kirsten Smith. "Guitniks" -Jeff Sarli, "Raleigh and Spencer" -traditional, "Stay All Night" -traditional, "Sittin' On Top of the World" -traditional, "Jerusalem Ridge" -Bill Monroe

Stepping is a percussive dance genre created by African American fraternities and sororities. Step Afrika's signature piece highlights stepping styles found within each of these historic organizations as well as the unconventional merging of female and male traditions.

Arranged by: Kirsten Smith & Jeff Johnson


Choreography: Eileen Carson and Maureen Berry
Music: "Cajun Stomp" -Mark Schatz, "Miss McLeod's" ?traditional

  • SoleMates

    This is an overview of a collaboration between Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble and Step Afrika.
  • Skin & Bones

    Footworks' Musical Director, Mark Schatz, jams on a 19th century fretless banjo with bones player, Rowan Corbett, in a lighter moment of the Crossroads Suite.
  • Clogging

    Clogging is one of the exuberant dance forms that evolved from the mixing of traditions in this country.
  • Balanta

    Step Afrika! lets this dance from Senegal represent some of the African roots of African American.
  • Boot Dance

    The African Boot dance, done here by Step Afrika!, developed in the gold and diamond mines of South Africa.
  • Rapper

    The Rapper Sword Dance, done here by Footworks, developed in the coal mines of Northern England
  • Hornpipe to Tap

    African Americans and English cloggers crossed paths on the old Vaudeville and medicine show circuits, a likely influence on the evolution of American tap dance. Director Eileen Carson has juxtaposed a traditional English hornpipe in wooden shoes with a tap dancer to illuminate this connection.
  • Rince - Ceol

    Footworks lets Irish Dance represent the many European immigrants who sought a new life in the United States.
  • Shhh!

    Step Afrika! has brought African American Steppin', once found only in African American fraternities and Sororities, into performance venues nationally and abroad.
  • After Hours Party

    19th Century dance bands often included both black and white musicians. Director, Eileen Carson, staged this "After Hours Party" to help portray this connection.

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