Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review: Mormon Pioneer Dances: 31 Authentic Dances of the Early Saints, Compiled by Laraine Miner

Mormon Pioneer Dances: 31 Authentic Dances of the Early Saints, Compiled by Laraine Miner
2017, 172p, Non-fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Purchased a copy through Amazon

Host your own pioneer ball with this easy-to-understand book and DVD set. Learn how to Dance the Virginia Reel, French Four, Danish Waltz, and more!

Dress in historical costumes

Adapt the dances to large groups

This is an invaluable resource for dancers and pioneer enthusiasts alike!

Over the past year, my daughter has been part of a youth folk dance group, which is part of the reason I'm not blogging as much as I used to--that, as well as other things we're doing, have become pretty time consuming. In full disclosure, she was involved in one of the groups for this project so I might be just a little bit biased about this book. ;)

When I met Laraine, I was impressed with her knowledge of pioneer dances and authentic clothing. She was easy to work with and is absolutely amazing!

I was excited to get my hands on this book to see the finished product. My daughter and I sat down and watched her dances first, which was lots of fun. We then watched all the other ones and there are lots more she's looking forward to learning!

I enjoyed learning the history of dancing in the Mormon culture. Laraine covers the where, when, what, how and why the pioneers danced. I also got a kick out of some of the "rules." The majority of the book covers each dance with a short history and detailed steps. Music is included so having live musicians is an option. At the end, she includes a section on the proper pioneer clothing for men, women and children which is helpful for the times you want to be authentic.

This will make a fun activity for Trek, a family reunion, or even a youth activity. The DVD is helpful to see what the dances actually look like and to help learn the steps. Dancing is a wholesome, fun activity that adults, teens, and even small children can enjoy doing together!

Here's a sample of one of the dances. My daughter is in the cream dress. If you're interested in learning these dances, and are local, I just might have some connections. ;)

LARAINE MINER has written and published several dance-related articles, including “Mormon Folklore” in Viltis, Magazine of Folklore and Folkdance, and “Jewish Religious Dance” AAHPERD & National Dance Association’s Monograph Focus on Dance X: Religion and Dance. She presented her Master’s Project “Early Utah Dances: at the 1985 national Congress on Research On Dance conference. In 1995 she co-authored with Michael Hamblin Old Time Utah Dances, a self-published book/CD combo. She currently lives in Orem, Utah.


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