How many basement rehearsal rooms have you been in that literally shake with the pounding steps of ten flatfoot dancers? If you’ve never had the pleasure, then you could try imagining a team of tap dancers...add a smidgeon more stomping, kicking, laughing, and top it off with a lot of whooping.
The students at Davis and Elkins College take this wild rumpus music very seriously though. The dancers exchange little nods with their string band- a group of five students who play the fiddle, mandolin, guitar, washboard and banjo.
They're all part of a new program at Davis and Elkins College that's helping to preserve the art of traditional music and dance.
Their group is called the Appalachian Ensemble- a touring string band and dance ensemble. The college treats the musicians and flatfoot dancers like sports stars: it offers them scholarships to play. The group started just four years ago - so the first students to participate will graduate this year. Roxy Todd recently spent a day hanging out with the Appalachian Ensemble as they were practicing, and creating, their own style of fusion Appalachian music.