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buckdancer, Dickson
National Heritage Fellowship (1990)

Raised in Dickson County’s thriving music and dance tradition, Robert Spicer (1921-2002) became a master of flat-foot buckdancing, the fancy individual stepwork often associated with the group figures of squaredancing. Spicer was part of the first generation to professionalize this form of community social dancing in exhibition settings, performing in troupes on the Grand Ole Opry and other performance stages. As a group leader, he increasingly became involved in teaching young dancers. Beginning in the 1950s, he trained several generations of dancers from his part of Middle Tennessee. Spicer’s Dickson County Squaredancers performed widely across the state and were known for preserving traditional buckdance styles and steps, although many of his students went on to dance professionally in more choreographed clogging troupes.

National Heritage Award profile

More Information

  • Beasley, Kay. “Meet Mr. Spicer,” Steppin’ In Time (Old-Time Music and Dance Foundation) 1, #1 (Fall, 1987): 1, 7-8.
  • Christian, Jackie. “Robert T. Spicer – Flatfoot Buckdancer,” Steppin’ In Time (Old-Time Music and Dance Foundation) 1,#2 (Winter, 1988): 1, 3, 5-8.
  • ——-. “Robert T. Spicer,” Steppin’ In Time (Old-Time Music and Dance Foundation) 1, #3 (Spring, 1988): 1, 3-4, 7, 11.
  • Govenar, Alan, Masters of Traditional Arts: A Biographical Dictionary (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2001), pp. 582-83, 735.
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