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buckdancer, Murfreesboro
Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award (2011)

National Heritage Fellowship (2017)

Thomas Maupin (1938- ) was raised in a farming family in Eagleville known for dancers, in a time when community square dances were still common. As an exceptional dancer from an early age, he had a special love for the rhythmic flat-foot steps that accompany the social group figures of square dancing. It was not until middle age that Thomas gained notoriety for his buckdancing talent and innovations, when he began entering dance competitions at traditional music events, beginning in the 1970s. Over the next 30 years, he won over 60 championships throughout Tennessee and the South. More recently, Thomas has been less concerned with titles than with inspiring more appreciation for his dance heritage through exhibition performances, workshops, and teaching, often accompanied by his grandson Daniel Rothwell, who’s developed into a fine old-time banjo player.

Governor’s Arts Award profile

National Heritage Fellowship profile

Further Reading

  • Cogswell, Robert, Tradition: Tennessee Lives & Legacies (Nashville: Tennessee Arts Commission, 2010), pp. 90-95.
  • Gunderson, Linda, “Thomas Maupin: When I’m A-dancing,” Old Time Herald 10, no. 2 (Fall, 2005): 8-10.
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