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Thomas MaupinAn honored recipient of the Governor’s Folklife Heritage Award and winner of over 60 first place awards in  contests across region, Thomas Maupin is widely considered Tennessee’s most gifted practitioner of flatfoot buck dancing.  Flatfoot buckdance is a percussive dance similar to, but older than, tap dance and clogging.  Its roots go back to an early American syncretism of Scots- Irish step dance with African dance and rhythm that was popularized in nineteenth century minstrel shows.  “I grew up in a large farming family full of dancers,” Maupin says.  “I can still remember the sound of my grandmother’s bare heels hitting the floor, right on top of the beat. That made a big impact on me.” He learned the basics of this improvisational dance form as a child and continued to hone his skills throughout his life. Buckdancing – often performed spontaneously on a wooden plank that the dancer carries with him to events – is increasingly becoming supplanted by choreographed, competitive clogging.  Maupin states, “Buck dance is typically done with the feet closer to the floor, focusing on sound rather than acrobatics, trying to match the note values of the music.”  Maupin has already been teaching his chosen apprentice, Courtney Williams, who he believes has natural talent and the determination needed to perfect this dance tradition.  They plan to perform together at Breaking Up Winter, the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University, and other events and venues.

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