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112Southern Cultures of my problems that I had through the day." When asked what he thinks about while he dances, Steffey replies bluntly that he imagines getting "hold of them scabs and stomping on them a little bit." The video manages to show that traditional dance remains an important part of community life in southwestern Virginia, but it conveys the vitality of the tradition only sporadically. During square dance scenes, which sometimes extend to more than three minutes, the camera is far from the dancers. While this angle allows us to see most of the dancers, they appear distant and their movements seem to lack energy. Close-ups that capture intensity and create variety for the eye are used sparingly. The viewer is left anticipating the end of the scene rather than captivated by the spirit of the music and the dance. Free style dances, in which individuals and couples take the floor to dance without callers, fare better. The camera gets closer to the action, and the viewer feels more immediacy . Unfortunately, the video focuses only briefly on skilled dancers or on a couple energized by one another's dancing. The viewer derives some satisfaction from watching participants express their individuality within the context of a supportive community; however, giving equal time to those dancers who are not particularly skilled or creative causes the dance scenes to drag at times. Interviews interwoven with dance footage are informative, but they, too, slow the pace of the film. With the exception of documentation of Steffey at the UMW rally, participants are not interviewed on the scene. Instead, the viewer sees dancers, musicians, and callers reflecting calmly on past events rather than reacting emotionally to immediate experiences. Missing are scenes of callers perspiring at the close of a long evening, a closeup shot of a fiddler straining to hold out until the end of a lengthy dance, or interviews with couples as they exit from the dance floor. While Step Back Cindy provides insightful analysis and sound contextual information , it includes little exploration of the deep emotions that appear to lie at the core of tradition in the Appalachians. The video concludes with "Redbone" Steffey asserting strongly that "it's what's inside that counts." Had Johnson heeded Steffey's advice, her documentary would be more inspiring. Despite this flaw, Step Back Cindy remains a much-needed visual record of a long-lived tradition and shows, through interviews with credible informants , why dance remains important in the region. Exiles and Fugitives: The Letters ofJacques and Raîssa Maritain, Allen Tate, and Caroline Gordon. Edited byJohn M. Dunaway. Louisiana State University Press, 1992. 144 pp. Cloth, $22.50. Reviewed by Alphonse Vinh, a fellow ofBerkeley College at Yale University. He is a librarian at the Yale Library and teaches bibliography in the Yale history and English departments. On 13 January 1940 the French philosopher Jacques Maritain, his wife Raîssa, and his sister -in-law Véra Oumansoff arrived at the port of New York. They were among ten thousand French nationals who found themselves expatriated to the New World as the Old World disintegrated in the flames of war. Fugitives from Nazi tyranny and exiles from the shores of their prostrate France, the Maritains were destined for a fateful encounter with Reviews113 another pair of fugitives and exiles, Caroline Gordon and Allen Tate. John Dunaway, native Georgian and scholar of French literature, has now edited the correspondence between the Tates and the Maritains, chronicling one of literature's most extraordinary cross-cultural friendships. Both the Tates and the Maritains actively participated in the cultural renaissance of their respective traditions. Caroline and Allen, her husband, were important members of the Southern Agrarian movement during the twenties and thirties. Meanwhile, in France, Catholic intellectuals were busy creating a great revival of the culture of Catholic France, long moribund under the dominance of its implacable enemy, Republican France. At the heart of the renouveau catholique were the shining figures of Jacques and Raîssa Maritain. John Dunaway writes, "Both the Maritains and the Tates began their careers in literary renaissance groups that favored the wisdom of the ancients over the prophets of modern secularization." This...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 112-115
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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