Thursday, June 04, 2015


Every year at the Ocracoke Festival I lead a traditional island square dance.

The Ocracoke square dance was held regularly on the island from the mid 1700s until the early 1960s. In recent years the dance has been a feature of the Ocracoke Festival, the island's July 4th celebration, several fall get-togethers, and various other events. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the dances were often held in private homes. Later they were held in public spaces including the lodge of the old Doxsee Clam Factory, on the dock at Captain Bill Gaskill’s Pamlico Inn, at Stanley Wahab’s Silver Lake Inn (now the Island Inn), and in the building that now houses the Ocracoke Variety Store.

The Ocracoke Island dance is actually a big circle dance, much like big circle dances performed in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States. However, islanders traditionally referred to their dance as a square dance.

It is great fun...and easy to learn. Come out to the Community Square at 8 pm on Saturday for good music, energetic dancing, and good fun!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous4:27 PM

    sounds like fun.

  2. Anonymous10:24 AM

    When people would line dance cowboy boots ,hats and denim jeans, shirts with pearlized snap closures were worn. There was a time when square dancing "required" a certain "costume" I suppose it was to add to the atmosphere as many dancers danced "competitively" anyway, I wonder is it a "serious" effort to truly educate dancers as to the correct steps to follow as this truly American Folk custom must not die and the keepers of the flame are to be respected. The sock hop and dance parties at home have fallen by the wayside. Faith Popcorn was right the American has cocooned-- a walk man head sets, ear buds feed the ego.. The community and social interaction of the me generation has sown its seeds of naval gazing.