If you have ever attended a traditional square dance in West Virginia, odds are you have seen Lou Maiuri in action. Maiuri was teaching dance long before Travolta and Swayze made their moves popular or “Dancing with the Stars” debuted. “I dearly love to dance,” says Maiuri.
Maiuri is known across the country for his skills as a clogger, flatfooter and old-time mountain-style square dance caller. Music and culture has always played an important part in Maiuri’s life. In particular, he became interested in string music while in his teens, which then sparked his interest in dancing. Shortly after high school, Maiuri was introduced to the older style of flatfoot dancing on trips to Pocahontas County with his father. Subsequent trips eventually led to his participation in square dancing at the Dunmore Community Center.
His love of dancing inspired him to become an instructor of traditional Appalachian dance and modern line dancing, and he has dedicated more than 25 years of his life to sharing Appalachian culture across the country.
Beginner or expert, Maiuri welcomes all.
"Bringing traditional dance and instruction to our state parks is a labor of love for Maiuri. His love of people and his love for dance is obvious when you attend one of Lou’s events,” says Sissie Summers, state parks programming administrator.
Now, at the “tender age” of 80-something,” Maiuri and his dance team conduct square-dancing presentations and instruction at various locations across the state. West Virginia’s state parks are a popular stop.
“I’ve had some great experiences over the years” said Maiuri. “Some really prestigious things have happened to me.”
A 1998-inductee into America's Clogging Hall of Fame and a 1988-member of the All-American Clogging Team, Maiuri has won countless awards both as a solo performer and a team dancer, and is the founder and director of Appalachian Country Cloggers.
Maiuri has had the opportunity to call square dancing at the New York City Barn Dance, teach and perform at Berea College in Kentucky, and call at the Vandalia Festival, the Appalachian String Band Festival and the August Heritage Festival. He also had the privilege of dancing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry with the Melvin Sloan Dancers during the Opry’s 75th anniversary celebration.
The most heart-felt accomplishment for Maiuri came when he was selected as the 2008 Vandalia Award Winner. The Vandalia Award is West Virginia’s highest folk life honor given to one individual each year for a lifetime contribution to West Virginia’s traditional heritage.
Maiuri’s summer schedule at various West Virginia state parks and forests will be a busy one this year. To catch him in action, visit www.wvstateparks.com for locations and dance times.
Let’s Dance! Appalachian Dance
Square-dancing w/ Lou Maiuri 2011
||Time / Location
|Holly River State Park
||Fri., July 1
|Twin Falls State Park
||Fri., July 8
|North Bend State Park
||Sat., July 9
|Watoga State Park
||Fri., July 15
||8:00 p.m. - Rec. Hall
|Blackwater Falls State Park
||Sat., July 16
|Pipestem State Park
||Thurs., July 21
|Beech Fork State Park
||Sat., July 23
|Lost River State Park
||Thurs., July 28
|Cacapon Resort State Park
||Fri., July 29