“Sociability is the whole point of the Appalachian dance,” Joe Sam Queen says, in Blue Ridge Music Trails. “Appalachian big round dance includes everybody in the community. Everyone joins in, young and old, rich and poor.” Queen—dance caller, architect, farmer, and North Carolina state legislator—feels that this welcoming aspect must not be lost sight of as mountain dancing is carried into the future. He feels that the essence of public dances is hospitality.
The Queen family’s love of and accomplishment in dancing goes back at least five generations. Joe Sam’s grandfather, Sam Love Queen, Sr., founded the Soco Gap Cloggers and was the caller for Waynesville’s street dances. Sam Love Queen’s own grandmother danced even at the age of ninety-six.
Joe Sam Queen, like his ancestors, has a lot to do with the vitality of mountain dance in Haywood County and environs today. A native of Waynesville, he has an extensive record of community service that includes work with Folkmoot USA, the Appalachian Music and Dance Preservation Society, and the Friends of Mountain History. For more than thirty years, he directed the Smoky Mountain Folk Festival. He organizes and calls the Summer Street Dances on Waynesville’s Main Street, and is generous with his time and talent in teaching mountain dance traditions to a rising generation.
Joe Sam Queen calls public dances, and is occasionally available to call dances at weddings and for other occasions. He is also available for classes and workshops to teach callers.