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Rebecca Keeter

Rebecca Keeter

Dancer, Dance Instructor, Old-time Musician Banner Elk (Avery County)

Dancer, dance instructor, and old-time musician Rebecca Keeter has travelled the world studying and participating in folk dances, and she is an expert on southern Appalachian flatfoot, clogging, and group dancing styles. Rebecca has been an active member of the North Carolina clogging and old-time music communities since the 1970s, particularly in Avery and Watauga counties where she makes her home.

Rebecca studied dance under master professor Mavis Rae at East Carolina University, and during this time several of her dancing and music friends were forming the Green Grass Cloggers. Outside of her collegiate studies, Rebecca knew how to play guitar and had a band with some girlfriends performing popular folk and folk-rock music of the day. She also spent a lot of time attending fiddlers conventions, square dances, clogging events, and music gatherings where she was exposed to old-time and bluegrass music.

After college, Rebecca spent time in Greece and in the western part of the country learning more about folk dancing. She enrolled in the Peace Corp, and when her plans to move to Grenada were derailed, Rebecca was placed in western North Carolina through the Vista program. She was assigned to the New Mental Health Center, serving five counties in north west North Carolina.

Rebecca found a home on the edge of Avery County with part of her property adjoining Ray and Rosa Hicks on Beech Mountain. Other neighbors included Stanley Hicks and Edd Presnell, and Rebecca quickly befriended the local community of traditional dancers, storytellers, musicians, instrument builders, woodworkers, and singers of the area. She also met others in the community of similar age, who were also interested in old-time music and traditional dance styles, including Dick Terrier, the Corklickers, and many more.

Robert Dotson, a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award recipient for his flatfoot dancing, became an important friend and mentor. Robert hosted many music and dance gatherings, and a cabin he built for these parties became one of the important meeting places for musicians and dancers in the area.

Rebecca spent many years as an Artist in Residence, teaching dance and movement throughout western North Carolina. She taught dance in Caldwell County Schools and was named Dance Educator of the Year by the North Carolina Department of Instruction. At Appalachian State University, she teaches course on folk dances from around the world and specializes in Appalachian clogging.

Rebecca is available for presentations and instruction on Appalachian dance styles and history. She is available to call dances on a limited basis. She also plays guitar with various old-time string bands.