Dumplin’s & Dancin’

The 5th annual Dumplin’s & Dancin’ will take place November 1-2, 2019.

Dumplin’s & Dancin’ is more than just a get-together. It’s a community-wide gathering where farmers, musicians, chefs, square dance callers, seed savers, dancers, and food activists, all committed to the preservation of Appalachian foodways and dance traditions, come together to learn, network, and eat at the historic Hindman Settlement School. Attendees may choose to take part in a host of workshops and each evening features a powerful keynote along with lively music and dancing.


  • Kitchen Table: a pre-event opportunity where local foodies and chefs take local ingredients and design a dish to share together.
  • A locally-sourced Feast prepared by three of Kentucky’s finest chefs, Ouita Michel, Kristin Smith, and Sara Bradley.
  • Special dance classes, including Appalachian play party games, folk dances of Mexico, and clogging.
  • Opportunities to share stories during informal “gather rounds” and the Cornbread Circle.
  • Nightly square dances will feature performances from the house band and special guest musicians and callers.

Explore the tabs below to discover more about Dumplin’s & Dancin’ and its staff. To register, click here or the link in the blue banner near the bottom of the page.



Friday, November 1
3:00pm Registration Mullins Center
4:00pm Kitchen Table Experience Kitchen
6:00pm Kitchen Table Meal Dining Hall
8:00pm Square Dance Great Hall
Saturday, November 2
8:30-9:30am Registration Mullins Center
9:30-10:40am Short Concurrent SessionCornbread (Jason Brashear)
Pull Candy (Maggie Bowling)
Various Locations
9:30-11:55am Long Concurrent SessionApple Pies/ Cast Iron Cooking (Katie Hoffman) Various Locations
10:45-11:55am Short Concurrent Session

Fried Chicken
Appalachian Dancing & Play Party Games (Randy Wilson)

Various Locations
12:00pm Lunch Dining Hall
1:00-2:10pm Short Concurrent Session

Soupbean Pie (Stephanie Jeter)
Shucky Beans (Lora Smith)
Salt Curing Pork (Dr. Gregg Rentfrow)

Various Locations
2:20-3:30pm Short Concurrent Session

Salt Rising Bread (Susan Brown)
Folk Dance of Mexico/Ballet folklórico de México and Appalachian flatfooting/clogging (Paulina Vazquez and Carla Gover)

Various Locations
3:30- 4:00pm Group Sing Various Locations
4:00- 5:30pm Cornbread Circle Great Hall
6:30pm Feast / Keynote (Ouita Michel, Kristin Smith, Lora Smith, and Crew) Mullins Center-Dining Hall
8:00pm Community Square Dance Mullins Center-Great Hall

For concurrent session descriptions, click the “Sessions” tab.


Concurrent Sessions

Short Current Sessions

Appalachian Dancing & Play Party Games
Come join in the fun of old time children’s games, singing games, square dances and running sets from the mountains. All of these activities will be taught step-by-step. People of all ages are welcome to participate in this class and no previous experience with dancing is required. Randy Wilson served for over thirty-five years as the Folk Arts Education Director for Hindman Settlement School. Randy knows a wealth of dances and games that come from eastern Kentucky communities, and he has taught in public schools, colleges and universities, and many community dances. The dance at the Carcassonne school house in Letcher County is the longest continually running square dance in Kentucky, and it is home to a local style of square dancing. Randy is now the regular dance caller at Carcassonne, and some of the unique figures from that dance tradition will be taught in this workshop. Musicians can join in the band to play for the square dance portion of this workshop.

Play party games are simple social dances in which the game players sing to make their own musical accompaniment. Randy learned play party games from eastern Kentucky singer and folklorist Jean Ritchie, who said, “When I was growing up, play parties and games and songs were our way of having fun . . . The play party games took place largely around harvest time, around the work, you know . . . and on weekends it was the reward for working all during the week. Some family would let the children all come in and play games. You had to call it playing games. You didn’t call it dancing because dancing was sinful . . . so it got to be called a play party.” Jean distinguished the play party games from running sets, which were accompanied by a string band. “You call it square dancing now, I guess, but we always called it running sets, whether it was a big set or a little set. It had a fiddle, it had music and you didn’t have to sing unless you wanted to. People would clog just to show off, one person here and there. It wasn’t a whole set of cloggers, it was just one person clogging to show off for their girlfriend or whatever. If it was a Saturday night, it went on ’til midnight and then you had to stop because it was Sunday!”

Folk Dance of Mexico/Ballet folklórico de México and Appalachian flatfooting/clogging
All are welcome to participate in this workshop. There is no minimum age requirement and no previous dance experience is required.  This workshop will share percussive steps from various traditions in Mexican dance alongside basic flatfooting and clogging steps from Appalachia. Students will compare and contrast stylistic similarities and differences, and discuss the cultural influences that shaped dance throughout the Americas. Participants will come away with basic steps they can practice with a variety of Appalachian and Mexican folk tunes, and an enhanced appreciation of both dance traditions.

The Character of Cornbread
Cornbread can be a much-debated topic in Southern Foodways. Salt or not, buttermilk or sweet milk, yellow meal or white, the debates rage on. Let’s discuss your opinions while we make our favorite version of our favorite southern staple.

Salt Curing Pork
Each state or region of the US has a food that is uniquely theirs.  The Country Hams is part of Kentucky’s food heritage and can be traced back to the region’s earliest settlers.  Learn about and how to make a Country Ham, along with what supplies you need to successfully make your own part of Kentucky’s food heritage.

Salt Rising Bread
Since salt rising bread is a time-intensive undertaking, we will not have the necessary 24 hours together to make this bread from start to finish. However, I will bring the ingredients to demonstrate how to make each of the stages of the bread, and I will happily share all my tips and advice on what you need to know to be successful making this beloved bread. I will also show a short power point presentation that I have put together about the history and science of the bread. In addition, I have collected many heartwarming and sometimes very funny stories from people who have eaten salt rising bread, which I will share with you.  I always like to hear the salt rising bread stories from participants in the class, as well. Last but not least, I will bring along some salt rising bread, my toaster, and a jar of our homemade apple butter so that everyone can get a taste of it. (For those who don’t know, salt rising bread is eaten and loved mostly as toast with butter on it).

Long Current Sessions

Cookin’ in Cast Iron: Banjo Man’s Fried Apple Pies
We’re passionate about cast iron, and we love nothing better than matching cooks and collectors with the right pans for their purpose. We also love showing folks how to use these pans to best advantage. This class lets us do a little of everything we love—including offering some insight into Appalachian foodways. We’ll start with an interactive presentation on choosing and caring for a cast iron pan. We’ll talk about why we prefer vintage pans to new ones. Then we’ll let you actually test drive (test cook?) a pan or two. We’ll teach you how to make fried apple pies in cast iron, using the Tiller Family recipe. There is nothing like a fried apple pie hot off of a cast iron pan—sweet and cinnamon-y—and you’ll get to try our version! Of course, we’ll send you home with the recipe so that you can make them any time you like. And if you need a pan, we’ll have plenty of those for sale as well.


Staff Bios

A native of Cornettsville, KY, Jason Brashear is the Director of Foodways at Hindman Settlement School. Coming from a strong background in Agriculture, Jason raises, shows, and judges livestock coast to coast. He dove into the local food movement in 2013 and has really developed an interest in Appalachian Cuisine. He now marvels at the simplicity of his grandmother cornbread, and how that simple dish still brings him comfort today.

Susan Brown grew up in Ronceverte, West Virginia where she learned to make salt rising bread many years ago from her grandmother, Katheryn Erwin, who also lived in Ronceverte. Grandmother made salt rising bread all of her life, as did her mother and her grandmother who passed on this time-honored family tradition to her.

Because she always loved my grandmother and her salt rising bread so much, she was drawn to preserve and to understand this beloved heritage more deeply. Susan has spent over 25 years extensively researching its history, lore, and science. This quest has taken her to libraries and bread museums across the United States and in Europe, as well as into the kitchens and living rooms of hundreds of expert salt rising bread bakers. Brown has co-authored a book that has everything in it that she has learned about salt rising bread over those years. The book is entitled: Salt Rising Bread: Recipes and Heartfelt Stories of a Nearly Lost Appalachian Tradition.

Carla Gover, an East-Kentucky native, has absorbed the rhythms of traditional dancing all her life. Growing up in Letcher County, she learned from dancers at the schoolhouse at Carcassonne and many other music and dance gatherings. Carla has performed with professional dance troupes, such as the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, and she has twenty-five years of experience as a teaching artist. Carla offers instruction in clogging and the more old-fashioned flatfoot-style dancing in 
workshops for all ages.   Students start with very basic steps and learn how to add on to them to create rhythms 
that will let them be “percussionists with their feet.”

Katie Hoffman grew up in Richmond, VA. She is a lover of all things Appalachian—including music, food, literature, and the landscape. Katie’s PhD is in English (UT Knoxville, 2008), but her specialty is really Appalachian Studies. She’s a singer of traditional Appalachian ballads and a singer/songwriter with a CD to her credit, Beautiful Day. The CD features 9 of Katie’s original songs. It was produced by Raymond McLain and features the incredible talent of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Band. Katie also co-chaired the Appalachian section of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC during the summer of 2003. She was the traditional music producer for a 4-part PBS series entitled Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People.After 20-plus years as an academic, she is now a consultant and performer with a business of her own, Appalworks, which promotes Appalachian arts and culture. She is also the Marketing and Promotions Director for a non-profit online farmer’s market, Fall Line Farms and Local Roots. When it comes to Vintage Kitchen Cast Iron and Collectibles, Katie serves as the sales force—keeping the website and social media up to date, and working with clients and retail outlets to ensure that Brett’s handiwork gets out into the public where folks can admire (and buy) it.

Dr. Gregg Rentfrow is an Associate Extension Professor of Meat Science at the University of Kentucky.  Dr. Rentfrow has over 30 years’ experience in the meats industry after beginning his career as a retail meat cutter in 1989.  He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science and Meat Science, respectively, at the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in Meat Science and Muscle Biology at the University of Missouri.  He joined the faculty in the Department of Animal and Food Science at the University of Kentucky in 2006.  Dr. Rentfrow’s marque extension programs are the UK Meat Cutting School, the 4-H Country Ham Project, and the Food Systems Innovation Center.  He lives in Madison County with his wife and daughter and his hobbies include Powerlifting, Martial Arts, and NASCAR.

Brett C. Tiller grew up in Lebanon, Virginia on top (literally) of a mountain. He was required to milk the cow before he could go to school “of a mornin’.” Brett works for a small firm called Host Enginieering in Sulphur Springs, TN as an electronics technician. He can fix anything—lawn mowers, mixers, radios, and—you guessed it—cast iron! As a high schooler, Brett became interested in bluegrass, and received a banjo as a graduation present. After a couple of years of lessons, he put it away to become a respectable member of society. Lucky for us, Brett decided at age 39 to pick the banjo back up again. In 2005, he became part of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass program. He has been a member of the Rockingham Road bluegrass band since 2007. Brett loves to cook and garden, and he also loves to haunt flea markets and antique shops looking for neglected cast iron that he can bring back to life. Several years ago, Brett’s father decided to sell his large collection of vintage cast iron, and Vintage Kitchen Cast Iron and Collectibles was born. You can see Brett’s attention to detail in each piece of carefully restored cast iron we sell. He’s the restoration expert at Vintage Kitchen, and he makes those pans really shine.

Paulina Vazquez believes the dances of Mexico tell stories. Every region and place in Mexico has different styles of music and dance, different styles of self-expression, and different beliefs, which are reflected by their art forms. In her dance workshops, Paulina Vazquez shares the rich and varied folk traditions of Mexico that she learned as a child. She covers the basics such as form, body alignment and posture, costuming, and history for the various styles she teaches. Her classes include steps from various regions, such as Sinaloa, Jalisco, and Vera Cruz, as well as steps that go with Banda music. Paulina can teach to men and women, young and old, and shares her heritage with deep love and enthusiasm.



Retreat Registration (includes Saturday workshops, lunch, and The Feast): $95
Kitchen Table Pre-Event (includes pre-event experience and dinner): $30
Feast Only: $45

Lodging is available for an additional fee. Please email linda@hindmansettlement.org to book your accommodations on our historic campus!

To registerclick here or the link in the blue banner near the bottom of the page.

About Campus

About Campus

The campus is hilly and there will be some walking during the event. So, bring comfortable shoes. Please detail any mobility issues or concerns during the registration process and we will make every effort to accommodate your needs.

Rooms are simple, but comfortable. Bed linens, pillows, and towels are provided, but you will need to bring your own toiletries. Our facilities utilize shared bathrooms. Consequently, you may wish to bring a robe. There are no telephones or TVs. A small, shared refrigerator is available.

Wireless Internet is available in the Mullins Center, Gathering Place, and Stucky buildings. The Knott County Public Library, located adjacent to campus, has public computers available with Internet access.

Depending on you service provider, cell phone coverage is spotty to good. You can leave the main office number (606-785-5475) as an emergency contact number. It is staffed during business hours. After hours, in the event of an emergency, a staff member may be reached at 606-438-5455.

All buildings are air-conditioned and smoke-free.

Pets, firearms, and alcohol are prohibited on School property.

Dress is casual, but shirt and shoes are required.

Our dining hall offers traditional and vegetarian meal options. Please indicate your dietary preference during the registration process. We have a filtered water system at the Dining Hall and public water is supplied from the Carr Fork Reservoir. The tap water is drinkable, but some prefer to bring their own drinking water. Bottled water is also available for purchase on campus.

A Dollar General, a Rite-Aid, and an IGA grocery store are located a few miles down the road. A small convenience store is located within walking distance of campus. A Wal-Mart and other major stores are located in Hazard, which is about 20 minutes away.

This event is supported in part by the Outreach Fund of the Country Dance and Song Society. www.CDSS.org