Every region has its tradition of storytelling, and the Ozark mountains have there own particular lore. The telling of stories was a traditional way to pass the time, whether at work, or of an evening at home. Our stories are shaped by the location of the Ozarks at the gateway to the west. As a result, hill country antics come out cheek to jowl with cowboy stories. Mim Heinrichs has been a storyteller for many years, and has worked in schools, house concerts, and before scholarly university audiences. Stories can reflect the collections of Vance Randolph, or the first person frontier narratives of European adventurers such a Friedrich Gerstacker in the 1830's. In a workshop, you will learn to place yourself in the story to make the telling real, to tell the tall tale as though you saw it yourself, and to evoke the heartbreak of loss. Mim leads these  workshops solo, and with Foot Song. When with Foot Song, ballads, dancing, and tunes become part of the class experience.

Southern mountain harmony singing, with Joanie and Mim. These workshops can be an introduction to tradtional ballads, a singing exploration of song migration from Europe to the US, or an exploration of how to get that edgy, eerie harmony sound that came out of the hills and hollers. Percussion often finds a place in the singing  to help make the story the whole world for a few wonderful minutes. Workshops can have a particular focus such as the songs of Almeda Riddle or Jimmy Driftwood, both Arkansas natives.  Joanie and Mim often teach workshops singly, but really enjoy working together to bring the harmony singing to life. These workshops are FUN!Workshops for all ages and skill levels.

These are the traditional percussive arts with which we keep and project the beat of old time tunes and ballads. Ozark Foot Song uses percussion not just to drive a fiddle tune for square dancing, but to put the listener more firmly in the story that a ballad is telling. Percussion can be the inexorable movement of fate in a murder ballad, the rumbling of the freight cars in a train song, and the high spirits of a gathering in a celebration song. In the workshops, students will learn when and when not to beat out the rhythm. When to dance for sound, but not to be seen, and how not to upstage the singer. Any of the instruments, feet, bones, and hands (hambone) can be the focus of a workshop, although an overview of all three is popular. We often teach workshops singly, but as Foot Song, we can really put the class in an old time front porch session. These workshops are FUN! Workshops for all ages and skill levels. Sets of bones are provided for class use.

Foot percussion


Jig & Flatfoot Dance

Hour long, all day, and week long workshops, at beginning to advanced levels. Mixed skill classes are typical, and we think they are the most fun!

Jig dance is the Ozark Mountain cousin of Appalachian flatfoot dance. Experienced flatfoot and clog dancers will find enough similarity to be comfortable, and enough differences to be challenged. Jig dance is mostly danced close to the floor, with notable exceptions in particular movements. Expect to learn steps and movements that have elements of flatfooting, buck dance, tap, and older style clogging.

Learn how to step while moving in an old time square dance figure, how to be the percussion accompaniment to a ballad, work on making your sound crisp and sharp, or pick up a personalized show-out step.

Steve has taught workshops in several states and Great Britain, and most recently in Scotland and England. He is the current Clifftop flatfoot champion in his age group, and overall champion in the  Augusta Heritage competition. Classes can be to recorded music, but live music classes are extra fun. In combination with Ozark Foot Song, workshops can provide banjo and guitar accompaniment.

Songs & Ballads


Bones, Hambone