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“I Dearly Love to Dance”

Mountain Dancer Lou Maiuri

By Doug Van Gundy

Photographs by Michael Keller

Lou Maiuri on stage
Lou Maiuri is a nationally respected traditional dancer. Here, he demonstrates some of his fine Appalachian flatfooting for an audience in Oklahoma in 1998.

If you have ever attended a traditional square dance in West Virginia, the odds are pretty good that you have seen Lou Maiuri in action. And if you have ever danced to Lou’s calling, seen how he welcomes beginners and experts alike onto the floor, watched him line out the dance so clearly and easily, and heard him turn to the waiting band and ask for “a little traveling music,” then you could be forgiven for thinking that this man was born with leather-soled shoes on his feet and a microphone in his hand. But you’d be wrong.

Now in his 78th year, Lou Maiuri [pronounced “My-yoo-ree”] of Summersville has been calling square dances professionally for a little more than a quarter century. He turned a lifelong love of all kinds of dancing into a second career, one that has taken him all over the Mountain State, as well as to Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, and regularly as far afield as Florida and Oklahoma. According to Lou, “About everything I do revolves around dancing. I don’t say it’s my whole life right now, but it practically is. Everything that I do, in one way or another, directly or indirectly involves dancing.”

You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.