Category Archives: Dances

Joint Rush Parties

Title: Joint Rush Parties

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore
  • Informant: E.W. ’22
  • Date Collected: 05/22/2020

Informant Data:

  • E.W. is a female Dartmouth Student. She is affiliated.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Fraternities and Sororities at Dartmouth both partake in rush and bid night parties. These are parties for the new members of their respective houses. Sometimes a Fraternity and Sorority will together throw a joint party for their new members.
  • Social Context: The celebration of new members of a house is usually some form of social gathering. The combining of two different houses for a social gathering meant for the new members is a common social practice.


  • The joint parties of a Fraternity and Sorority refer to parties thrown by two houses together to celebrate their new class of members. These are therefore much larger and grander than celebrations done just by members of the house themselves. 

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found this to be a cool tradition as it mixes the somewhat separate processes of rushing a Fraternity versus a Sorority.

Collector’s Name: Charlie Wade


  • Customary Lore
  • Celebrations
  • Fraternity/Sorority

My Little Tea Pot

Title: My little tea pot

Informant data:

  • Chlöe Conacher was born on May 9, 1997. She grew up in Toronto Ontario and currently lives in the Bay Area California. She has an older brother and a younger sister. She went to a private school in Canada for the first half of her life but then went to a private high school in California. Her parents are both Canadian. Chlöe is majoring in neuroscience and has an interest in soccer dancing and art. She currently attends Dartmouth College and is in the class of 2019.

Contextual context:

  • Social Context:
    • While telling me this nursery rhyme Chlöe was extremely happy and excited. This was one of her favorite nursery rhymes as a child. She heard this nursery rhyme from her parents. She also heard and shared this nursery rhyme during family reunions and holidays. She has many younger cousins and so every time their family would gather she would play with them and sing nursery rhymes- Little Tea Pot was a favorite.  Chlöe didn’t just sing this nursery rhyme, she performed it as well. While singing the short song she would act out motions. She would place one arm on her hip and one hand bent over and away from her head like a tea kettle spot. She would then embody the tea kettle and bend her body to the side and act as though she was pouring tea out of her spout. As she grew up she would teach her little cousins this and watch them dance along to the rhyme
  • Cultura Context:
    • When Chlöe was little the nursery rhyme was just a fun game to play with her family and friends. She used to get excited when she heard the tune of this song come one because she loved the dance and the actions that go with it so much. She continues this tradition of singing and dancing to this rhyme with her cousins. The last time she heard this was the summer of 2017 when she had a family reunion and her “little cousins tried to master and perform the dance for the older cousins.” Today the nursery rhyme has less of a literal meaning but more of an underlying meaning. Today she remembers this as a song that brought her family together and allowed them to enjoy each other’s company.



“I’m a little tea pot short and stout, here is my handle and here is my spout.

When I get steamed up hear me shout, tip me over and pour me out!”

Informant Opinon:

Although this is a short song to sing and an easy one to learn she enjoyed the simplicity it brought to her families lives. She understands that this could be considered a basic nursery rhyme as other families might perform these traditions as well, but to her this was all about family and getting together.

Collectioner’s opinion:

She grew up around this folklore and she grew up sharing this piece of rhyme with so many of her family members that it doesn’t matter if this is a classic American nursery rhyme. The unique value it holds to her is indicative of how each nursery rhyme means something different to every person who is involved in sharing this nursery rhyme.

Collected by Avery Schuldt

Salty Dog Rag

Title: Salty Dog Rag



Name of Folklore: Salty Dog Rag

Informant info: Informant Name: James Thompson, Location: Hanover, NH, Date: 5/16/16 Dartmouth student, male, Class of 2017, went on Cabin Camping Trip

Type of lore: Customary (Dance)

Language: English

Country of Origin: U.S.

Social / Cultural Context: Taught by Croo members during the beginning of trips while in Hanover, and again at the lodge.

Transcript: One of things that I remember most from trips was how much dancing, specifically the salty dog rag, was done on trips. The salty dog rag is this highly choreographed dance that you do with a partner. I don’t really remember much else specifically about it though.  We did it a few times during the day when we all first got to hanover, and I didn’t think much of it, just thought it was a weird dance that they were trying to do to help break the ice, but then we get to the lodge and like every 30 minutes or so they would just put on the song and everyone would start dancing on the lawn. It was kinda weird, and I’m not really a big dancer myself, but it was a good way to meet ppl because you always had to find a partner to dance, and it got everyone involved. By the end of trips I was kinda excited to dance to it again when I got back up for orientation, but it turns out its not a thing outside of trips. Kinda disappointing. 


Collector’s comments: The Salty dog rag seems to fit into the incorporation and initiation aspect of trips, since it’s not about the dance itself, but about getting people to meet others and be involved in the Dartmouth community.

Tags/Keywords:  Dance, Salty Dog Rag, Trips, Customary



Second Line

Informant: Libby Flint, age 59, New Orleans resident of 36 years, originally from Upstate New York and Vermont. Collected May 22, 2016 and recorded on iphone.

Verbal Lore: Folk speach, slang- associated Customary, tradition, dance, celebration


United States of America

Context:a line of people dancing to traditional New Orleans music while waving handkerchiefs and following a leader with an umbrella. Originally performed  on the way back from a jazz funeral after the deceased has been interred and is meant as a celebration of the deceased’s life and their acceptance into the afterlife. Has developed into a New orleans celebration, seperate from the morbid beginnings and is synonomous with the city and celebrations in general.


“New Orleanians will use any excuse to throw a party, have a parade or have a ‘second line’, during a second line participants will dance  and sing to New Orleans tunes following a line that weaves throughout  the restaurant out onto the street, following a person with a second  line umbrella and waving handkerchiefs. New Orleanians will honor their deceased musicians by throwing them a jazz funeral, that includes a second line.”

Collectors Commentary: The word second line itself, some from a decription of people returning to their homes after a funeral, it is the “second line” that forms as they begin to sing and dance and play music in celebration of the deceased. Now, the religious tones of the tradition have been reduced and second lines are not strictly limited to occuring after funerals, but have instead developed into a celebration and tradition associated with the city and the culture of Jazz and celebration. The slang word is used in speach as a thing synonomous with the culture of the city an is unique as folk speach because it does not exist elsewhere.

Key words: New Orleans, second Line, jazz funeral, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, celebration, dance


Lodj Dinner

Title: Lodj Dinner

Informant info: Informant Name: James Thompson, Location: Hanover, NH, Date: 5/16/16 Dartmouth student, male, Class of 2017, went on Cabin Camping Trip

Type of lore: Customary (Prank & Songs/Dances)

Language: English

Country of Origin: U.S.

Social / Cultural Context:  Experienced at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge during the latter part of first-year trips

Transcript: I remember the lodj dinner was a pretty big event. When they led us into the lodj and it was completely pitch black. They told us that the power was out and that we would have to hold on to each other’s shoulders to help guide us to our seats. I totally fell for it, for some reason I didn’t think of the fact that a cabin probably had windows which would let in light, which they had covered to make sure it was completely dark. So we all went in, cha-cha style, holding each others shoulders until we were in our seats in the dining hall. At that point the all the lights suddenly came on and there were a bunch of people dressed up in flair all over the place, some were literally standing on ledged above us and hanging on poles and stuff and they all broke into a song and dance performance. It was pretty incredible to be honest. The whole meal followed a similar theme. Each course was presented and served to us as part of an elaborate song and dance routine, even the clean up process was a song. That was really a great time.

Informant’s comments:  i’m not really sure what the point of it was other than to have some fun and entertain us.  That’s basically it.

Collector’s comments:  See overall comments on trips pranks

Tags/Keywords: Lodj, Moosilauke, Dinner, trips, song, dance, prank


Safety Talk

Title: Safety Talk

Informant info: Alfredo Gurmendi, Location: Hanover, NH, Date: 5/20/16, Dartmouth Student, male, Class of 2018, went on Hiking 2 trip

Type of lore: Customary/Verbal (Prank)

Language: English

Country of Origin: U.S.

Social / Cultural Context: Experienced during First-year trips, on the campus of Dartmouth College in Sarner Underground before leaving on actual trip

Transcript: After everyone gets checked in in front of Robo and we are led by the H-Croo members in dances and songs and do some ice-breakers with our group, we were told by our trip leaders that there will be a safety talk and are then led to Sarner Underground. Our trip leaders tell us that there will be a quiz based on the material covered in the safety talk and that we won’t be allowed to go on the trip unless we pass it. Once we get to the little room where the talk is going to be held, we all sit down and a couple of upper classmen come on stage and begin to tell us how important it is that we pay attention to the following talk because it may save our lives. They begin talking in a very serious and matter of fact manner about things like splints and first-aid stuff and some kids are actually sitting there taking notes to make sure they don’t fail the quiz. Suddenly, however, the people on stage break into song and dance and a full-length performance follows including a bunch of parody versions of popular songs, including a version of the “Frozen” song about going to bathroom in the woods. The show closed with the Dartmouth version of “Welcome Home” and a full-fledged dance party ensues at the end of the performance. It was a brilliant prank that definitely set the tone for the whole trips experience. Here we are, a bunch of kids that have no clue what to expect from this new place, ready to believe anything we are told and absolutely terrified of failure, so of course we’ll totally buy into the idea of a mandatory quiz. But then the complete reversal really breaks the ice and makes you feel more comfortable in this new community.

Informant’s comments: It really breaks the ice and makes you feel more comfortable in this new community

Collector’s comments: See overall comments on trips pranks

Tags/Keywords: Trips, Prank, Safety Talk, Verbal, Customary


Music as Communication among Peers

Music as Communication among Peers

Informant information:

Mary Kate resides in Andover, Massachusetts. She has a daughter who has an undiagnosed developmental disorder. Her daughter is nine years old and participates in the” My Own Voice” choir, a choir for children with special needs in Andover.

Type of lore: Customary

Genre: Children’s Folklore

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States of America

Social / Cultural Context:

Mary Kate and Neal’s daughter cannot speak even though she is now nine years old as a result of an undiagnosed developmental disorder. Among the challenges this presents, she often has a difficult time connecting with her peers. This video captures how she and her peers created a methods of sharing a common act on a daily basis.


Informant’s comments:

The “typical” girls that [our daughter] is friends with at school also use music and songs to connect to her. They make up dances to show the teacher and even have a secret handshake which is really an elaborate high five routine with some dance moves and a sing songy recital of the moves. I would say this is the most included that [she] has been in the classroom in a long while and it is through music and movement.

Collector’s comments: 

This seems to be a piece of true children’s folklore, the girls work on songs, dances and routines like this together. What makes this particular one special is how it is in an effort to communicate with the girl who has special needs in a way that she is capable of reciprocating. At the end of the video one girl raises her hands and begins to shake them, which symbolizes applause in American Sign Language.

Tags/Keywords: Music, Communication, Custom, Special needs, Children, Dance, American Sign Language

Dance Parties


Informant Information: Anonymous male from San Francisco, California and a member of the Class of 2019 at Dartmouth College.  He is also a member of the baseball team.  He currently does not have a girlfriend.

Type of Folklore: Customary Folklore (Dance)

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States of America

Social / Cultural Context: Due to a lack of club/bar life in Hanover, dance parties at fraternities create a club like environment for students.  These dance parties play a big part in the hookup culture on campus. These parties are sometimes planned ahead of time and announced to campus but other times spontaneously start in a crowded fraternity basement.

Associated File:

Transcript: “The places people meet each other is on a dance floor, or playing pong. But at a fraternity there’s always people around, always good times.”

Collector’s Comments: Two other informants discussed dance parties as a way of getting to meet other students.  Dance parties and pong seem to be the main activities of interaction between males and females.