good foot dance company



“…Winning… my favorite dance among the 12 performed… the audience gets a kick out of their performance.” -Cville Weekly

“…high-energy traditional Appalachian song and dance!” -The Boston Phoenix

“Good Foot Dance Company is Rock-N-Roll on feet.” -Ray Snably

“…They made it hard to look away with their lightning footwork. Pete Seeger himself was hanging out backstage and reveling in the show… If you get a chance to see them, they’re unlike anything we’ve seen so far at Newport, and you won’t be disappointed.”  -WERS Music

“We really loved the performance, and we were impressed with the quality of the work. Thanks for a great evening!” -Audience Member

“Purveyors of the most sensual clogging this dance aficionado has ever seen” -Christian Breeden of American Dumpster

Good Foot Dance Company explores the complex cultural twinings of the root-system of American vernacular dance, from Appalachian flatfooting, to tap, to contemporary urban dance. By mixing and remixing traditional dance and music and bringing a critical and historical inquiry to the shared history of American dance cultures, they raise questions about connectivity, continuity, and social responsibility.

We are excited to be launching our collaboration with Maivish! To check us out, head on over to


Past Performances:

Performatica festival in Cholula, Mexico

Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out

The Newport Folk Festival (With The Seeger Clogging All-Stars)

The Washington Folk Festival

The Live Arts Dance Festival in Charlottesville, VA

Saint Mary’s College with the Chesapeake Symphony Orchestra

The tap-dancing Vampirates in Wunderkammer and Shentai.

Wheatland Music Festival, Remus, MI.

Good Foot Dance Company makes innovative “trad dance theatre” from many different streams of dance forms, context, and history, including percussive dances from the U.S., Ireland, and North America. The company formed in 2004 with the collaboration of Matthew Olwell, Emily Oleson, and Meg Madden to make work at Live Arts Theater in Charlottesville, VA. In Central Virginia, the company appeared with Lunasa, and The Chieftains, were presented in Mexico through international dance festival Performatica. They began making work that combined traditional and social dance sensibilities with a playful sense of experimentation for local performances, including Wunderkammer, and Shentai, two “arts carnivals” which brought together regional dance, music, and visual artists for acclaimed collaborative multimedia performances, and continued to perform in local and regional music and dance festivals.

Matthew Olwell and Emily Oleson went on to found Smiling Mountain Dance Intensive (a multi-genre summer camp for children) in 2006, the Beat Retreat (a collective percussive dance exchange in 2010 and 2011), and served as coordinators for the Augusta Heritage Center’s American Vernacular Dance Week from 2012 – 2016. They toured with The Carolina Chocolate Drops in the summer of 2014, appearing at Red Rocks Auditorium, the Chicago Blues Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Bonaroo. They were featured in The Lost Tribe of County Music with James Leva, Cedric Watson, Matthew Gordon, and Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton at the Aulney-All-Blues Festival by Aulney-sous-Bois, France, and appeared with Becky Hill and Matt Kupstas as Seeger’s Clogging All-Stars at the Newport Folk Festival in 2011, as well as regular appearances at the Augusta Heritage Center’s evening concerts for many years.

Good Foot Dance Company continues to pursue projects with collaborators in music and dance, including master tap artist Baakari Wilder and DC-based company Urban Artistry in The Meaning of Buck Dance, which received the 2013 Kennedy Center’s Local Dance Commissioning Project award and was presented as a State Department Arts Envoy to Russia in 2014. They frequently appear with the band Maivish and feature guest artist Becky Hill, with whom they have done the Traditional Arts Weekend presented by the Wheatland Music Organization in 2015 and 2016. Most recently Good Foot Dance Company was featured on Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out Stage with guest artists Becky Hill and Graham DeZarn.

GoodFootDanceCompany_pBrookeTrisolini_courtesyJacobsPillow_17Good Foot



Good Foot Logo 5



5 Responses to “good foot dance company”

  1. […] Olwell and Emily Oleson are Good Foot Dance Company and will soon be at Davis & Elkins College to kickstart a new Dance […]

  2. You are so cool! I do not think I have read something
    like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this topic.
    Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This web site is one thing that’s needed on the internet,
    someone with a little originality!

  3. […] The theme for the conference this year was “Voices from the Misty Mountains: Diversity and Unity, A New Appalachia.”  There were many sessions and numerous tours during the conference. A showcase concert was held on Saturday Night. Frank X Walker, noted Affrilachian poet, gave the keynote address.  Other noted Plenary Speakers included Lloyd Arneach, a native American storyteller; Adam Booth, a local musician and storyteller; John Lilly, musician and former editor of Goldenseal magazine; Builder Levy, an Appalachian photographer; and the Appalachian dancers Matthew Olwell, Becky Hill, and Emily Oleson. […]

  4. […] Irish step dance to Appalachian clogging, Good Foot Dance Company explores the complex cultural mix of the root system of American vernacular dance. At their core is […]

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