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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Settlement Houses
and their influence on international folk dancing

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Toynbee Hall 1902, founded 1884


Information: A Settlement House is an institution in an inner-city area providing educational, recreational, and other social services to the community.

The settlement movement model was introduced in the United States by Jane Addams after travelling to Europe and learning about the system in England. It was Addams who became the leading figure of the settlement movement in the United States. community.

The settlement movement became popular due to the socio-economic situation in the United States between 1890 and 1910, when more than 12 million European people immigrated to the country. They provided cheap factory labor, a demand that was created with the country's expansion into the west following the Civil War. community.

Folk dance in settlement houses traveled two paths: the ethnic clubs devoted to the practice and performance of their own traditions and the structured classes offered to girls and young women. These two developments of folk dance in settlement houses fulfilled both the project of Americanization prescribed by the settlement movement and and also provided a means for immigrants to continue the folk practices from their home countries, though in forms shaped by their changed circumstances.

Today, settlement houses are still community-focused organizations, providing a range of services including early education, youth guidance and crime intervention, senior programs, and specialized programs for young people who have "aged out" of the foster care system.


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