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Mae Belt Fraley of Rockville, Maryland, was born January 11, 1919. She spent the greater portion of her life researching folk dance, especially in the Library of Congress. She intentionally avoided encompassing, universal satements. She was known as being one of the top researchers in the field of folk dance. Mae also was a superb teacher and tour director.
Mae began teaching square dance and entertaining the troops overseas during World War II. In 1963, she led a group to a yodel fest. She led dance groups to yearly camps in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, and St. Michaels on the Eastern shore for folk dance weekends. She was involved in the Kentucky Dance Institute (KDI); NEWCAMP dance week at Frostberg, Maryland; and many other venues.
Mae led an Italian and German group and was active in the Chevy Chase Community Center in Washington, DC. She attended the Lloyd Shaw Foundation's Rocky Mountain Dance Roundup (RMDR), and had her own dance camps twice a year at Woodmont (in the spring) and West Virginia and Pasadena, Maryland (in the fall).
Mae worked for many years at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, holding a special visitation pass for research into folk dance.
She taught folk dances and conducted classes in Development of Party Dances, and was the dance director for the Swiss Folklore Group of Washington, D.C.
Mae divided her vast collection into two parts: material relating to American Dance, sent to the Lloyd Shaw Foundation Archives in Albuquerque, New Mexico (now moved to the University of Denver), and material relating to international folk dance deposited at the Music and Dance Library of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Mae died on February 10, 2012, in Rockville, Maryland.
Dances Mae taught include E' Bal 'd L'Amicizia, Ballo Sardo, Diagonal Reel, La Danza, La Furlana, Graziella Mazurka, Il Valzer delle Candele, I Miss My Swiss, L'Hirondelle, La Furlana, La Vinca, Italian Mazurka, Magic Circle, Mandolin Contra, Newhall, Ohio River Contra, Quadricycle, Quadriglia, Quadriglia di Aviano, Quadrigilia Tipicas Abruzzi, Salterello, Sicilian Waltz, Street Fair, Tarantella Montevergine, Tarantella Tipicas Calabrese, Tarantella Villagio, and Windmill Lancers.