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Algia Mae Hinton doesn't stand still while she plays the blues: for her, blues and dancing are natural partners. Born into a musical family, Hinton learned to play the guitar by the time she was nine years old. But her family modeled another talent not typically mentioned about other musicians--they were buckdancers. Hinton learned to buckdance by watching her older siblings, parents and other relatives. Often she and her brothers and sisters would compete with each other, and Hinton proved her ability to play the guitar while dancing, never stepping out of rhythm or making a mistake.
Life proved more difficult after Hinton stepped out of the shelter of home. Her husband died prematurely, leaving her to raise seven children on her own and manage the family tobacco farm. Fairly recently, a fire raged through her house, destroying her home and belongings. While her music did not contribute much financially to her needs, its comfort guided her through at least ten years of harrowing troubles.
Hinton enjoys teaching her children the art of music and dancing, and her son Willette shows promise of continuing the family tradition. Many of her twelve grandchildren have also learned a little buckdancing, and some have shown interest in playing the guitar. Since 1978, when she played at the North Carolina Folklife Festival, Hinton has traveled up and down the east coast, entertaining audiences. She has appeared at the National Folk Festival, the Chicago University Folk Festival and Carnegie Hall. Her dancing has even inspired some of her audiences, who like to dance in the aisles during her performances.