In This Section & On This Page
- On This Page: After a brief discussion of the relationship between Seacoast and Monadnock dancing, there is brief discussion of the Lamprey River Band and the Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter.
- My Musical Background. As there’s a lot of discussion of music here, you should know my background and qualifications.
- Learning to Dance: My Story. This was part of a series published in the Dance Gypsy in 1994.
- The Story of How & Why I Started Calling Dances. Sarah Mason and I learned to call at the same time, and the story includes the early history of the Lamprey River Band.
- Phil Johnson, Square Dance Caller. Phil Johnson was a square dance caller from Lebanon ME who called quite a bit in the Seacoast area. I learned a goodly amount about dancing 50-75 years ago in Dover and surrounding towns from Phil.
- When the Caller is Unnecessary. I present examples of dancing Petronella and Money Musk without the caller, and discuss why people from elsewhere might find that of interest.
This section looks at dancing in the Seacoast region of New Hampshire. The focus is on the period in which I’ve been dancing, starting in the late 1970s. I start with a couple pages introducing myself: my musical background and how I learned to dance. I feel it’s important for anyone looking at a website like this one to know something about the person who wrote most of the material,
When people think about contradancing in New Hampshire it seems like they most likely think about dancing in Nelson, Peterborough and in general the Monadnock region. It’s the home of Ralph Page, it’s where Duke Miller called in New Hampshire, and it’s where Dudley Laufman called many dances when he was at his peak of popularity. It’s where the dancing never stopped when in the rest of the country people were too tied to their televisions to care about old time country dance. When I started dancing all the Seacoast area dances were on Friday nights so we could go to the Monadnock dances on Saturday night.
But over the years we built up the Seacoast dances. The Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter was an important influence because it provided monthly communication with dancers. Also I included quite a few articles that probably gave many dancers a broader perspective on contradancing than they might have had otherwise. These articles form the core of this web site.
The Lamprey River Band dances were important as well. For many years they were the biggest dance in the area, and at times probably in the state. We did (and still do) a good combination of traditional and more modern dances, tried to establish a friendly atmosphere for the dance, and encouraged sit-in musicians and guest callers.
Other factors contributed like the presence of the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend in Durham, and the efforts of Patrick Stevens and others made a difference too; this will be seen in some of the articles on the website. For quite a few years I’ve found that our dances are good enough and friendly enough that I’m no longer motivated to travel to a dance unless it’s a special occasion.
Many of the stories and articles here are originally from the Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter.