The 2015 Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend was a special one for CDSS. Each year the weekend hosts a “retrospective session;” several hours of the dance weekend dedicated to honoring and exploring some component of dance/music traditions and history. This year the session was focused on our Centennial: “100 Years of CDSS: The Country Dance and Song Society.”
Thanks to the herculean efforts of Adina Gordon, the organizer and emcee of the session, speakers and performers from far and wide gathered to speak about the multi-faceted history of CDSS and how the organization has touched their lives. We heard from our current Executive Director, Rima Dael, as well as current Board President David Millstone (of course David called a few dances as well.) Fred Breunig called an English Country Dance and shared memories of dancing with May Gadd at Pinewoods. We heard from Tom Kruskal about leading the first morris tour of the Pinewoods Morris Men in Harvard Yard and then he grabbed his concertina and jumped down to accompany Jacqueline and Dudley Laufman as they played Highland Mary for the Canterbury morris side (Dudley will tell you this is the largest morris team in the world whose entire membership lives in the same town!) Dudley Laufman also spoke about dancing Money Musk and bringing his ever rebellious spirit to CDSS camps. Carol Ormand, one of the weekend’s staff callers, shared memories of learning to call squares from Ted Sannella at camp and then of course she called one. The session closed with a big circle mixer with great tunes from Rodney Miller, David Surette and Gordon Peery.
The Weekend was a Passport to Joy event and Passport stickers were flying off their sheets; for many this was the first stamp they’d received. CDSS had a small selection from our store set up as well as some historical materials shared from the timeline on the new Centennial website. During the weekend Pat MacPherson and I were also collecting stories for the CDSS Story Project. Dancers answered three questions:
- I started dancing in: ____(year)____.
- I was ____ years old.
- I went dancing because: _________.
You can view all the wonderful responses here on our Flickr photostream. I also loved seeing people reading the stories, which we posted on the wall and talking with each other about their memories and experiences. It was nice to see first hand the kind of sharing and bonding we hope will emerge by giving people the opportunity to share stories about the traditions we all love. Visit the story project home page to learn about collecting stories in your own community.
CDSS thanks the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend and all who attended for being part of our Centennial celebration!