Several staff members have just returned from an AMAAZZZING weekend at Puttin’ on the Dance — A Conference for Northeast Dance Organizers! (See also Max’s field report about his experiences there.) The historic Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, VT was full to the brim with nearly 80 dance organizers from New England, Ontario and beyond — NY, PA, MD, TN, MI and TX. The three-story building was abuzz with informative sessions, lively conversations and energizing activities throughout the weekend. This event, cosponsored by CDSS, DEFFA (DownEast Friends of the Folk Arts), NEFFA (New England Folk Festival Association, and Monadnock Folklore Society, was designed to bring much-needed resources and connections to these folks who work so hard to keep their dance communities alive and well. (Genres included contras, English country, squares, gender-role free and family/community dances.)
Another key element was rejuvenation! The whole crowd had great fun dancing together both evenings — at an all-conference dance Friday night (with multi-talented participants providing the calling and music) and at the 2nd Saturday contra dance in Norwich, VT.
Now picture this… All attendees bringing all these ideas back to their home communities throughout the continent and pouring this fresh energy into helping their dances thrive! Also many resources generated from the weekend will be posted on the Puttin’ on the Dance and CDSS websites.
The effects of a conference like this are far-reaching and long-lasting! CDSS will be actively supporting future regional conferences that will be happening throughout the continent. Next up is a Midwest conference for organizers and callers in Cincinnati, OH on Aug 10-12, 2012. For more info, contact Ryan Smith.
CDSS outreach work includes awarding grants to support events and projects that spread traditional music and dance. The next deadline is January 1, 2012. A grant application is online or contact Linda Henry, 413-203-5467 x 105 to share YOUR ideas for spreading music and dance in your area!