A post from Steve Howe, CDSS Director of Programs
On Memorial Day I woke in Marlboro, VT for the last moments of the 37th Marlboro Morris Ale. After the Maypole dance was done and the pole stored for another year, I was on the road home to Northampton, MA. There I unpacked and repacked before heading to the airport and on to Charlotte, NC and the last pot luck and dance at the log home of my mother, Nancy Howe.
The Charlotte dance community is a vibrant and giving group, going strong since my high school days and cared for by my mother and the many people who have taken over in the last decades. Though the community has had use of their Chantilly Hall for the last few years, they forsake it 3 times a year for the crowded but welcoming living room of “Our House.” Since before the first Marlboro Ale, Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Monday before Christmas have included dances there, driven by the music of “The Boys of the Loft,” playing in the balcony still littered with the blocks and books of my childhood.
In the early years my parents, siblings, and I shifted furniture and rolled up the rug, but it is many years that those tasks are done by many dancers who know exactly where each piece belongs both for the dance and when the dance is over – carefully making sure that the right side of the table is facing the room, that the extension cord is well placed under the couch, and that no food is left for Nancy to deal with. There is even a crew of dancers who come by in the days before to help prepare the house and yard and to support my mother in appreciation for all the support she has given this community over the years.
This Memorial Day’s dance was particularly important because Nancy will be moving to Durham in the next weeks to take up residence with her daughter Sarah (mother of a number of dance gypsies by the name of Best). Four of us siblings were there, coming from Durham and Wilmington in NC, Annville, PA and me, from MA. There were over 100 people in and around the house though I don’t think more than 60 ever danced at the same time – it was crowded! Take a look at this video clip:
It was wonderful to see the love and support that my parents gave that group being returned many times over and to be confident that the community will continue to thrive, welcoming in new people, nurturing new leaders and dancing, dancing, dancing.