by Pat MacPherson, Director of Education and Publications
While I enjoyed many great dances, and had a blast sitting next to the piano while Bob McQuillen was playing, what made my Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend memorable were the conversations I had with people off the dance floor.
My CDSS cohort — Nils Fredland, Rima Dael, and David Millstone — and I met with Roland Goodbody and Bill Ross of the New Hampshire Collection of Traditional Music & Dance at UNH. We delivered six boxes for the CDSS Library and Archives, and had a great conversation about how to make our archives accessible to more people. We made a plan for Mary Wesley to visit the CDSS archives while she is studying nearby at the Salt Institute in Portland, ME, and to survey our holdings for follow-up by the CDSS Education and Publications Department. This is a great first step.
CDSS Board member Lynn Ackerson and I were able to connect a few times around the work Lynn and the Contra Dance Task Group are doing. Lynn pointed out to me and I enjoyed meeting Emily Addison, from Ottawa, ON, who is really making things happen in her town. For Emily, being out of a job means that she can devote her ample creative energy to starting a community band and running dances. Her dedication and thoughtfulness, and that of her co-members on the Task Group, are so appreciated. Right now they are putting the finishing touches on a survey to go out to contra dance organizers.
On Sunday I happily connected with Terry, a dance organizer from Gardner, MA. She had been dancing for four months when she attended Puttin’ on the Dance, CDSS’s Northeast-based conference in fall of 2011, and began taking on responsibility for creating and running a local dance. Terry had had what many readers will recognize as an “Aha!” moment, when they go to a dance and say, “Where has this been all my life?” and “Where can I get more of it?” Terry’s local dance is now being supported by the Gardner Cultural Council.
One more exciting and somewhat scary addition to my Ralph Page experience: David Millstone taught me how to run his super-fancy video camera and I took over taping responsibilities from him, while he danced during the Squares Retrospective run by Bob Dalsemer. David says I did nice, steady camera work. Whew! So glad I didn’t break the camera! The videos taken during Square Retrospective will be housed on the Square Dance History Project website; and the videos taken during Nils’s session on Keith Blackmon singing squares will be released when CDSS publishes the Blackmon book (coming soon!).
All in all, a great weekend, I’d say.
See Jack Mitchell’s photos of the weekend, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhm4/sets/72157632598591754/.