Drawing of English Country Dancers

☼ ☼ ☼ English Country Dance on May 20th, 2018

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents the last in its 2018 series of English Country Dances with the theme “Dance Around Monadnock.”

On May 20th from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, the dance will be held at the Town Hall in Nelson, NH, with Sue Rosen teaching dances that will appeal to all, from novice to experienced dancers.

English Country Dance is a form of social dance that harkens back to the days of Jane Austen and “Pride and Prejudice”, but its roots extend further back in time. Its traditions and innovations continue right up to the present.

Lovely music will be provided by fiddler Mary Lea and pianist Bruce Rosen.

Hauntingly beautiful tunes, elegant yet simple steps, friendly people and beautiful surroundings combine to make an English Country Dance a pleasant and energizing experience. No special clothing is required, but comfortable clothes and soft-soled shoes are recommended.

Beginners and singles are welcome and all dances are taught throughout the session. Admission is $10. For more information call (603) 876-4211 or visit http://www.monadnockfolk.org. The Monadnock Folklore Society has presented dances and concerts of traditional music since 1982.

Harvey Tolman by William H. Gnade

☼ ☼ ☼ Celebrate 40 Years of Mondays on Saturday April 28th, 2018

The Monadnock Folklore Society celebrates 40 years of the Monday Night Contra Dance on Saturday, April 28th at the Nelson NH Town Hall. Performers from across the decades will call and play music, including Harvey Tolman, Mary DesRosiers, David Eisenstadter, Roger Treat, Lloyd Carr, Ken Segal and many more.

Back in January of 1978, local resident Peter Temple had the idea to create a friendly, weeknight dance. The dance was held at Clark Hall in Harrisville for the first five years and then moved to the Nelson Town Hall where it’s been ever since.

The dance is well known for its community spirit, volunteer performers, and excellent cookies. Dancers of all ages and backgrounds come from near and far, and visitors are always welcome.

The event begins at 7:00 PM. Admission is $5.

The dance takes place in the historic Town Hall in Nelson, NH at 7 Nelson Common Road. For more information call 603.762.0235 or visit www.monadnockfolk.org.

Photo of Harvey Tolman by William H. Gnade

The four Richards siblings make up the band InTentCity

☼ ☼ ☼ Peterborough Contra Dance on May 5th, 2018

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Peterborough, NH First Saturday Contra Dance on May 5th, featuring Dereck Kalish calling with the band InTentCity.

Visiting from Careywood, Idaho, InTentCity is four siblings who grew up playing music for contra dances. They are Betsy Richards on fiddle, percussionist David Richards, guitarist Graham Richards and Seth Richards playing bass and piano.

Caller Dereck Kalish specializes in teaching dances that are fun for all, whether brand-new to dancing or a long-time contra dancer.

Contra dance is a fun, relaxed style of folk dance which has flourished in New England since the 1700s. Partners form lines and dance a short sequence of steps with their neighbors. Over the course of the dance, each couple travels the length of the line and dances with every other couple. Dancers are welcome to bring a partner or a group of friends, but it’s not necessary – traditionally, dancers are encouraged to change partners throughout the evening.

The dancing begins at 8:00 PM. The dance also hosts a free jam session for beginning and intermediate musicians at 6:30 PM and a workshop for new dancers at 7:30 PM.

Admission is $10 or $7 for students and seniors.

The dance takes place at the historic Town House in Peterborough, NH at 1 Grove Street. For more information call 603.762.0235 or visit www.monadnockfolk.org. The Monadnock Folklore Society has presented contra dances and concerts of traditional music since 1982.

☼ ☼ ☼ Contra Dance | Peterborough

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Peterborough, NH First Saturday Contra Dance on March 3rd, featuring Dave Eisenstadter calling with Alden Robinson, Glen Loper and Dan Faiella.

Contra dance is a fun, easy style of folk dance which has flourished in New England since the 1700s. Partners form lines and dance a short sequence of steps with their neighbors. Over the course of the dance, each couple travels the length of the line and dances with every other couple. Dancers are welcome to bring a partner or a group of friends but it’s not necessary – traditionally, dancers are encouraged to change partners throughout the evening.

Dave Eisenstadter learned to call contra dances at the Nelson, NH, contra dance and now performs around New England. He is also a journalist who began his career writing for the Peterborough NH Ledger-Transcript and the Keene Sentinel.

Alden Robinson learned to play the fiddle as a child growing up in coastal Maine. He studied Irish fiddle in Ireland at University College Cork. For the past few years, he has toured and recorded with The Press Gang, an Irish trad band from Portland.

Raised in southern Maine , Glen Loper has played mandolin for over twenty years. Glen has toured with a number of bands to play dances, weddings, and festivals across the country. Alden and Glen are two-thirds of the band “Riptide.”

Guitarist Dan Faiella has performed at the Capitol Center for the Arts, the Boston Celtic Music Festival, and the New Hampshire Statehouse.

The dancing begins at 8:00 PM. The dance also hosts a free jam session for beginning and intermediate musicians at 6:30 PM and a workshop for new dancers at 7:30 PM.

Admission is $10 or $7 for students and seniors.

The dance takes place in the historic Town House in Peterborough, NH at 1 Grove Street. For more information call 603.762.0235 or visit www.monadnockfolk.org. The Monadnock Folklore Society has presented contra dances and concerts of traditional music since 1982.

40 Years of the Monday Dance

The Nelson Monday Night Dance turns 40 years old in 2018! Back in January of 1978, Peter Temple had the idea to create a friendly, weeknight dance. The dance was held at Clark Hall in Harrisville for the first five years, and then moved to Nelson where it’s been ever since.

The Monadnock Folklore Society will hold two anniversary parties.

The first will be held on Monday, January 15th. The goal is to recreate those early dances to the extent possible. If you called, played music, or danced at Clark Hall in the late 1970s, please come and tell your friends. This is a regular Monday dance — it will begin at 8 PM and finish at 10:30 PM in the Nelson Town Hall.

The second will be held on Saturday, April 28th. We’ll be celebrating the entire 40 years of the Monday dance.  Plans are taking shape and may include a potluck supper. The location will be the Nelson Town Hall. If you can only come to one of these events, come to this one.

Peterborough Contra Dance Saturday January 6th

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Peterborough, NH First Saturday Contra Dance on January 6th, featuring Steve Zakon-Anderson calling with fiddler Perin Ellsworth-Heller, Samuel Foucher on accordion, Tad Dreis playing guitar and harmonica, Garrett Cameron on whistle and banjo ukulele and Gordon Peery on piano.

Contra dance is a fun, easy style of folk dance which has flourished in New England since the 1700s. Partners form lines and dance a short sequence of steps with their neighbors. Over the course of the dance, each couple travels the length of the line and dances with every other couple. Dancers are welcome to bring a partner or a group of friends but it’s not necessary – traditionally, dancers are encouraged to change partners throughout the evening.

Dance caller Steve Zakon-Anderson has been leading contra dances for over 25 years. He has performed at dance camps and festivals from Alaska to Florida. Steve’s clear teaching, precise calling and sense of humor have made him a favorite of dancers of all ages and abilities.

Fiddler Perin Ellsworth-Heller grew up playing at the Nelson Monday night contra dance. He received the Johnny Trombly scholarship for traditional dance music in 2009 when he was 14 years old. He will be joined by Samuel Foucher on accordion, Garrett Cameron on whistle and banjo-lin, Tad Dreis playing harmonica and guitar and Gordon Peery on piano.

The dancing begins at 8:00 PM. The dance also hosts a free jam session for beginning and intermediate musicians at 6:30 PM and a workshop for new dancers at 7:30 PM.

Admission is $10 or $7 for students and seniors.

The dance takes place in the historic Town House in Peterborough, NH at 1 Grove Street. For more information call 603.762.0235 or visit www.monadnockfolk.org. The Monadnock Folklore Society has presented contra dances and concerts of traditional music since 1982.

☼ ☼ ☼ Jeff Warner Concert Celebrating Nelson’s 250th

Jeff Warner, photographed at Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, NH.
Photograph by Ralph Morang

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents a concert on Friday, November 10th, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town of Nelson, featuring folklorist Jeff Warner performing Songs of Old New Hampshire.

Drawing heavily on the repertoire of traditional singer Lena Bourne Fish (1873-1945) of Jaffrey and Temple, New Hampshire, Jeff Warner offers the songs and stories that, in the words of Carl Sandburg, tell us “where we came from and what brought us along.” These ballads, love songs and comic pieces, reveal the experiences and emotions of daily life in the days before movies, sound recordings and, for some, books. Songs from the lumber camps, the decks of sailing ships, the textile mills and the war between the sexes offer views of pre-industrial New England and a chance to hear living artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Jeff Warner connects 21st-century audiences with the music and everyday lives of 19th-century people. Warner accompanies his songs on concertina, banjo, guitar and several “pocket instruments,” such as bones and Jew’s harp. Warner is a Folklorist and Community Scholar for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and was a 2007 State Arts Council Fellow. He has toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution and has recorded for Flying Fish/Rounder Records and other labels. Jeff Warner’s web page: http://www.jeffwarner.com

The concert begins at 8:00 PM and admission is free thanks to the generosity of the Town of Nelson and a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

The concert will take place in the historic Town Hall in Nelson, NH at 7 Nelson Common Road. For more information call 603-762-0235 or visit http://monadnockfolk.org.

Nelson Monday Dance Featured in New Hampshire Magazine

Several people interviewed for this story described contra dancing as what you would see in a Jane Austen film. That might be more accurate if Jane Austen’s characters danced barefoot, wore Fitbits and moved so vigorously they had to stop to dry their face off with a towel or change their clothes. And if they cared less about class. While Jane Austen’s characters are typically nobility and spend much of their time concerned with status, this dance feels uniquely egalitarian.

http://www.nhmagazine.com/September-2017/Swing-Shift/

NH’s Contra Dance history focus of exhibit in Durham

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the Monadnock Folklore Society and the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, is sponsoring an exhibit about the Granite State’s tradition of social dancing at Milne Special Collections, Milne Library, University of New Hampshire Durham from Jan. 16-March 11, 2016.

“Traditional Dance and Music in New Hampshire: 1750-today” traces the long history of contra and social dance music throughout the region, especially in the southwestern part of the state.

Irish, Scottish, English and French Canadian traditions all contribute to New Hampshire’s dance traditions. Dances are similar to square dancing but are generally performed in lines to live music played by fiddles and piano. Banjos, mandolins and guitars may also be heard at contra dances.

Community social dances have been happening in New Hampshire continuously since before the Revolutionary War.

The exhibit features artifacts, documents, instruments, photographs and audio recordings.

There is no charge to view the exhibit.

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is a division of the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources. It began in 1965 with legislation designed “to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the education and welfare of our citizens.” Funding for programs is provided through state appropriations, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more about the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at www.nh.gov/nharts.

NH Council Arts 50 years logo