Dudley Laufman will lead the dancing for a Nelson Contra Dance on August 10 at 7 PM, admission is $2.
On a recent episode of the NH Public Radio program, The Exchange, host Laura Knoy said, “When he raised the roof at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 with his country orchestra, Dudley Laufman energized the youthful crowd and helped re-light the torch for traditional country dancing that had been carried at the time by a few old-timers. He helped create a movement of contra dancing and contra music that has played out in the churches and barns of small-town New England for more than half a century.” Dudley was named a National Heritage Fellow in 2009 and received the NH Council of the Arts Folk Heritage Award in 2001.
The “country dance” tradition came to the colonies from England. Two forms of community dances evolved in New England – contra dances, done in lines with partners facing one another, and square dances, featuring sets of four couples. After the Revolutionary War, dances such as these, associated with England, fell out of favor, except in the rural areas of the Northeast where they continued in informal settings such as kitchen parties and barn dances. By the 1950s, the tradition had all but died out except in towns like Nelson, NH. However, in 1948 Laufman called his first dance, and in the decades that followed he helped propel this tradition into the 21st century.
Dudley Laufman, joined by several of his musician friends, is a tradition at the August Nelson dance.
Dancing begins at 7:00 PM. Families, new dancers and singles are welcome and all dances are taught throughout the evening.
Admission is $2, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous sponsor. The dance takes place in the historic Town Hall in Nelson, NH. For more information call 603.762.0235 or visit www.monadnockfolk.org.