Look, I never have figured out what passes for “popular” dancing, but I am grateful a few forms of folk versions have come to my rescue.
I could mention those times I’ve been moved while watching others dance, like at the Tinowit on the Yakama reservation or maybe at a ballet, but this list is places where I’ve done the steps, too.
- The Rockwells’ apple barn in Barnesville, Ohio. My introduction to contradancing, despite my initial resistance.
- Scout House, Concord, and VFW, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mecca. The latter was also known as the Rocket House, ‘cuz of its mock-up Nike missile out front.
- Town Hall, Nelson, New Hampshire. Mecca again. Plus the legendary sloped floor.
- Dublin Academy, New Hampshire, for Bob McQuillan’s CD release party. I wound up waltzing with an Amelia when I mentioned the tune we were dancing to shared her name, she said calmly, “It was written for me,” back as a toddler.
- Town Hall, Bowdoinham, Maine. Always fun and lots of kids out on a Saturday night out.
- Town Hall, Kingston, New Hampshire. Smokey of the band Old Wild Goose shucked fresh oysters at intermission one night, and I really pigged out as most folks turned up their noses, not knowing what they were missing. This was November, and the shells were fattened to perfection. There was another night somewhere when he was both the caller and musician, who knows where the rest of the band was, but everything certainly was fun.
- City Hall, Dover, and the Oyster River Band, bringing with it memories of times when they starred in Madbury and Lee and even the Kittery, Maine, Grange Hall.
- The Star Grange, Greenfield, Massachusetts. They dance wild out there in the Pioneer Valley. Plus I thought I was engaged to be married, and she was a great dancer. Whole other story.
- Our wedding, Dover, New Hampshire. The reception featured national treasures Dudley and Jackie Laufman at their best, getting even beginners moving elegantly on the old one-room schoolhouse floor.
- Greek festivals at the Hellenic Center in Dover and a big tent at St. Nicholas in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Feels great learning a new talent, even at this age.
Gee, how could I overlook the big Ralph Page Legacy Weekend at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, just a dozen or so minutes from us? Maybe because it’s always on the Martin Luther King weekend, when my schedule is pressed by other demands. This gets serious.