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Dudley Laufman to call at contra dance

MIDDLEBURY — Renowned contra dance caller and musician Dudley Laufman of Canterbury, N.H., will call a contra dance and play fiddle on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Middlebury municipal gymnasium adjoining the town offices. Dudley will be joined by his wife, Jacqueline, who is also a fiddler, and a number of local musicians.
 
At 82, Laufman has been dubbed an “elder statesman of the American folk dance scene,” having called his first dance in 1948. He is the bridge generation between the old-time New England village dance tradition and the counterculture revival of contra dancing, which began in the 1970s. “Dudley dances,” in such communities as South Strafford, were legendary events.
 
Laufman has remained true to the historic tradition of dance throughout his musical career and remains a vital and active member of the New England dance circuit. He received the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts in 2009: the National Heritage Fellowship, awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, one of only three New Hampshire recipients over the 21-year history of the program.
 
All dances will be taught. No partner or prior experience is necessary. All ages are welcome. Soft-soled, non-street shoes are required. This dance is part of a long local heritage of social dances, which offer an excellent way to meet new people.
 
Laufman’s appearance is sponsored by the Middlebury Recreation Department in partnership with the Vermont Folklife Center, with Mike Quinn providing logistical support.
 
For more information, call the Middlebury Rec Department at 388-7828 or visit the Vermont Folklife Center’s website at www.vermontfolklifecenter.org.

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