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Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend

The Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend (RPDLW) is held every January at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. It takes its name from the man who was perhaps the single most important figure in the preservation of traditional dance in New England and was conceived to keep his legacy alive.

Begun in 1988, the RPDLW celebrates the music and dance of New England – contras, squares and more. From the beginning, the emphasis has been on preserving the smoother style of dancing that Ralph Page favored. A significant portion of the program celebrates the tradition’s roots and includes traditional contras and quadrilles, triple minor dances, singing squares, and couple dances as part of the program. The program also includes a retrospective focusing on a particular caller or musician’s contribution to the tradition.

But the approach is not only one of preservation; there is a deliberate attempt to connect the past with the future of traditional dance. Thus, it also features some of the best new choreography and newly-composed tunes.

Over the years the event has become noted for its particular emphasis on community, for being a gathering of “the ones who have played the music, called the figures, and danced the dances in crowded, joyful halls for decades,” and for being a weekend of outstanding dancing.

Ralph Page Legacy Weekend Syllabi

The versions on this website – provided by David Smukler – are the most accurate to date. Online versions of syllabi are placed on this page one year after the event they record, and you are welcome to download them. These may include minor corrections that were made sometime after the originals were printed.

Consider both supporting the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend and getting some great background on the dances by purchasing copies of the syllabus that is created every year (available at the weekend or through the NEFFA office).

5 Responses to “Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend”

  1. Terry Bachmann Says:

    I enjoy contra dancing

  2. Erik Hoffman Says:

    Thanks David for a fantastic set of resources! It’s wonderful to have access to not only the dances, but such clearly taken notes on the workshops. This truly makes the Ralph Weekends a benefit for us all. Again, Many Thanks!

  3. Dave Colestock Says:

    Awesome resource for all – callers, dancers, historians. Thanks for all of your hard work in creating and making these documents available to everyone.

  4. Michael Barraclough Says:

    Thanks to everyone involved in getting this wonderful resource online and maintaining it. An, of course, a special thank you to David for all his wonderful note taking.

  5. Alice Kindt Says:

    Thanks to everyone involved in getting this wonderful resource online and maintaining it. An, of course, a special thank you to David for all his wonderful note taking. Awesome resource for all – callers, dancers, historians. Thanks for all of your hard work in creating and making these documents available to everyone. As a new caller from Denmark I can only copy paste what has already been written. Thank you very much to everyone.

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