I just got back from a fabulous weekend at the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA). One of the most memorable events for me was Julia Nickles’ discussion called “Calling All College Students“, the purpose of which was to connect with college-age festival-goers and find out some of the issues they face related to the festival. It was very successful for the limited audience available to it.
But it got me thinking. Why isn’t there information on the internet about which colleges have good contradance scenes? When I was applying to college, there really weren’t any resources for applicants interested in folkdance. I liked Bates because I saw that they had a contradance club, but that was about the extent of it. I think there should be more information available. So yesterday I decided to make a guide to contradancing at universities. I know a lot about young contradancers in the Northeast, but there are many areas of the country where there’s contradancing that I don’t have much knowledge of. So I’d like your help! If you know about the contradance scenes for college-age folks outside of the Northeast, I’d love to talk with you.
Some factors I’ll be thinking about:
- Whether a school has an active folkdance student organization.
- How long such an organization has been going on, and thus its likelihood of persisting.
- The approximate number of members of such an organization, total as well as percentage of student body.
- The proximity and frequency of off-campus contradances.
- The number of alumni active in the contradance scene.
- Faculty who help students find folk dancing.
For example, I know Oberlin, Swarthmore, Bates, Marlboro, Hampshire, and Brown all have good folkdance communities, but I’d like to quantify that, Nate Silver style. So let me know if you know things that I don’t! This will be a collaborative process.