Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter Online

  1. Online Host: New Hampshire Old-Time Country Dance Web Site.

  2. Peter Yarensky, Publisher, Designer  & Nearly Everything Else

NH Country Dance Table of Contents 

NH Old-Time Country Dance Web Site Home Page

Newsletter Site Map

Music & Dance Weekends

  1. Ralph Page Weekend

  2. Star Hampshire Weekend

Music & Dance Community, History & Stories

  1. Photo Page Index

  2. Music & Dance Story
    General Index

  3. NE Contras & Squares Index

Dance Pages

  1. Country Dance Newsletter

  2. Dance Calendar Page

  3. Lamprey River Band

Music Pages

  1. Wednesday Jam, Durham

  2. Canterbury Fiddlers Picnic Barrington Natural Heritage

  3. Fiddle Tunes - Index, abc

  4. The Tunes, PDF Format

  5. abc Musical Notation

  6. Peter’s abc Help File

  7. Links - Recorded Music Sites

Site Information

  1. Contact/Link Information

  2. Update Notes

  3. Feedback Page

NH Country Dance
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Section Home Pages are listed here; a few major Subpages may be as well.

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Dance Newsletter Updates

This corner contains updates to the Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter: late additions, cancellations, and other news. Subscribers receive many of these updates by e-mail, plus a few others that it doesn’t make sense to post here.

January 12, 2012. The newsletter has been updated for the first time in a long time. It now has correct current listings of local dances; I may gradually expand to other regional dances if time permits.

<look below on the left for old news items>



Country Dance  F


A newsletter of traditional dancing in Seacoast New Hampshire and surrounding areas.

Basic Information.

The Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter is in the process of being revised after a period of dormancy. My intent at this point is to update it now and then to carry all local and eventually regional dance news that I know about, going at least a couple months in advance.

A Note About the Newsletter.

The revived newsletter will be a web-only publication. In the future I may consider sending out e-mail notifications about updates; but hopefully it will continue carrying information for a few months in advance, so it will simply be available for your use as needed.

My hope is to revive it by spring most likely at dances and as a web/e-mail newsletter (no postal subscriptions). I’ll announce any such revival here as soon as it happens.

Contributions: Please send announcements to peter dot yarensky at unh dot edu.

View the Dance Calendar. Click on the link to go to the Newsletter Calendar Page.


About the Newsletter.

The Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter has been published monthly since 1985. I had published an occasional calendar of local dances over the previous couple years under that name, but the inspiration for a monthly newsletter came when the Newmarket Town Hall, where we danced every second and fourth Friday, burned to the ground. That left us without a home for our dances, a situation that lasted to some extent for a couple years as the Newmarket dance went through a few unsatisfactory temporary homes.

To let people know when and where the next dance would be, I started a mailing list, and sent out postcards every month listing the dances along with other dances within a couple hours and a paragraph or so of commentary. The format was directly inspired by the Maine Country Dance Orchestra’s monthly Newsletter, as at the time I was going to the Bowdoinham dance nearly every month and it was one of my two favorite dances (the other being the Francestown dance).

At first the newsletter was a free mailing, funded by the local dances. However, by October 1986 it had grown to about 200 people which was getting too expensive to be funded by the dances. I was also becoming interested in including more commentary, and that was when I got my first computer (a Mac Plus), so everything came together to allow me to expand the newsletter to a letter-sized publication and to manage the subscriptions myself with a database (Helix, which despite being mistreated by its varied owners, remains an excellent database to this date). I continued putting out newsletters free at dances so new dancers could pick up a copy; I’m sure some people have picked up free copies for years.

The subscription version grew to 200 subscribers by October 1989. In 1992 I switched to legal sized paper to allow more detail in the dance listings and a bit more commentary. Subscriptions reached a peak of about 250 in 1994 and have gradually decreased since then (a general trend in dance newsletters as I understand). Although it took a while to figure it out, the downward trend appears to be due to more and more dancers getting their information from the web rather than from local dance newsletters.

Editorial interlude: This has had mixed results. It’s much easier to get information now than it used to be, but many people try to list dances all around the country, and accuracy seems, not surprisingly, to be roughly inversely related to distance from the dance. I still get occasional indignant calls from people who go to the 4th Saturday Dover dance because they found out about it on “the contradance web site” and it’s not there. Well, it hasn’t been there for years (it’s in Kingston), but apparently some web sites still list it, and we have to suffer from their inaccuracies. We all make mistakes, but that’s different from mistakes that persist for years. Don’t list dances unless you plan on keeping track of them!

In 2003, with subscriptions at about 150, and with paper and postage costs going up, I started having a separate version to put out at dances (letter size) in addition to the subscription version, which saved some money. In 2004 I added in e-mail subscriptions in PDF format at half the price of postal subscripions. Those were in a slightly modified letter format, under the assumption that most people don’t keep legal-sized paper around if they want to print it.

In August 2006 I started making the newsletter available for downloading in PDF format, although I still couldn’t figure out how to put it on the web site (due to font issues and the use of characters that wouldn’t reproduce on the web). In November 2006 I solved that problem and the newsletter was now on the web in viewable form as well.

So now I had four versions of the newsletter. Although subscriptions were down, web views were up, more than balancing out lost subscriptions. An unanticipated result is that I’ve started adding content to the web site that doesn’t fit in the newsletter.

Unfortunately, in summer of 2007 my father had a major health issue from which he never recovered. Together with work-related issues my life was disrupted sufficiently that I wasn’t able to publish the newsletter regularly after that.

At this point (1/12), my hope is to revive the newsletter as a web-based publication more limited in scope for now, listing dances several months in advance as information becomes available and not covering as wide a geographical area. I may consider a print version of some sort to be made available at the Dover dance.

Note: Please report any broken links or give me feedback on this web site by e-mail at peter dot yarensky at unh dot edu..

Old News Items

February 11, 2010. See announcement about the state of the newsletter to the left.

August 15. I added the Barrington Natural Heritage and Agricultural Fair, for which Teresa and I are organizing music, on Sat. 9/12.

July 31. The Kingston Dance schedule is now on the calendar page through the end of the year.

July 14. The latest newsletter is online; it’s a combined July/August issue.

June 2. The June newsletter is online.

May 5 & 15. I updated the newsletter online and finally had a chance to add the PDF file for downloading.

Fri. March 6. I added local dance listings for the next few months.

Thurs. March 5. I put together a limited newsletter for March.

Sun. Jan. 25. I redesigned the Newsletter portion of the web site today and put up the Late January/February Local Dance Newsletter. I’m nearly caught up with work for a change so I may with some luck be able to resume publishing the newsletter regularly soon; but no promises!

Thurs. Jan. 1, 2009. A brief late Dec./early Jan. issue is published. I’ll try to get out a real January issue soon. Note: No Dover dance this month (tonight.)

Thurs. Oct. 30. The November newsletter is online, on time for the first time in ages!

Mon. Oct. 13. Update Prognosis. Every time I think I might get caught up, something else happens ...

These days the problem seems to be mostly with my teeth; I’ve had to have multiple root canals, and now I have the privilege of looking forward to my first extraction. This takes time, and leaves me with little energy and concentration even to do what has to be done.

I certainly hope to get the newsletter back on a regular schedule, but it’s been so much harder than I would ever expected that I won’t even begin to guess. Needless to say, the rest of the web site has suffered in a similar fashion. The Ralph Page Weekend section will be the first part to take off again; after that I’ll have to see!