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Northern Junket links

Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

From 1949 to 1984 one person chronicled contra dance in a magazine called "Northern Junket," now in an online archive. Edited by Ralph Page (and if you don't know who he was and why you should, reading this will fix that) it gives the developments of contra dance from an in-the-trenches perspective. One option to absorb this wealth of material is by reading it cover-to-cover. But that's a major project of some 10,000 pages in 165 issues. And it's not till Volume 6 that you get the first sporadic tables of contents.

For those that wish to test the waters first, you can check the on-site index, which lists many of the more important articles. Or samples some of the articles listed below. These are the pieces I found the most personally interesting, and maybe they'll convince you to look much, much further.

Colin Hume has interpreted all the square dance instructions from Northern Junket. Well worth a look.

The favorites of my favorites

Those that should get you reading the rest.

Dance history, pre-20th century

Contra and english country dance has gone through many historical waves of popularity, leaving old manuscripts in their wake. Ralph Page was very interested in their history, and many of the best articles research this.

Dance history, 1900-1950 (roughly)

There's a period of time when contra dance pretty much went extinct, having been brutally crushed by the waltz. Except in the remote northern bunkers of New England. These are articles about dance in those times, often from the people who lived them.

Contemporary history

Current events become history, and over thirty-five years a lot builds up. Here's some favorites, reported as they happened.

Club squares

The publication time frame of Northern Junket closely matches the rise and development of modern square dance (roughly 1950-1975). Ralph Page was very much against it, and his magazine often collected the contrary viewpoints decrying where most everyone else was going. The ones below are but a small sampling of the most interesting and passionate editorials of people fighting what was happening at that moment, without knowing what lay ahead. Expect some bias in this section.

Calling advice and issues

These are the ones I found most helpful or interesting.


A favorite category of mine.


It's not bad just because it's different.

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