The dancing master comes to town

  • Dudley Laufman. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, September 21, 2017 10:51AM

Fiddler Dudley Laufman moved to the Monadnock region in the 1940s “in pursuit of a more rural existence, a more old-fashioned kind of existence,” said Larry Siegel, a pianist and friend. “I think of him as a modern-day Thoreau, marching to the beat of a different drummer, not living the urban life of quiet desperation.”

The traditional dance scene was “fading away” at the time, Siegel said, but Laufman was driven to keep it up. He’d become instrumental — literally — in a number of dances in the area, keeping the tradition alive.

“Many people who grew up around here grew up dancing to Dudley,” Siegel said. “He was kind of the only game in town.”

Now, Siegel has immortalized Laufman in his new piece of musical theater, “The Dancingmaster.” With words and lyrics taken verbatim from a previous interview with Laufman, “The Dancingmaster” is a musical portrait of Laufman featuring musician Keith Murphy as the titular contra dance caller, along with Becky Tracy on violin and Siegel on piano. The piece is choreographed by Mary DesRosiers, who worked to use traditional dance moves to accompany and accentuate the narrative.

“The Dancingmaster” opens at the Peterborough Town House Saturday night at 8 p.m. and then heads to Next Stage Arts in Putney, Vermont on Sunday at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $24 at the door, and are available through brownpapertickets.org.