October 22, 2015 - I see this has not been kept up-to-date. Ballroom on Sunset has closed. Bob Englert has left the area to take care of his parents in Florida. Dan DeBenedetto has taken over Bob's Thursday night dances in Cohoes - continuing the dinner traditions. Danceland has taken over the Sunday dances. My cancer is stable since December of last year. Ron Tritto was out of commission for a while, but he's back doing dances and teaching now.
February 21, 2015 - Added a new instructor - in South Hadley, and her monthly dance there. Corrected a minor bug that prevented the proper display of apostrophizes in the header fields, and a bug that made it difficult to see the link for entering news items. Users may enter their own (local dance related) news items themselves. Click first on the NEWS link at the top of the page. Click second on the submissions link in the header are above the news items. There is guidance and formatting instructions below the fields.
December 10, 2014 - Today I revised significantly the rating system - converting it to just specific calculations of exactly the price per hour and the distance in feet between couples. I've eliminate the scaling factors to try to bring the numbers into the 1-10 range, and I've done away with the geometric mean combination of the two figures. It seems nobody understands geometric means. So now, you just have price per hour and the average minimum distance between couples.
December 8, 2014 - I corrected the display of Dances This Week. The generic page warning to use the calendar will no longer appear when you click on a link in your email
February 27, 2014 - I have enhanced the news submission page. You can now see a preview of your news announcements prior to submitting it. This is not to be used for regular dances that are on the calendar, it is for special events that don't fit in the calendar format. You may add your event, such as special performances, competitions, benefits, meetings, trips, cruises, and yes, brief obituary announcements. Looking for volunteers? This is the place for such notices.
January 31, 2014 - Visitors who come to a dance page without going through the calendar will only get a generic version of the page. I now have a "trap" that catches these events. It inserts a page explaining that one must go through the calendar to get all the current information. It will also appear if the visitor book-marked a dance page on a date in the past, as that bookmark will not have the current dance information. This will take care of people who find the page with a search engine, or come from some other place with no or outdated info. The current week will not trigger the trap, so you can still look at dance data for dances in the current week.
January 18, 2014 - Some dance venues have different sponsors and different contact persons for different nights. I have already implemented the capability of changing the sponsor and the sponsor link. The administrative data for each venue has default values. These will appear on the page when accessed through the calendar. I can put override values in the data file so that the page will display different sponsors and link. For example, Danceland III accepts other dance venues as sponsor. Examples are Eileen Spadaro and Ron Tritto. On the days those sponsors are running the dance, their info will appear in the Danceland page header.
I am in the process of doing the same thing for contact information. Rudy's Ballroom is implemented as of today. Other dance pages will be updated in the week(s) to come, as I need to edit the generic page.
I am also planning to trap for visitors who do not come through the calendar. Such visitors will be directed to a page that explains that the detailed information will only be displayed by going through the calendar page.
Remember, if you see a dance on the the screen, don't bookmark that page; bookmark the calendar instead.
January 6, 2014. Well, I haven't kept this up. We've made a number of changes. Separating the changing data from the page has saved a lot of time and effort. Instead of editing each dance page, the majority of changes are entered into a calendar data file, and a program reads this file and constructs the page with the dance information for the date chosen.
The following customized items can be changed this way. Title, included lesson, instructor, address, city, state, start and end times, time devoted to lessons, sponsor name, sponsor email address and more.
Also, we have not had time or resources to maintain and update pictures. As that feature does not support the mission of providing information as to what dances where when for how much, etc., I have closed that selection. I've taken it on myself to provide as much information regarding where there are social partner dances: ballroom, swing, Latin, Tango, etc., but I can not be focusing on getting and posting images. I've taken the ones we had down, as they have become a distraction to our primary mission.
Special thanks to the individuals who have contributed to help support website operations.
I am phasing out the actual calendar for group lessons not associated with dances. We will still have listings and pages that generically list the offerings of independent instructors, but I'll not be chacing after this information. It will have to be provided by the studios and instructors.
Dance sponsors and instructors have been notorious for not providing timely updates for their dances and lessons. If I don't follow up, we run out of dates, and the venues begin to show up without dates. I've made a big push to get as many as possible for this year, but it will be a continuing effort to keep them up-to-date.
Many dance sponsors are sending out emails one or more times per week to their own private lists A few list some of the other dances, the ones they like, but they omit others.
Planned upgrades include being able to customize the contact person field. It's useful for those venues that have different sponsors for different days, as well as for certain specialized types.
I also want to add a "music source" line as a data field. This will allow for those dances which have a different type of music each time.
Dance sponsors should check their listing every month, and provide updated information, three or more weeks in advance (except for emergency cancellations or last minute opportunities).
January 20,2013. We're back up running as before with stuff working just fine. Let me know if you find any glitches.
January 13. My ISP has apparently turned off a feature that most of my pages depend on, causing all of them to be majorly broken. I'll alternate between yelling at them and trying to figure a work around. Sorry for the inconvenience.
January 10. We lost two drives with some critical information last weekend. It looks like we've recovered the main data, but it was touch and go for a while. Another drive is showing signs of age. I've got one replaced now with a bigger drive. I'm still trying to get a major software upgrade completed. We may need a computer upgrade too. I've still got some end of year postings. If your dance isn't up yet, be sure and send me your schedule.
January 5. Well, I have not been to any dances since my cancer operation on September 2. All my dancing, training, and teaching came to an abrupt halt. I was very fortunate in that the cancer, malignant melanoma under the toenail, was discovered as a result of a nail damaged by being stepped on. This type of cancer is seldom discovered prior to its spreading. In my case, that stepping-on incident resulted in discovery prior to any spreading. As a result I needed no further treatment than toe amputation, except periodic check-ups. I have resumed teaching, but I will not resume competition training. We hope to get back to dancing regularly soon.
My Linux system, which supports the website, is getting old. It is no longer supported. I'm in the process of upgrading to a younger version of the operating system, but I have yet to get the minimum critical systems running. In the mean time, its the new year. Dance sponsors need to keep me updated on their dance and lesson schedules.
July 19. We have tested and implemented new scripts for updating the website. These new scripts run daily; they check to see if the dance and lesson schedule files have changed. If so, they regenerate the calendar, upload the results and the data files, and then backup the files. Updating the database and saving the data files is still a manual multi-step process. If I get changes on one day, I may not see them until the next day. I may not get them entered until the following day. Once I have updated the data files, the changes will show up the day after that. Get any changes in to me a minimum of 4 days prior to the date of the event. I can bypass this time in emergency situations, such as a last minute cancellations, by manually running the entire process.
May 6. It has become apparent that a number of venues have tried to become "all sources" to "all dancers" by sending out huge emails purporting to list area dances, including alternative dances in their own genre as well as several other genres. It has also become apparent that these sources have practiced "selective" exclusion, including after they have been notified of omissions on a number of times. In keeping with our strict non-discrimination policy, we are instituting an expansion of our policy. Venues which engage in mass emailing and which list other dances than their own, in total or by genre, are expected to include all area dances for any genre they list. Put simply, if you want to tell about other dances than your own, you must make a non-discriminatory effort. You must make a good faith effort to include everybody. If you are notified of omissions, and you fail to correct those omissions, you lose your eligibility to be listed on ballroomdances.org.
February 4. As part of the upgrades and productivity increases, we have individual dance pages have been revised to generic templates, so that we do not have to edit the page frequently. These pages are merged with data files that provide specific date and time information, as well as price and location changes. These calendars are generated by scheduled jobs from the individual page templates and the data files early every Monday morning. Sometimes I will run the jobs manually during the week if we getshort notice changes, but we try to keep this extra work to a minimum. If you bookmark the individual dance page template, you will not get the current detailed price and location info in the header, you will get a message that says "check calendar". Click on "Dances", go to the date, and click on the city, and you will then get the specifics for that date. We also link to the sponsor's website (if they have one), and there you may sometimes find more details that sponsor offers (presuming they keep their website up to date). More upgrades are in the works, so keep posted.
February 2. I have added a new feature to the dance calendar. You can search by city now, but you must use correct case (first letter of each word capitalized). Just click on the city button, and a form will appear allowing you to type in the name. It will also work for partial addresses, partial url,
November 30. The lesson calendar is too much work with too little support. We will no longer be listing lessons that do not allow walk-ins. We will try to list the first lesson of a group, but not the remaining lessons unless it is specifically stated that walk-ins are welcome. We will still list the lesson description on the instructor's lesson page. Priority will be given to those who support our work. - In the months since we have indicated that help is needed, we have received only one contribution to date (how to help).
June 29. Added a new dance in Westfield. It includes beginner lessons at the start of the dance. First and Second Thursdays. Look for it on the calendar.
June 29. This effort has become a significant consumer of my time and resources. I have finally given in to asking for help. I have posted a "donation" button. You my donate to help support this website using PayPal, a credit card, or even send a donation direct.
June 28. Had a system glitch resulting in blank calendars on the Monday morning weekly update, including the Dances This Week email system. Found out about it Monday afternoon, and was able to get it fixed within an hour of finding it out.
May 10. Added a new exchange link that will be good news for our Connecticut river valley followers. The Enfield Pearl Ballroom is offering weekly Saturday dances.
May 9. It looks like the bugs have been worked out of our weekly reminder email. You can now subscribe to "Dances this week", and get a picture of the current week of the calendar of dances on Mondays. This will support those who want info sent to them rather than having to go to the website to get it.
April 23. I am in the process of consolidating some websites for dance sponsors with multiple pages. This includes Ballroom on Sunset and the Ukrainian Hall so far. Others will follow. The names of individual dance pages are changing. If you bookmarked such a page, your bookmark may no longer works. To obtain the current information go back to the calendar. If you do not go through the calendar, you may get out of date or incorrect information, as the page links are dynamically generated from data files.
April 16. I have just completed another upgrade to the system. This one will save me some troubling repetitive work doing calendar updates. The upgrade has necessitated changing the name of the main calendar files. You will only see a problem if you bookmarked one of the main calendar pages for direct access. You may need to update your bookmarks.
March 29. I have begun adding active subscribers (not other contacts) to our newly developed weekly "Dances This Week" email. This is a web-page format listing the dances for the week Monday through Sunday. It will be processed and emailed early Monday morning by an automatic process. I have started with other people who email partial lists of dances in the area. Hopefully they will bounce my list against theirs, reconcile differences, and let me know of any I have missed.
January 3. In order to simplify processing of the calendar every week, I have changed the names from .shtml to .html. If you have book marked any of the eight calendars, you will need to update your bookmarks. This update save me some processing time as well as reduces my risk of destroying a calendar page.
November 14. After extensive testing, we have switched our website to a new hosting service. We expect the new service to be faster and more reliable. If you discoverer an error or other problem, please use the "report errors" like on the page where the error occurred, so I can quickly find and correct the problem. Thank you.
October 23. Just completed uploading all the revised dance, links, comments, and root pages. Be sure and let me know of any errors or glitches.
October 3. Some finishing touches on the upgrade include a clickable map of our area. It allows you to select individual displays for NY, MA, or VT & NH dances. Also, I've decided to drop the morgue of old events, because the hit rate is practically nil. That makes it much simpler to manage the news - just add and delete.
September 25. I have just completed a major upgrade, changing all the dance pages, and adding routines to display the correct day and times for the first dance in the date list. This will take care of the complaints that "special dances" which are on a different day of the week, or have different times, previously shown in the descriptions, will show up in the header line. Be sure and let me know if you find any strangeness or errors.
June 16. We are beginning a major reorganization of the entire site to accommodate a move to a new Internet Service Provider. This will entail changing the name of almost all files on the system; so, if you bookmarked individual pages, you will have to update your bookmarks. Most of the changes will be from
January 30. I lost my development system (operating system) about a week ago, and I've been going crazy trying to get something up to replace it. I'm still in the process of installing and upgrading things, but I don't yet have the full functionality. Please excuse me if some things got missed. Hopefully things will be better soon.
January 4. I have revised the lesson calendar function to allow users to show only Massachusetts or only New York lessons. Click on the appropriate buttons to restrict the lessons displayed to only one state.
December 3. I have revised the dance calendar function to allow users to select only Massachusetts or only New York dances. You can now click the MA Dances button and get a calendar with only the Massachusetts dances. Similarly, you can now click the NY Dances button and get a calendar with only the New York Dances. If you don't travel, you can bookmark your area page and go directly there. I plan to do this for lessons too.
October 6, Now that Swing, Latin, and Argentine Tango dance schedules have been incorporated into the calendar, I have removed the old "related dance styles" page. A couple of items have been placed on the home page - including the identification of senior dances. The remained of dance types and band schedules will continue to be found on our links page.
September 25, Because we have added swing, Latin, and Argentine tango to our regular dance and lesson calendars, the "related" dance page has become obsolete. These dances all appear in our calendars. For convenience, I have left th "Senior's" link on the home page, so as to allow quickly identifying these dances. The band information was duplicated in the links section; where the information remains. If you don't find something you were used to looking at, try the search link in the menu line at the top of each page.
March 17. Added a dress code guide.
February 15. Revised the dance genre pop-up code to work without requiring clicks. Simplified the hyperlink code. Now a cursor with a "?" appears when the cursor is over the city name, and shortly thereafter, the coded description pops up as a tool tip. This saves the user from making two clicks.
February 8. Revised the internal code in the lessons pages. Also corrected some spelling and changed some page names. The page herschell.html has been changed to hershell.html. Also atcohoes.html has been changed to atsociety.html.
January 22. I have begun the process of removing live music dances from the rating system.
November 3. I have generated recurring dates for dances and lessons through June 2008 for most sites. Dance and lesson sponsors need to let me know of any dates to be removed from their date list. Anyone who sees anything else wrong, please let me know right away. Thanks!.
October 16. Added links to the news and the newsletter with latest date information to the header of the calendar page.
September 22. Revamped the lesson display into a calendar format similar to the dance. Each entry has a link and clickable codes for instructor, dance type or genre, and instruction level. Four weeks are available for viewing. The display is data driven, and it may include links to outside instructor information.
September 2. Added local Argentine Tango milongas to the calendar with the code "A", as a number of our patrons do both traditional ballroom and Argentine Tango. This will present a more complete picture of the dance environment and allow dancers who do "everything" to see competing choices in one place. Feedback on the new calendar format has been great. Thanks for the kudos.
July 9. Adapted the calendar generator program to supply the dates for each of the dances. It shows the first four dates starting with the current date. If there are more dates, a "more" button is presented. Clicking on the more button will show a list of all dates in the date file, including those that are past. If there are no current dates, a "no current schedule available" message will show. This feature, combined with the calendar generator will present the most current information at the top of the page.
July 5. Completed a major rewrite of the calendar system. Because of feedback, I've added the weekday names to each row of days. This will prevent a mix-up from different calendar systems. Our calendar has the dance weekend all together - going from Monday to Sunday. More dances have been added to the calendar. Included are single character logo codes for dances that are "less" ballroom, such as swing, Latin, and "California mix" (much more rhythm than smooth). Each logo code has a pop-up that explains it. The calendar is now generated each time, and it will now always start with the current week. This will save scrolling through to get to the end of the current month. Right now, it generates ten weeks. The calendar can handle external links too.
June 27. Based on strong positive feedback, I have replaced the calendar with the new format. It includes both the every week ballroom dances as well as the individual dances. Because the format requires much more space, it has been moved of the front page. I have also moved the other dances and band listings to its own page. This simplifies the home page. You will be able to bookmark the calendar page. I have also added a "Report corrections." link in the page footer, as too many people have been going to my philosophy page to report corrections.
June 22. Added an alternate main calendar format which combined the dances every week and the dances on specific dates. This format is more like a regular calendar. Neither calendar is immediately displayed. One has to click a link to get the old or new format. I also added an email request for preferences. We'll keep this through July, and then remove the old one if it does not get a lot of votes.
June 19. Added a new routine to correct the "updated" date and time on the calendar page. The new routine searches through all the main, dance, news, links, lessons, partners, and maps pages for the most recently updated file. It then returns the date and time that file was changed. It also adds a clickable link to the date and time, so you can click on the date time and go right to the changed page.
April 28. Added the July calendar page and deleted the April calendar page. Updated the lessons page manually again. Looks like I'm still not getting time to develop and automated system for the calendar.
April 17. The variability of snacks, drinks, and free food at some dances has become so varied that an arbitrary value can no longer be used to compare dances. I've received complicated suggestions for producing a "fairer" rating involving an overly complex and mostly arbitrary set of values that would move the rating system into a much more subjective system. Administration of such a system is beyond our capacity, and I have no intention of becoming an arbitrator as to how much value a dance should be entitled to for its non-dance activities, of which eating is one. Consequently, I have removed the food or snack factor from the rating system. I invite all dance sponsors to submit their own description of what snacks and or beverages they will include in the price of the dance. This remains consistent with our standing policy: only items included in the price of admission to the dance may be included in the description. The change should be seen on all pages. Please let me know if you see a page showing the old system.
April 10. Restored the Petersburg dance page to active status.
March 28. Created a new page for the Chatham Friday Swing Dances series of mixed swing and ballroom dances. Added the June calendar and deleted the March calendar. Updated the calendar for the Mindlin's change of venue.
March 19. Created a new page for Ron Tritto's fourth Friday dance, and added it to the calendar. Removed the old usabdany directory and incident files now that the New York Capital District has a nice new website that appears to include competing dances.
March 12. Danceland is now closed. Updated all pages referring to Danceland.
January 1. Added VegasDanceSport.com to our out-of-area page. I will be removing pages that have not had dances scheduled lately. If you are a dance sponsor, and you have not kept me up-to-date on your dance schedules, your page may disappear. Don't risk it! On another note, sorry, but the dance lesson database is still strictly manual.
Welcome to 2007. It has now been ten years since I first started providing this service. I first started listing dances in 1996 under the old vgernet.net/diogenes website. In January of 2001 I inaugurated the present domain name for the site. ballroomdances.org Our site hit level continues to rise. We are presently getting over 3200 hits per month on the main calendar page.
October 11. Experimented with MySQL. I hope to be able to use this as a database storage for lessons, so people can search. No target date yet, but I a manually inserting and updating group lessons as I find out about them.
October 1. Created the news morgue to retain archived news items being removed from the news page. This will allow referring to and reviewing news items that are no longer current. The links on such items will not be maintained, but the old news items entries will be available for review longer than their action date.
September 29. Updated the calendar to add December and remove September. Updated some regular page. Moved the tango site links from the front page to the other links page, because these sites no longer feature American Tango dance venues. They have evolved into strictly Argentine Tango areas.
September 28. Changed the links for Quintessential Dance from a local page to an external link. Quintessential Dance now has its own website, so the sponsors links will go there now.
July 1. Work continues on developing a database of group lessons. I will start out with a date sequence, and I will add more features later. I don't have a target date yet, but definitely before the fall dance season begins.
June 16. I have updated the news and newsletter pages so that the "newsletter" is like a "company newsletter". It will be all about ballroomdances.org, while the news page will contains all the relevant items about the dance community. I have been very busy with preparing and teaching basic ballroom group lessons, so there have not been as many changes to the structure of the site. I will be moving the calendar page outside the dance directory. The change should be invisible to most of you, but if you bookmarked the .../dance/calender.html page, you will have to update your bookmarks. This transition is necessary to make editing the site easier.
May 13. I have removed strike-out from the visited links. This was being mistaken as an indication of cancellation.
April 27. I have just completed some major upgrades to the website in presentation and style. You now have alternate style with dark text and light background with some different colors. You can choose this style by clicking on the STYLE menu choice button. Once you set the style, it will be remembered on your computer for ten days. If you come back before the ten days is up, the counting period starts over again. For you techies, this is done by setting a cookie that expires in ten days.
March 28. I have just upgraded our search engine so that it can search for phrases. This will be especially useful for searching for specific dates. All our dates are spelled out with the full month name, a space, and the day, except for the entry dates for news items.
We bid welcome to the new Greater Hartford chapter of USA Dance. They started their website last fall, and have really taken over the central Connecticut and surrounding area with respect to providing support and information about ballroom dancing and related dances in their area. Consequently, we have dropped our listing of Connecticut dances, but we will maintain a convenient link to the new location, so you will still be able to quickly get dance information for that area. The new chapter is doing a great job, and we need not duplicate their efforts. Also, we have put links to all the Connecticut area dance sponsors' websites on our out of area dance links page.
Some people have asked about establishing an available-dance-partner directory. This has been done. We have set up a local area dance partners database where individuals who can be available as a dance partner for dances or lessons can sign up. You can leave some contact information or view the the information of others, so as to facilitate getting together for dancing. Members of this list can call each other for the purpose of obtaining a dance partner for a dance or some lessons. This is not a dating service; it to fill the need to let people know who can be available as a dance partner. You do not need to be single to sign up; you just need to be able to act as a dance partner for someone looking for a dancer with whom to attend a dance or take lessons. We need a critical mass of participants for this to be workable, so if you have days which you can be a partner to someone in need, please sign up and make yourself available. With only a few names yet, we have already seen contacts made.
Danceland will continue as a growing business in Colonie, however it has grown too large for one man. Jim, the owner, is looking for someone interested in taking over the business. Danceland will continue with business as usual.
I'm happy to report that we're getting over 2500 hits per month on our main page. Hopefully this reflects a growing interest in ballroom dancing.
I'm in the process of developing a lesson directory. This will allow instructors and studios to provide a list of their group lessons. For private lessons, check the instructor page.
Remember, these notices only go out a few times per year. My effort is put into keeping the website as up-to-date and accurate as possible. With that in mind, please let me know of any errors, omissions, or other discrepancies.
We are: https://ballroomdances.org - ballroom dance calendar - The premier site for ballroom dance information in Western Massachusetts and the New York Capital District - featuring a calendar of dances in the area, lists of instructors, and links to other ballroom dance information on the Internet. The web site is updated frequently.
If anyone knows of other ballroom dances in the area that are not included, please prompt the sponsors to let me know the details. (Out of area dance sites can be listed on our links page.)
Thank you for your support and interest in keeping ballroom dancing available in our area, and perhaps we'll see you on the dance floor.
Stay healthy, . . . and . . .
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Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr., 191 White Oaks Road Williamstown, MA 01267-2259