This page is primarily about what is happening with ballroomdances.org. Check our news page for newsworthy events affecting the dance community. This letter will be available on the Internet for you to read at any time. The official location is: http://www.ballroomdances.org/newsletter.html. I will update the information here without sending the newsletter to everyone every time, so if you want to check and see if there have been changes, bookmark the page or put it in your favorites folder. I now only send out only a link rather than the actual content of the newsletter.
Don’t forget to sign up on our dance partners database. This is NOT a dating service. It is only to allow people to find partners for dances or to take lessons with. The more people that sign up, the better it will work. If you are checking for partners then you should add your name so that others can find you too.
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 the «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 15. Added Extreme Dancesport in Cambridge to our studios page and to our out of area dances page.
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. www.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.
September 15. Began manually keeping up the group lessons page. Moved entries to sites that provide only group lessons from the instructors page to the to the lessons page.
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 two styles to choose from. Please let me know if you find something that does not show up well or correctly. We had some growing pains during the past three days, discovering that Microsoft Internet Explorer does not conform to standards, so bugs arose and corrections had to be discovered. I have lightened the text and the links on the default page style. I have created an 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: http://www.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 . . . Keep on dancing!
Ralph & Lena.
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Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr., 191 White Oaks Road Williamstown, MA 01267-2259
Phone: 413-458-3597 mobile: 413-281-1969