Dance Caller, Musician, Poet, Storyteller
Recipient of 2009 National Heritage Fellowship Award
(from the National Endowment for the Arts)
Dudley has spent a lifetime calling dances & playing music throughout New England. He learned to call his first dance while in high school at the Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole, MA from a professor’s wife named Maude Ashman. The year was 1948!
Influenced by the well-known dance caller, Ralph Page, and the fiddling style of Dick Richardson, Dudley taught himself to call dances & play the fiddle, melodeon, harmonica & concertina by ear. Known as the Dancing Master of Canterbury, his dances, held throughout New England, were so popular in the 70s & 80s that they became known as “Dudley Dances!”
He was the founder of the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra that recorded the very first full-length LP of dance music back in 1972 & released a new recording in 2016! The CCDO is gathering, once again, in April 2019 to record all of Dudley’s original tunes. His influence and popularity created a wave of interest in old-time dancing that spread its way throughout the United States, as can be seen in the 2009 documentary “The Other Way Back” by David Millstone. For his role in preserving traditional New England music & dance, Dudley received a National Heritage Fellowship award in 2009, our country’s highest honor in the folk arts! He is still actively engaged in calling & playing for dances, averaging 80-90 gigs per year!
Please contact him at:
www.laufman.org (old website)