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Welcome to DanceDB. This page contains a description of DanceDB, its contents, and instructions on locating and submitting information, as well as links into key pages of the web site.

See map below! Text-only browser? Click on a state or province here! Canada:
United States:
Find a with a name/word like matching
Hint: fewer letters means more matches; use only a few letters and choose letters that are common to all spellings of a name.
DAV matches DAVE and DAVID, OB matches BOB and ROBERT
Hint: don't search for words like in or the or band.
Click on state or abbreviation to list dances in that state
Click on state or abbreviation to list dances in that state

* DanceDB contains information about dances, venues, bands, people, and the events that link them together.
  • Dances refer to presenting organizations or persons, rather than compositions. A single organization may present dances in several venues, and a single venue may be used (usually, not at the same time) by several dances.
    Dances are generally Contra Dances, although the database contains English Country Dance, and Swing Dance. There's no reason that the database is limited to these formats, it's only a question of concentrating resources to get this limited (hah!) part of the job done.
  • Venues are locations where dances are held.
  • Bands are performing groups that play music, generally for dances. Some non-dance music bands are included. Bands contain people, when the information is provided. The rest of the time, I guess they play CDs :-)
  • People are musicians, callers, dance organizers, and dancers.
  • Events are, well, events created by organizers where bands play, callers call, dancers dance, and all this happens at a venue.
  • Whenever you ask for information about a dance, a venue, a band, or a performer, the database automatically supplies information about upcoming events featuring the entity you are interested in. You may also ask for events with different time limits (e.g., history).

    * Summaries from DanceDB can be displayed in a variety of formats.
    In addition to the displays of information from single records, DanceDB has several summary presentations.

    The simplest format, the "Laundry List," is similar to that provided by a variety of other web sites, but without the window dressing and parenthetical comments. Each entry in the Laundry List is a link to a page containing detailed information about a dance, a venue, a band, or a person.

    The Laundry List is large and takes while to load, so please be patient. Right now (17-Sep-2000), there are entries for about 160 dances, 450 bands, and 1400 people. Please feel free to suggest additional records or missing information. Remember, patience is a virtue, especially while the Laundry List loads.

    The "ListDance" format displays links to all the dances in DanceDB (but not the venues, bands, or people) in a compact, easy-to-view format. "ListDance" can also be requested to display only those dances in a single state or list of states, e.g. "New York Region".

    Future enhancements will allow you to display other selected portions of DanceDB.

    The "National Grid" displays the week-of-month and day-of-week for all dances in DanceDB. This format is not unique, but it is unusually flexible and comprehensive. It is also, necessarily, a very big page.

    Each entry on the National Grid is a link. Some links display a subset of the National Grid: one day-of-week, one week-of-month, or one state. The "city name" links in the Grid display detailed information about a dance; in most cases, this is the dance's entry in DanceDB but, when the data is not yet catalogued, it is a direct link to the dance's web page.

    Right now (15-Jan-2000), the National Grid contains entries for about 200 dances. None too small or far away, and just a drop in the bucket. I had no idea there were so many contra dances around! If you try to load it, be prepared to wait for a 150+ KB download. Go wash your face and clear your eyes, you'll need it.

    The National Grid is intended to be customized by web users and Webmasters who are maintaining local pages. It can be displayed without headers, and showing only selected states, cities, weeks, or days.

    * What kind of Information does DanceDB contain?
    All records can contain:
  • Name
  • Street Address
  • Phone, Work Phone, Fax, WorkFax
  • GPS coordinates (latitude, longitude)
  • Motto
  • WebURL (web page address)
  • PhotoURL (photo address)
  • LogoURL (logo address)
  • SoundURL (sound file address)
  • BackgroundURL (background art address)
  • Email Address
  • Text
  • Schedule information (specific events)
  • Dance records can also contain:
  • HomeBase (when "dance" is in town "A", but dances in town "B")
  • Name(s) of web page maintainers
  • Name(s) of information providers
  • Name(s) of booking agents
  • Venue and Regular Schedule
    Band records can also contain:
  • HomeBase (if geographically scattered)
  • Since (year band formed, last active year)
  • Name(s) of contact people
  • Member(s): Name, first year, last active year
    Ident (People) records can also contain:
  • Birthday (currently not displayed; for demographic purposes)
  • Instrument(s): name, first year
  • Ashokan: first and most recent year
  • I'm willing to try to accomodate any additional types of information.

    * Submitting information to DanceDB (or, how to get listed)
    The database relies on data submitted by helpful people. Right now, all submissions should be Emailed to
    If you can't find what you want in DanceDB, please consider providing the information so the next browser will find it. Read about the kinds of records in the database and the information contained in each record, then make up some Email and send it to me. Photos and artwork are welcome.

    Factual information collected in (or submitted to) DanceDB is intended for public use, and is not protected. DanceDB will credit photos and artwork (see Reproduction); the public is asked to respect the author's ownership.

    * Spam, and how DanceDB tries to protect you
    Spam (unsolicited commercial Email, similar to the junk mail delivered by the US Postal Service, except that you can't burn it for heat in the winter) is really annoying, and I've always hesitated to list my Email address on a new page that hasn't yet been harvested by the bad guys. What's more, I'd like to protect the enormous number of Email addresses contained in DanceDB.

    The best way to protect an Email address is never to publish it on a web page or in any postings to on-line discussions. Unfortunately, if you don't publish it somehow, you won't get any Email.

    So, DanceDB has a simple (and only somewhat secure) mail service. This isn't a claim that DanceDB guarantees to protect you against spammer, but DanceDB will try to prevent automated harvesters from gathering your Email address.

    A future project will be to make this more secure, to allow someone to send mail to anyone in the database without needing to know (or have access to) the real address, using only the database key for the person. This would prevent even manual gathering of Email addresses.

    DanceDB may occasionally use the Email addresses in its database to send DanceDB-related information to you (availability, features, etc.). These mailings will be personalized when possible and will not reveal your Email address to anyone else.

    * You're welcome to link to DanceDB.
    But why would you want to? Ahh, good question.

    Let's say you're a dance organizer or the volunteer who maintains a web page. It's a lot of trouble to update your web pages frequently. DanceDB can help you in several ways.

  • If you mention the name of a band, caller, or other performer, it's nice to provide some additional information. Make the name a link to DanceDB. (Hint: if there's something you know that isn't in DanceDB, submit it when you make the link).
  • If you maintain a schedule of events, put the events into DanceDB using Email or the page. You can recover them two ways: by linking to your own record in DanceDB, or by including the "event schedule only" output of DanceDB in a frame on your own page. The events will automatically expire, so you don't have to go back to your page after every event to remove the stale information.
  • If you want to list other dances in your region, use can use the "" or "" pages. Both of them can be customized to include only specific states or cities. Right now they're only available as links, but I'll frame-ize them on request.
  • Most of the functionality of the other "dance index" pages available on the web can be simulated by constructing a page full of the appropriate links to DanceDB. If you want to be a resource, this is a fairly painless way to get there.
  • Or just use the database and copy the information to your own HTML file. Not the most fun way to do it, but hey, it works.

    In any case, I'm not going to spend too much time on the gory details of writing HTML. If you can pick apart the source for this page (or any other page) and figure out how to do it, then go ahead. Otherwise, drop me some Email and I can explain.

    Or, maybe, you don't want to bother with all those details, but you don't mind sending your browsers over here for more information. In that case, here's a couple of graphics you can use, or just use plain text.

  • * You've found a photo you really like -- maybe you're in the photo -- and you'd like to use it on your web page.

    Or maybe you'd like to include it in your brochure or publicity.

    I'd like for you to be able to do this.

    I've written up some guidelines of how you can go about it, which should answer a lot of questions. If it doesn't answer all of your questions, please contact me.

    * Here's some sample ways to access DanceDB.

    Display the entire National Schedule Grid
    Equivalent to:
    Warning: 100+ KB page; please be patient
    Display the Schedule Grid, limited to one or more states
    Equivalent to:[,state2]...

    State names must be fully spelled out with no spaces (example: "newyork"). Separate multiple state names by commas.
    Display the entire database in "laundry list" format
    Equivalent to:
    Display all dances in one or more states in "laundry list" format
    Equivalent to:

    Click on a link:
    BC ON
    United States
    Display all dances in one or more states in "laundry list" format
    Equivalent to:

    Same as above, but you can enter a list of 2-letter state abbreviations, separated by commas
    Search for an Dance
    Equivalent to:

    You must supply the exact database key, or it won't work. If you don't know the key, try the "laundry list" above, or wait for the general name parser to be implemented.
    Search for an Person
    Equivalent to:

    You must supply the exact database key, or it won't work. If you don't know the key, try the "laundry list" above, or wait for the general name parser to be implemented.
    Search for an Band
    Equivalent to:

    You must supply the exact database key, or it won't work. If you don't know the key, try the "laundry list" above, or wait for the general name parser to be implemented.
    Display the events for a dance, band, or performer.

    This one is for webmasters and people designing web pages. Given the appropriate arguments, it will display an HTML page containing events extracted from the schedule database. The page can have a user-specified background color or image. Other artwork and text can be added by directing the page into a frame, surrounded by frames with other content.
    Fill in the form at the right, and see what happens! If you make no changes, it will show the Ithaca dance schedule on an outrageous background.
    Webmasters and programmers: rather than give you the gory detail, I'll just have you look at the source of this page, or at the URL generated by the form (as displayed by your browser when the schedule loads). It's pretty obvious; the BGCOLOR, BACKGROUND, SINCE, and/or UNTIL are optional; the background info defaults to harmless values, and the date limits default to "from today onward...." I'm willing to consider other options!

    DanceDB database key

    HTML code for background color

    URL of background

    Lower date bound for schedule, YYYYMMDD

    Upper date bound for schedule, YYYYMMDD

    * Compatibility with different web browsers

    DanceDB has been tested with with numerous different browser configurations, and works with all of them. Most pages assume a 640x480 or larger screen size, but will work OK on smaller screens.

    An analysis of the first 10,000 or so visits to DanceDB indicated that more than two thirds of all non-spider visits are via Netscape Navigator, less than one third use Microsoft's Explorer, and very small number use other browsers such as Opera or Lynx. Of the major browsers, about 98% of visits are with versions that support frames and tables.

    [I suspect that the visits from Opera (which I like but do not use frequently) and Lynx and the visits from older versions of the big browsers are mostly due to my own testing.]
    Here's the browsers I've tested:

    Operating System Browser/Version Comments
    MacOS Netscape / 4 Works OK. Resource Hog.
    MacOS Netscape / 3 Works OK. Resource Piglet.
    MacOS Netscape / 2 Does not understand borderless frames; visual annoyance.
    Resource Friendly.
    Windows 95/98/NT Netscape / 4 Works OK. Resource Hog.
    Windows 98 Explorer / 5 Works OK. Resource Hog.
    Windows 95 Explorer / 4 Works OK. Resource Hog.
    Windows 95 Explorer / 3 Works OK. Resource Hog.
    Windows 95 Opera / 3.51 Works OK. Walks lightly on your computer.
    Hey, guys, when is your Mac version going to be ready?
    MacOS iCab Works OK. Walks lightly on your computer.
    May encounter difficulties if "User-agent" is blank."
    Very nice program.
    OpenVMS Alpha Netscape / 3.03 Various formatting anomalies.
    [This is my development system]
    OpenVMS Alpha Netscape / 2.02 Does not understand borderless frames; visual annoyance.
    Various formatting anomalies.
    OpenVMS Alpha Lynx / 2.81 The text-only Lynx browser does not display any graphics, and does not understand frames or tables.
    In spite of this, the result is surprisingly good. Nonetheless, I wish David Kaynor would get a browser with graphics, and I wouldn't have to worry about Lynx.

    * Alternate sources of information

    There are a few other compendia of of information about dancing. Here are a some that specialize in contra dances. You will find lots and lots of links here, including some not in DanceDB.

    Bob's My favorite; your mileage may vary.
    The other Bob's Mostly Michigan events.
    Dwayne's Has a point and click map like DanceDB, but also has duplications.
    Charlie's Has info on countries besides U.S. and Canada.
    Kiran's The granddaddy of the contra dance indexes.

    * Reproduction of DanceDB material

    A brief word about copyrights and reuse of material presented by DanceDB. Common sense should prevail here, but just in case you're in need of more specific details, read on.

    Any text information presented by DanceDB was either submitted by an author or collected from other web pages. The purpose of the web site is to distribute this information, and the public is encouraged to help with this distribution. In many cases, linking to this site is the easiest way to do it but, if not, text may be reused without restriction.

    Photos and artwork appearing in DanceDB are credited to an author and should be protected. Credit may take one of two forms:

    • Explicit name (and possibly, a date) of author, usually below photographs.
    • A link from a photo or other artwork to the originating web site.
    In either case, please respect the author's skill and rights of ownership.

    The design of DanceDB web pages is protected. The design and implementation of the underlying database and programming is protected. Links to the database and programming are encouraged, but must follow the provided examples.

    Automated harvesting of Email information is strictly prohibited. Manual collection of Email information is permitted only for the purpose of immediate contact. Building lists for mass mailings (whether spam or not) is not permitted.

    If you want to use photos and/or artwork owned by DanceDB (typically, by Ted Crane), an Email request would be appreciated, and you will usually receive a quick response. You will be asked to link to the image file (instead of copying it), and you will be asked to make the image object a link back to the page it originally appeared on. You might want to check the guidelines I've prepared, covering usage on the web and in print, before contacting me.

    DanceDB contains links to photos, artwork, and backgrounds present on the web sites it catalogues. It has been impractical to request permission-to-use in every case (typically, there is no contact address or no response). Therefore, it uses the policy described above: link to the original (no copies!) and make the object a link to the original web page. [Backgrounds are not linkable but they are almost always clip art.] Please contact DanceDB if you would prefer that your image should not be used in this manner.

    There are advantages to having images from your web site included on a DanceDB page. The (possibly slow) loading of your image takes place during the DanceDB page load, and when the reader clicks on a link to your web page, it can load faster because the image is already present in the browser's cache. Also, there are more links to your web page!

    DanceDB indexes images by the people in the image, but this indexing is (currently) limited to images physically stored at the DanceDB web site. When a DanceDB record is displayed, all indexed photos containing that person or band are also presented. If you would like your photo/artwork indexed this way, please send it via Email; be sure to include an author's name and the image date.

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    Author:Ted Crane
    Last Modified:Friday, October 25, 2019 19:52:52
    Accessed:492757 times since 1998/11/10
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