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Members of Two Fiddles, Jacqueline and Dudley Laufman, play for students as the participate in a traditional barn dance at Maple Avenue Elementary School Friday. (KATHY REMILLARD/Union Leader Correspondent)

Barn dancing livens up physical education classes

GOFFSTOWN -- Students at Maple Avenue Elementary School joined an old-fashioned Barn Dance on Friday that capped off a week of activities for the school's Artist-in-Residence program.

Jacqueline and Dudley Laufman of Canterbury, known as Two Fiddles, spent the week with students in their physical education classes to teach the art of calling dances in a program funded by the school's Parents and Faculty Together group.

Students do-si-doed and swung their partners in traditional dances such as the Virginia Reel, Grand March and Circle, Paul Jones and the square dance as the Laufmans played familiar tunes like "Muffin Man."

Dudley Laufman has been playing the fiddle and calling dances for more than 50 years, and was the leader of the Canterbury County Dance Orchestra.

"We did some dances that may have been done by early settlers," said Dudley of the Maple Avenue program, noting that the students were enthusiastic and picked up the steps quickly.

Assistant Principal Jessica Milligan said students not only got some physical activity, but also learned some of the history of the dances and music and cultural aspects as well.

"And how often do kids get to go to a barn dance these days?" she said.

Students moved through the calls, picking up the beat stamped out by Jacqueline Laufman as she played the fiddle.

"I thought it was really fun," said fourth-grader Julia Tortorino. "I like the rhythm, and how we got to dance."

Classmate Jack Romein agreed.

"It was pretty fun," he said. "It took a lot of energy. We were all pretty tired when we got back to class."

Milligan said she appreciated the generosity of the PFT.

"We wouldn't have had this if it weren't for the PFT," she said. "The kids loved it, and they did a great job."

Milligan said the committee that brings in the Artist-in- Residence is already working on next year's visit.

"It's such a great cultural and historical experience for the kids, that they may not have had the opportunity to participate in otherwise," she said.

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