In rural Worcester, Vermont, a town of 902, Friday nights don’t offer a new movie at the cineplex or a night of clubbing. Instead, the two-story town hall becomes the center of the action. On the first Friday of every month, Worcester resident Michael Travis offers a family contra dance followed by live music by local bands.
My photo essay provides a walk through this piece of small town Vermont nightlife. It was an early night, beginning at 6:30 and finishing at 10:00 for the sake of some of the younger participants, but the music and mood were very unique. The open-lid donations bucket was a strong statement of the sense of community; there is no fear of theft. People freely dropped everything from coins to $20 bills into the bucket with no worries that it wouldn’t end up in the right hands.
Despite being a very tight, trusting community, no one took issue with me walking around snapping photos of them and their families. I worried I might get some funny looks from parents as I photographed their children playing (a strange man with a nice camera taking pictures of your kids can’t be a comforting sight), but everyone was very calm about it. The only awkward confrontation was when one of my subjects asked me to dance. “Stripping the Willow,” it turns out, is a healthy family activity.