1. What is Contra Dance?
  2. Who can Contra Dance?
  3. Do I need a partner?
  4. What happens at a dance?
  5. What should I bring?
  6. Where can I learn more?

1. What is Contra Dance?

You can think of Contra Dance as being a descendant of English Country Dances – the stuff of Jane Austen movies – and an ancestor of modern Square Dancing. The dance formation typically consists of partners arranged in two long lines (or “sets”) facing each other. Partners will dance with a new couple during each cycle of the music, moving up or down the set. A “caller” prompts the dancers for each move in the dance. Contra Dance is a living folk tradition; new dances are continually being created.

2. Who Can Contra Dance?

If you can walk briskly, count to 8, and know your right from your left (most of the time), you can Contra Dance! Beginners are welcome anytime. Children (accompanied by an adult) and youth are welcome as well.

3. Do I Need a Partner?

Although you need a partner to Contra Dance, you don’t need to come with one; we arrange partners on the spot.

4. What Happens at a Dance?

Each dance runs from 7:30 – 10:30 pm, with breaks in between to catch your breath and visit. There are also quick instructions for beginners from 7:15 – 7:30 pm. We have live music provided by various local bands throughout the year.

The caller will walk everyone through each dance without music, and then continue calling throughout the dance to remind everyone of the figures. We are a very forgiving group – we’ve all been through the process of learning too, and always welcome anyone who wants to dance and have fun with the rest of us. We’ve seldom seen anybody not grin from ear to ear moving through a set, regardless of how talented (or not) they are at this type of dancing!

Many of us bring a bit of finger food to share as a snack between sets, though that is not mandatory. Coffee (regular and decaf), regular black tea and herbal tea are always on the menu at breaks. We would appreciate it if you would bring your own mug and/or water bottle.

5. What Should I Bring?

  • Soft, comfortable shoes – you will be doing a lot of walking!
  • Water bottle or mug
  • Snack to share (optional)
  • $12 for admission
  • A smile

6. Where Can I Learn More?

While there is no substitute for actually dancing, there are many excellent resources on the internet:

  • Contra Dance Basics: First of a series of nine videos produced by the put out by the Chatahoochee Country Dancers of Atlanta, Georgia.

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