What Is Contra Dance?

Set to vibrant live music, contra dancing is a New England tradition that is loads of fun and easy to learn. People of all ages and lifestyles enjoy the friendly, social and smoke free environment. Lessons are not needed as most steps are basically walking, and the caller will first “walk through” the dance before the music starts. There is no need to bring a partner as most dancers will change partners for each new dance, and “mixing it up” adds to the fun. Many experienced dancers will go out of their way to ask new dancers to join in and help them learn. So bring plenty of enthusiasm, comfortable clothes, a pair of soft soled shoes and come join in the camaraderie .

What Is Contra Dance?
Contra dancing is social interaction, meeting people, and making new friends, set to LIVE music.

Is Contra Dancing Similar To Square Dancing?
Many of the basic moves in Contra Dancing are similar to those in square dancing (swings, promenades, dos-à-dos, allemandes). A dancer and his or her partner dance a series of figures, or moves, with each other and with another couple for a short time (around 32 seconds. They then repeat the same figures with another couple, and so on. A square dance set comprises only four couples whereas the number of couples in a Contra Dance set is limited only by the length of the hall. To join the set, all you need is a partner. If you have danced squares, you will enjoy Contras immediately.

Is Contra Dancing Easier Than Square Dancing?
I took the 20 lessons needed to be able to go to a club square dance and met my wife at a square dance convention. Many years later, I found contra dancing. Contra dancing to me is much easier and much more enjoyable. Contra is very beginner friendly. Many experienced dancers will go out of their way to ask new dancers to join in and help them learn.

What If I Have Never Danced Before?
Each dance is taught by the caller before it is danced. The caller continues to prompt the dancers as needed. Because the pattern of moves of each Contra Dance is repeated often, Contra Dances are easy to learn. Both beginning and experienced dancers share the same set.

Why Should I Dance Contras?
Contra Dances have a relaxed, family-like atmosphere where the emphasis is on dancing. Contra Dancing is excellent exercise that you can take at your own pace. Contra Dancers form a community of friendly, active people and they welcome new dancers of all ages. Northboro Contra welcomes adults, children, families, couples, and individuals.

What If I Don’t Have A Partner?
Many people come to a Contra Dance alone. Dancers are encouraged to dance with many different partners throughout the evening.

Do I Need To Wear Special Clothes?
No. Contra Dancers tend to dress informally. Most people dress for comfort and in anticipation of vigorous exercise. Ladies prefer loose, light dresses or skirts; men wear lightweight slacks, jeans, or even shorts. Be sure to wear soft-soled, comfortable shoes (sneakers or tennis shoes — no boots, please!).

What Is The Music Like?
For many dancers, the live music is the great attraction. Traditional jigs and reels are played with a wide variety of instruments, the fiddle often being the lead instrument. There are many videos of contra dancing music on You Tube.

Do I Have To Join A Club?
No. No classes are required, or even offered (in general), except for a non-required half-hour or fifteen minute introduction to contra dance before the dance. You may come and go as you please. Admission is charged to pay for the hall, the caller and the musicians. Admission at Northboro Contra is: adult $10, student $5, family $20

Published on July 29, 2009 at 1:51 am  Comments Off on What Is Contra Dance?  
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