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Frequently Asked Questions

What is contra dance?

Contradance is a lively, free-flowing social dance, usually done to Celtic style reels and jigs. A dancer and his/her partner join long lines that run the length of the hall, leaders across from followers. Each couple dances with the next couple in line, performing the movements of the called dance. Once the sequence has been completed, one couple progresses up the hall and the other down, dancing with each couple they encounter. The dance is composed of simple moves, but the pace can become quite vigorous, bouncing and twirling like an amusement park ride made of people.

For a website that goes into more detail, see: defining contradance.

Is experience necessary?

No prior experience is necessary. Contradance is extremely beginner-friendly for several reasons:

  1. There's no fancy footwork; you simply walk with a little bounce in your step.
  2. Each dance is taught and then prompted by the caller throughout the dance.
  3. Callers make a point of beginning the evening with easy dances in order to accommodate brand-new dancers.
  4. You'll find most experienced contradancers in our community happy to lend a helping hand as you wend your way through the dance

What if I don't have a partner?

Come with or without a partner. Contradance is a great way to meet people, so even if you do come with a partner, you are encouraged to dance with as many other dancers as possible. Not only does it introduce you to new people, it will also make you a better dancer. It is traditional in contradancing to ask a new person to dance for each dance.

What does it cost?

Admission to the dance is $15, but there is a sliding scale and dancers can pay what they can.

What clothes and shoes do I wear?

Loose fitting casual clothes are best. The dances are vigorous, so shorts and t-shirts are perfect. Longlight-weight skirts are fun. Even at traditional gender-role contradances some men are dancing in skirts; comfortable, yes, but there's something about the way that skirt looks when you're twirling!

Our dances are usually on wooden floors, so shoes that allow a little slide are best.

Are straight dancers welcome?

Everyone is welcome. Our dances are an opportunity for everyone to explore the style of contradancing known as "gender-role-free" dancing, in which dancers can lead or follow without regard to gender. Switching roles is encouraged because the experience of being a follower makes a better leader, and vice versa. Most contradance communities are welcoming of gay dancers, so we want to assure our straight friends that they will feel just as welcome at our dances.