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What is contra dance?

Contra dancing is a wonderful way to make friends, enjoy great live music and just have fun - great fun!  It requires no prior skills other than the ability to walk to music.  You don't need to bring a partner -- our custom is to change partners for each dance.  Contra dancers are known for their friendliness and welcoming attitude, especially at our Monday dances -- we like to have beginners join us!

Contra dancing is impossible to do alone, or even just as a couple of two.  The dance form depends upon our interacting with others as we go through the patterns of the dances.  We rely upon our connections with other dancers to complete the moves that form a dance.

The dances we do range from those composed last week to several that are were danced when our country was formed.  We are part of a very modern dance scene founded on a great tradition.  Our callers lead the dancers in a walk-through before the music starts, and continue to guide us as we begin dancing to the music. As a community, we range from young kids to active seniors, with a large group of energetic teens and twenties.

The music we dance to has a similar heritage to the dances.  Some tunes are traditional and others are contemporary, composed by the musicians that are playing that evening.  We get a rich mix of artists playing live music, out of the French Canadian, Celtic (English, Scottish, Irish, etc.) and Scandinavian folk traditions, mixed through the blender of New England and other parts of the world.

Enough words -- the best way to get an idea of contra dancing is to try it!  Come join us!

And if you feel you must see it before coming, check out these videos of dancing at our location, the Concord Scout House: walk-through - dance. One of our community members even made a short video about contra dancing from the younger dancer's perspective.

Want to know more?  Television station WMUR in New Hampshire did a program including information on contra dancing history and its living tradition: part 1, part 2 (unfortunately, that program appears to no longer be available as of July 2012).  Google also offers many links like this one or you can contact us with questions or read about learning contra dancing.