What to expect at a FOOTMAD contra dance
What to expect
Contras, squares, mixers, waltzes, and more
Partner not required
Soft-soled shoes please!
What is "contra dancing"?
It is an evening of fun, featuring dancing in "sets" of about a dozen couples.
You interact with your partner, and everyone else in the set too, as you dance with easy walking steps to energetic LIVE string band music.
A caller first explains the movements and then prompts you during the dance (as in square dancing).
Contra dance is descended from English Country dance and has been done in this country since before the revolution. In fact, George Washington was a contra dancer. Contra dance is similar to square dancing, but is done in long lines of couples (like the Virginia Reel) rather than in squares.
An evening might also feature square dances and couple dances (waltzes and polkas, for instance).
What happens during a dance?
You, the other dancers, the musicians, and the caller aim for an evening of low-pressure, yet often energetic, camaraderie. Come alone or with others; we ask new partners for each of the dozen dances during the evening.
How do I join in the fun?
You will be part of a living tradition passed on by the experienced dancers helping the newcomers.
It's best to join in the very first dance of the evening with an experienced partner (if possible).
Getting started by letting other dancers guide you is much more effective than watching.
What do I need to participate?
Energy and Enthusiasm! Wear cool, comfortable clothes -- usually a sports shirt and slacks for men, a skirt and blouse for women.
To protect the wooden floor, we ask dancers to bring a separate pair of clean, soft-soled shoes.
Adapted from material created by NEFFA - The New England Folk Festival Association
Links to web pages that tackle the question, "What is contra dance."
Links to YouTube videos featuring contra dance information for beginners.