Contra dance is a little like square dance. Like square dance, we have a caller who prompts us through the dance. Like square dance, we dance some with our partner, then some with our neighboring dancers. In contrast with square dance, we always have a live band; we dance with 50 or more neighboring dancers since we dance in a line instead of a square (but it's not what you may think of as line dancing); no special clothing is required. The tradition is to change partners at the end of every dance. You may bring a partner (or other friends), but you'll have lots of people to dance with even if you don't.
Gary Shapiro maintains a website that explains what contra dancing is (and is not) in great detail. Click here to go there.
Contra Dance Videos
The Chattahoochee Country Dancers (Atlanta) have produced a series of videos that explain contra dancing. The YouTube versions, for quicker viewing, are listed below.
- Two Dancers
- Four Dancers
- A Contra Line
- Come Dance With Us
- Contra Origins and The CCD
- A Called Dance #1
- The Basics
- Contra Video Credits
They also offer a higher quality DVD version of these videos for purchase.
You can find many other contra dance videos on YouTube by doing a search on "contra dance". A few examples are listed below.
- Contra dance from the Fire Ant Frolic 2008 Austin, Tx
- Austin Contra Dancers - television news report.
- Contra Gallery - CCCDS collection of photos and video