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What is Contradancing?

Contra Dances begin with two lines running the length of the hall, usually a line of men and a line of women facing each other.  These two lines are called a “set.”  You and a partner (who could be anyone) will join a set.  Each dance is taught from scratch so no experience is necessary. 

A “caller” will walk you slowly through simple figures in the dance, e.g. circle left.  When the music starts — usually with a lively band — the caller will continue "calling" out the figures to guide you.  Pretty simple and fun!


Here's a contradance.  Clip is 1min:45sec.  © Robert Logan

Contradance music is very lively and is often an Irish jig or reel.  Jigs are in 6/8 time (somewhat "bouncy" -- think of someone dancing a jig) and reels are in 4/4 time (think of someone walking briskly.)  The following music is a reel.   Who wouldn't want to dance to this?! © Robert Logan

Why We Contra Dance!  In this video, Chattahoochee Country Dancers tell why they contradance.  Short clips featuring several contra dancers and couples.  Clip is 7min:59 sec.

    "Positive energy"
            "Makes me happy"

    "Music & mahem"
                   "Pure joy"
      "Sense of community"

Last updated Feb 18, 2023
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