About Contra Dance
Contra dancing is a type of American social dancing with roots in English, Scottish, and Irish traditions. It is done in long lines of couples in a "set" with partners facing each other across the set. A caller teaches the figures of each dance before it begins, then cues the dancers the first several times through the dance.
Couples dance the figures with one other couple. They then leave that couple and "progress" to another couple, repeating the same figures with the new couple. Through the natural progression of the dance each couple and each person dances with everyone else in the set—and the sets can be the length of the hall.
No lessons are required, as each individual dance is taught before it begins. Plus, there are only about 20 moves to learn. For those who would like a little more instruction we offer a newcomers' session at 7:30 on the evenings of our regular dances.
We always dance to live music. There is simply no substitute for the energy of a live band and for the interplay between the musicians and the dancers.
The environment is smoke-free, alcohol-free, fragrance free, safe, and family-friendly. This is a community dance, similar to the barn dances of bygone days.
Take a moment to read two wonderful personal stories that will give you a better sense of contra dancing and how fun it can be. Each will open in a new window or tab:
- Sharon Kennedy's description and story with photos
- Greg Rohde's wonderful personal story and description
If you're new to contra, the series of articles called Ten Stupid Things Beginners Do to Mess Up Their Contradance Experience is definitely worth reading, even if the title is too strongly worded. It really should be called Ten Mistakes.... These mistakes aren't at all stupid—they are totally understandable and very common—yet any of them really can ruin your dance experience.
I've never seen so many smiles in one place!
~ a new Houston dancer