Kate Power, Caller
Contra Dancing

Contra dancing is a traditional form of American folk dance that evolved from the longways country dances popular in English society centuries ago.  We’ve come a long way since then!  Contra dance communities are thriving across the United States, providing dancers of all ages and experience levels with the opportunity to smile, move, connect, flirt and create an evening of dance nirvana with each other.

Contra dances feature live folk music provided by dance bands playing in traditions of old time music, New England, Celtic, French Canadian, and more.  All dances are taught and prompted by a caller, and the evening starts with a short intro session for new dancers.  No previous dance experience is necessary and no fancy footwork is required – if you can walk and smile, you can contra dance!  (It doesn’t even matter if you have two left feet, but you can’t have two left hands.)

Contra vs. Square:  Most contra dance evenings will include a square or two.  When describing contra dance to the uninitiated, it is tempting to invoke contra’s similarities to square dancing, but the differences are what stand out.  Despite the common moves such as do si do, allemande, and swing your partner, contra dancers change partners frequently and through the group synergy will end up dancing with everyone in the room.  And no special dress is required!

We encourage dancers to switch partners after each dance, and experienced dancers enjoy dancing with newcomers in order to share their love of contra.  You don’t need to bring a partner with you to a contra dance – just smile and ask someone to dance!

“Why doesn’t EVERYONE know about this???” 
A new contra dancer at the end of her first All Soles Contra Dance in Columbus

“I was thrilled to encounter a place where the whole community dancing together is more important than any one person or any couple looking good.”  Greg Rohde, St. Louis contra dancer