Go and Find a Contra Dance

Last night, I attend my first contra dance.  My own husband has invited the family (including my parents!) out dancing.  Contra dance, otherwise known as patterned folk dancing, has great potential to create a fool out of me.  You know how uncoordinated I am.

I resist going until the very last minute. 

But I know that living with flair means I try new things and embrace–not just endure–new experiences.  It helps that Devin, my friend and contra dancing expert, has been telling me for two whole years that I will love contra dancing. 

When you go to a contra dance, you become swept up (quite literally) in a world gone by.  You feel like you’re at the Dance at Grandpa’s from the Little House books.  The band plays all the traditional folk tunes, and a caller tells you what to do.  It doesn’t matter what you look like or how old you are.  Nobody cares because when the caller tells you to switch partners, you do it.  You find yourself dancing with a 4 year old and then a 70 year old, a teenager, and then your husband. You find yourself dancing with your own father for the first time since your wedding day.

You’ll hold hands with complete strangers, form a circle, and shout together.  My own daughters learn the dances and circle off away from me.

It occurs to me that this is exactly what communities should do on a Friday night in a college town.  I didn’t want to leave. 

I now love the verbs promenade and do-si-do.

Living with flair means you attend a community contra dance sometime this year.

Journal:  Have you been to a contra dance? 

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0 Responses

  1. Were we at the same place? I went to a contra last night in a college town (a really crowded contra!). I love going out to contra and completely agree with all the points you've brought up here. I love the social nature, the excitement, the acceptance — everything! We only have them a few times a year in the college town near me, but I keep meaning to make the hour long drive to the big city to go to contras more often. I used to live in Seattle, and there are multiple contras a week there. I miss that kind of social interaction. I definitely wish communities would get back into doing regular social dances.

  2. I PLAYED at a contra dance once, with a Polka Band! The rest of the bands played the traditional folk music, but ours did the polka music. And I was swept away, wishing that I could be on the floor dancing . . .

    I loved hearing about from your perpective!!

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  3. Love your flair, as always, Heather. “You find yourself dancing with your own father for the first time since your wedding day.” That one brought tears to my eyes.
    Thank you!

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