Contra Dance

We touch each other in myriad ways – with our eyes, our voices, etc. When we take hands, the touch is direct. And when we move together, our connections are strengthened.

There is a form of community dance that embodies all this. Contra dance is a form where couples line up to dance with other couples. In each chorus of the dance, we progress to dance with the next couple up and down the line. Soon we have danced with everyone in the hall.

Some figures are only with the person next to you, others with the couple across from you, and others still are all together. In nearly every example, we touch each other in a way appropriate to the figure. We experience directly the small tug that holds us together but not too close or the support that launches us into the next. Every dance teaches cooperation and builds trust.

There is a lot more that can be said. Gary Shapiro maintains a page hosted by the Santa Barbara Country Dance Society that says a lot of it.  But let’s get a few points out there now:

  • The folk process is always happening. We don’t make mistakes – we have fun inventing new dances.
  • Contra is not country line dancing.
  • No special clothing is required. Experienced dancers recommend cool clothing, even in winter.