, Most contra dances do not have an expected dress code. Contra dance includes everything from Irish tunes to French-Canadian folk tunes; the music almost always features a fiddle, but banjo and bass can be included. In the Celtic repertoires it is common to change keys with each tune. CONTRA DANCE CHOREOGRAPHY A Reflection of Social Change MARY McNAB DART 1995. The most common contra dance repertoire is rooted in the Anglo-Celtic tradition as it developed in North America. I've limited myself to print versions and included the most common compilations, tunebooks from specific composers, and tunebooks from a historical or country of origin. Actually, this is only true sometimes. Listed by Musician or Band, Contra, The Tradition About Contra Contredanse, genre of dance for several couples. All dances have been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Most contra dances consist of a sequence of about 6 to 12 individual figures, prompted by the caller in time to the music as the figures are danced. By then, early dance camps, retreats, and weekends had emerged, such as Pinewoods Camp, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which became primarily a music and dance camp in 1933, and NEFFA, the New England Folk Festival, also in Massachusetts, which began in 1944. Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, and Old-time tunes are common, and Klezmer tunes have also been used. Contra Borealis Dancers Fairbanks. Tunes of this form are called "square"; tunes that deviate from this form are called "crooked". An event which consists primarily (or solely) of dances in this style is sometimes referred to as a Modern Urban Contra Dance. Typical contra dance choreography comprises four parts, each 16 counts (8 measures) long. Since over the course of any single dance, individuals interact with not just their partners but everyone else in the set, contra dancing might be considered a group activity. First Couple Balance & Swing, finish facing down to make Lines of Four), containing at least one swing and normally both a partner swing and a neighbour swing, the vast majority of the moves from a set of well-known moves that the dancers know already, composed mostly of moves that keep you connected to the other dancers, generally danced to 32 bar jigs or reels played at between 110 and 130 bpm, danced with a smooth walk with many spins and twirls. A typical room of Contra dancers may include about 120 people; but this varies from 30 people in smaller towns, to over 300 people in cities like Washington DC, Los Angeles, or New York. The New England contra dance tradition was also maintained in Vermont by the Ed Larkin Old Time Contra Dancers, formed by Edwin Loyal Larkin in 1934.  New dances, such as Shadrack's Delight by Tony Parkes, featured symmetrical dancing by all couples. Tunes not 64 beats long are called "crooked" and are almost never used for contra dancing, although a few crooked dances have been written as novelties. Call 603 399-8361, click here for Order & Shipping Information.  While challenging for DJs and callers, the fusion of contra patterns with moves from hip-hop, tango, and other forms of dance has made this form of contra dance a rising trend since 2008. (For diagrams and full descriptions, see Contra Dance Form main article.). With longer sets (more than ≈60 people) time for one song does not allow dancing with every dancer in the group; but people do still enjoy a variety of dance personalities as they interact with most couples in the same set. (See the article on contra dance form for full characterizations of the progression in the eight dance forms mentioned above.) The Celtic Connection Contra Dancing is a popular form of recreation enjoyed by people of all ages in over 200 cities and towns across the United states (as of 2020), yet it also has a long history that includes European origins, and over 100 years of cultural influences from many different sources. Welcome to CFOOTMAD, your information source for contra and traditional dancing and music around Boulder, Denver and the Front Range. Music and Dancing 6:30-9pm BYOB. The old-time repertoire includes very few of the jigs common in the others. The caller gives the instructions orally, and sometimes augments them with demonstrations of steps by experienced dancers in the group. Double progression dances, popularized by Herbie Gaudreau, added to the aerobic nature of the dances, and one caller, Gene Hubert, wrote a quadruple progression dance, Contra Madness. The French called these dances contra-dances or contredanses (which roughly translated "opposites dance"), as indicated in a 1710 dance book called Recuil de Contredance.  Pittsburgh Contra Dance celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. The dance is led by a caller who teaches the sequence of figures in the dance before the music starts. Tunes used for a contra dance are nearly always "square" 64-beat tunes, in which one time through the tune is each of two 16-beat parts played twice (this is notated AABB). A typical evening of contra dance is three hours long, including an intermission. Each time through the dance takes 64 beats, after which the pattern is repeated. The A and B parts are each played twice in a row, hence, A1, A2, B1, B2. In the 1970s, Sannella and other callers introduced dance moves from English Country Dance, such as heys and gypsies, to the contra dances. The piano, guitar, and double bass are frequently found in the rhythm section of a contra dance band. A figure is a pattern of movement that typically takes eight counts, although figures with four or 16 counts are also common. Each dance is a collection of figures assembled to allow the dancers to progress along the set (see "Progression," above). Audio CD $9.99 $ 9. ", Contra Dance Choreography, A Reflection of Social Change, New Hampshire Library of Traditional Music and Dance, Contraculture, an Introduction to Contra Dancing, Birmingham Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance (FOOTMAD), MADFolk The Federation of English Folk Dance Clubs in Mersey and Deeside, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Contra_dance&oldid=991141638, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia external links cleanup from March 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Traditional - the actives do most of the movement, Modern - the dance is symmetrical for actives and inactives, first couples improper, or Becket formation, no-one stationary for more than 16 beats (e.g. Contra Dance Music: A Working Musician's Guide is a gold mine of links to articles about playing for dances by musicians and callers. Instructive videos of several contra dance musicians and bands demonstrating how they select and play music for … While teaching each dance pattern, the Caller may refer to the people who start closer to the band as "1s" and the people who started a few steps further from the music (but are facing toward the band) as "2s" (or the second couple). We do have the first two music collections however, "The Portland Collection: Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest, 1 & 2", which are valued by us in many ways, which have a lot of old friends in them ~ melodies ~ and people mentioned, associated with, and contributing to these two excellent books. Just click on any title below to view the sheet music; you can also download and print the file directly from your web browser. Contra dancing is special because it is almost always done to live music. Contra dance is a form of dance that thrusts a different person of the opposite sex into your arms every 30 seconds or so. The emphasis will be on bands and musicians that play at contra dances.  No special outfits are worn, but comfortable and loose-fitting clothing that does not restrict movement is usually recommended. Every first Friday and 3rd Saturday at Pioneer Park Dance Hall – 8:00 pm September through May with an abbreviated summer schedule. Initially, Lovett could not as he was under contract at a local inn; consequently, Ford bought the property rights to the inn. Whenever musicians gathered to play, people danced to the music. Start at bacds.org for a constantly-updated list and links. Our CD's are available in digital format from cdbaby.com, Listed by Title  In the mid-19th century, group dances started to decline in popularity in favor of quadrilles, lancers, and couple dances such as the waltz and polka. One who attends an evening of contra dances in North America does not need to bring his or her own partner. The most common contra dance repertoire is rooted in the Anglo-Celtic tradition as it developed in North America. Contra Music. Many modern contra dances have these characteristics:. , Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, had a role in preserving contra and American folk dancing generally, in part as a response in opposition to modern jazz influences in the United States. In terms of instrumentation, fiddles are considered to be the primary melody instrument in contra dancing, though other stringed instruments can also be used, such as the mandolin or banjo, in addition to a few wind instruments, for example, the accordion. The parts are called A1, A2, B1 and B2.  Occasionally, percussion instruments are also used in contra dancing, such as the Irish bodhran or less frequently, the dumbek or washboard. After the walk-through, the music begins and the dancers repeat that sequence some number of times before that dance ends, often 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the length of the contra lines. Musicians and callers on the art of contra dance music and calling from Old Farmer's Ball. As will necessarily be the case when beginners are welcomed in by more practiced dancers, mistakes are made; most dancers are willing to help beginners in learning the steps. The Portland Collection: Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest is a collection of 318 traditional and recently composed jigs and reels played for dances in Portland, Oregon. The music played in the Monadnock Region along the Connecticut River from the 1970s to the early part of this century was particularly special. They are learning a new dance style and moves that are generally easy, but are receiving it almost all at once. Techno differs from other contra dancing in that it is usually done to recorded music, although there are some bands that play live for techno dances. Ralph Page almost single-handedly maintained the New England tradition until it was revitalized in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly by Ted Sannella and Dudley Laufman. Contra tunes are played at a narrow range of tempos, between 108 and 132 bpm. In practice it's easier to "just do it", with the caller explaining things, and other dancers helping point the way, and the overall effect is that you enjoy dancing with one "set" of four people for 30 seconds, and then step forward and find "new people to play with" as you move across the room. However, since the underlying beat structure of jigs and reels is the same (two "counts" per bar) bands will occasionally mix jigs and reels in a set. In the old-time tradition the musicians will either play the same tune for the whole dance, or switch to tunes in the same key.  As time progressed, these dances returned to England and were spread and reinterpreted in the United States, and eventually the French form of the name came to be associated with the American folk dances, where they were alternatively called "country dances" or in some parts of New England such as New Hampshire, "contradances". If the sets are short to medium length the caller will often try to run the dance until each couple has danced with every other couple both as a 1 and a 2 and returned to where they started. It has mixed origins from English country dance, Scottish country dance, and French dance styles in the 17th century.  Lightweight skirts are often worn, at some dances by men as well as women, as these have a very pretty effect when swinging or twirling. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as New England folk dance or Appalachian folk dance.  The Peterborough dance influenced Bob McQuillen, who became a notable musician in New England. In some places, square dances are thrown into the mix, sometimes at the discretion of the caller. A pair of lines is called a set. Music in a dance can consist of a single tune or a medley of tunes, and key changes during the course of a dance are common. I will exclude items such as any possible salsa CD by KGB or sitar music by Wild Asparagus, but will probably list some CDs that contain some tunes that are played at contra Contra dance (also contradance, contra-dance and other variant spellings) is a folk dance made up of long lines of couples. Website. One of the primary supports for the choreography of the dances is, of course, the music. Beginners are generally in information overload their first night. Since then, contra dance musicians have typically played tunes in sets of two or three related (and sometimes contrasting) tunes, though single-tune dances are again becoming popular with some northeastern bands. Live music is the rule at today's contra dances, and the musicians who provide this music play an essential role in the success of the dance event. The Quebec Connection The walk-through usually proceeds in the order of the moves as they will be done with the music; in some dances, the caller may vary the order of moves during the dance, a fact that is usually explained as part of the caller's instructions. The Jazz Connection, Other Helpful Great Meadow Pages; Once people reach the edge of the room or "set" they may switch direction, rest/wait one 30-second cycle of the dance, and step back into the dance set to continue as long as music is still being played. The "walk through" also helps understand how the dance pattern leads toward new people each time. Get it as soon as Thu, Feb 20. Some of the most popular contra dance bands in recent years are Great Bear, Perpetual E-Motion, Buddy System, Crowfoot, Elixir, the Mean Lids, Nor'easter, Nova, Pete's Posse, the Stringrays, the Syncopaths, and Wild Asparagus. While all dancers in the room are part of the same dance pattern, half of the couples in the room are moving toward the band/music at any moment and half are facing away from the music, so when everybody steps forward, they will find new people to dance with for the next 30-40 seconds. The tunes may range from traditional originating a century ago, to modern compositions including electric guitar, synth keyboard, and driving percussion - so long as the music fits the timing for Contra dance patterns. Click on any event for specific information about the music of the week, location information, price, and any other important information. There is a Thursday virtual dance from Seattle's Lake City Contra series. Correspondingly, the bottom of the set is the end farthest from the caller.. Like wise, traditional New England music is unique because it still has strong ties to a social dance form. The Brattleboro Dawn Dance started in 1976, and continues to run semiannually.. Music that is played during contra dance is most often build around the central instrument of the fiddle (other popular instruments are a mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass), and most tunes are of the Irish, Scottish and French-Canadian traditional folk music (both single songs and medleys).  Couples interact primarily with an adjacent couple for each round of the dance. The dance progression toward new people is built into the Contra Dance pattern as continuous motion with the music, and does not interrupt the dancing. Recent Examples on the Web Mud in Yer Eye, providing contra dance and folk music to Clevelanders since 1978, returns for another year of fun and frivolity. Variable. In the span of 10-15 minutes, you often dance with everybody in the entire set of dancers. FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. Contra Dance Music Tune Books. Calls are normally given at least the first few times through, and often for the last. Almost all contra dances are danced to live music. We also have additional special events such as Sunday afternoon contra dances and calling parties. Box 4, Westmoreland, NH 03467  Many dancers travel regionally (or even nationally) to contra dance weekends and week-long contra dance camps, where they can expect to find other dedicated dancers, great callers, and great bands.. The special sound of New England contra music has inspired dancers for generations. Only 6 left in stock - order soon. Callers describe the series of steps called "figures", and in a single dance, a caller may include anywhere from 6–12 figures which are repeated as couples progress up and down the lines. There's a start to a list of contra dance music on CDs.  There are many additional forms a contra dance may take. This 43-minute video is an introduction to the traditional music played for dances in the Monadnock region. “Considered a social dance that one can attend without a partner, but is danced in pairs, contra dancing is danced in long lines of couples/pairs formed starting from the stage and down the dance … Music for the evening is typically performed by a live band, playing jigs and reels from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, or the USA. As the dance pattern progresses the "1s" within each group of four people will move Down the Hall away from the music to find new dancers, while the 2s in each group of four will progress/move UP the Hall toward the Caller and the music. In the early 1980s, Tod Whittemore started the first Saturday dance in the Peterborough Town House, which remains one of the more popular regional dances.  Many events offer beginner-level instructions prior to the dance.  In the 1920s, he asked friend and dance coordinator in Massachusetts, Benjamin Lovett, to come to Michigan to begin a dance program.  Ford also published a book titled Good Morning: After a Sleep of Twenty-Five Years, Old-Fashioned Dancing Is Being Revived in 1926 detailing steps for some contra dances.. “My mother was a pianist, that’s where the incentive came from origninlly. Sometimes described as New England folk dance or Appalachian folk dance, contra dances can be found around the world, but are most common in the United States (periodically held in nearly every state), Canada, and other Anglophone countries. However, any 64-beat tune will do; for instance, three 8-beat parts could be played AABB AACC, or two 8-beat parts and one 16-beat part could be played AABB CC. Contra Dance and Music. 2. It might be more prudent, but less whimsical, to say that contra dance is one of the few dance forms where by the end of the evening you are likely to have danced with everyone. Contra Dance & Event Calendar MAPS : ICC =Irish Cultural Center, MCC =Mesa Community College, JHC =Jewish Heritage Center, GOCCC =Greek Orthodox Church Community Center 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm (Free lesson at 7:00 pm) Contra dance events are open to all, regardless of experience unless explicitly labeled otherwise, and it is common to see dancers anywhere from 15 to 70 years of age, and with a variety of backgrounds. The 1s are said to be above their neighboring 2s; 2s are below. (Previously, the actives and inactives —see Progression below— had significantly different roles). In the 1930s and 1940s, the popularity of Jazz, Swing, and "Big Band" music caused contra dance to decline in several parts of the USA, and they were primarily held in towns within the Northeastern portions of North America, such as Ohio, the Maritime provinces of Canada, and particularly in New England. Dancers do not need to memorize these patterns in advance, since the dance leader, or "Caller", will generally explain the pattern for each song before the music begins, and give people a chance to "walk through" the pattern so both new and experienced dancers can learn the moves. Some contra dances are even done to techno music. | Sacramento Country Dance Society", "Contra Dance in Houston, TX - Contra Dance Frequently Asked Questions", "Contraculture: Bird Names and the Degendering of Contra Dance", "Michael Dyck's Contradance Index: By Title", "Asheville and WNC folks helping grow 'Techno contra' dancing phenomenon", "After midnight: LEAF's late-night lineup is worth staying up for", Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Now, What in the World is Contra Dancing? If there is an uneven number of couples dancing, the bottom-most couple will wait out the first time through the dance. Richard Robinson's Tunebook is a collection of traditional tunes, and new tunes in traditional styles. University of New Hampshire Special Collections: This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 13:59. , Contra dances were fashionable in the United States and were considered one of the most popular social dances across class lines in the late 18th century, though these events were usually referred to as "country dances" until the 1780s, when the term contra dance became more common to describe these events. "Contra Dance / Contradance in New England", "Contra Dance / Contradance Links for Festivals, Camps, and Weekends", "Longtime contra dancing program comes to an end", "Ed Larkin dancers head for Tunbridge again", "NEFFA – New England Folk Festival Association", how figures like heys and gypsies got into modern contradancing, "A look at late-night dancing in the Brattleboro, VT area from the 1920s to the 1960s", "Peterborough 1st Saturdays and Special Dances – Monadnock Folklore Society", "5/6/11, 2 of 9: Perpetual e-Motion at the Concord Scout House", "Susan Kevra's Letter to the Greenfield Contra Dancers", "Notes on Calling Contra Dances by Cary Ravitz", "Contra Dance – What to Wear? A musician since age 5, he remembers enduring the pain of childhood piano lessons. , Contra dances are arranged in long lines of couples.  As dancing can be aerobic, dancers are sometimes encouraged to bring a change of clothes. Contra Dancing to Riptide (Alden Robinson, Owen Marshall, Glen Loper and Mark "Pokey" Hellenberg) and the Calling of George Marshall at the Foggy Moon 2015 Contra Dance Weekend. In the Celtic repertoires it is most common for bands to play sets of reels and sets of jigs. National standards and local favorites are included. Where to Dance An old-time band might play a set of tunes in D, then use the time between dances to retune for a set of tunes in A. We feature the artists who played in this ‘classic’ period, and welcome you to share the joy of contra. Robert Cox hosts a biweekly radio show and podcast called Contracast featuring contra dance music. biteyourownelbow.com Select RSS Feeds Edit Select Simulations, Applets and Visualizations Edit Select Slideshows Edit Select Societies, Associations, Groups, etc. Thus, a contra dance is typically 64 counts, and goes with a 32 measure tune. The special sound of New England contra music has inspired dancers for generations. Booking ahead by asking partner or partners ahead of time for each individual dance is common at some venues, but has been discouraged by some. Order & Shipping Details Many callers and bands perform for local contra dances, and some are hired to play for dances around the U.S. and Canada. Sometimes, a rock tune will be woven in, to the delight of the dancers.. In the short break between individual dances, the dancers invite each other to dance. Here, D is related to G as its dominant (5th), while D and Bm share a key signature of two sharps. You can hear much of the contra dance music in Portland at contra dances everywhere. Five of them are: triplet, indecent, four-face-four, and whole-set. 99.  Lovett and Ford initiated a dance program in Dearborn, Michigan that included several folk dances, including contras. The event consists of a number of individual contra dances, each lasting about 15 minutes, and typically a band intermission with some waltzes, schottisches, polkas, or Swedish hambos. It’s inextricably linked to the old-timey bluegrass music that pervades every mountain city and town. The essence of the dance is in following the pattern with your set and your line; since there is no required footwork, many people find contra dance easier to learn than other forms of social dancing..  These and others continue to be popular and some offer other dances and activities besides contra dancing. at, listening to new music and exercising aerobically. Before around 1970, contra dancing was found only in New England, and danced primarily to traditional New England style music. Today, contra dance remains popular in the Appalachians. As the sequence repeats, the caller may cut down his or her prompting, and eventually drop out, leaving the dancers to each other and the music. Sadly most music heard at contra dances today lacks the traditional roots and reflects the pop culture. The contredanse was an 18th-century French development of the English country dance (q.v.) Contra dance music is lively and propelling, serving the purpose of driving and energizing dancers as they move up and down a dance floor in simple, called patterns, interacting with a partner, another couple, or another individual along the way. "contra dance music". Admission is Free (Donations to BarnArts welcome at the door) What is a Contra Dance? The fiddle is considered the core instrument, though other stringed instruments can be used, such as the guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin, as well as the piano, accordion, flute, clarinet and more.  However, low heeled, broken-in, soft-soled, non-marking shoes, such as dance shoes, sneakers, or sandals, are recommended and, in some places, required. The Bay Area CDS and other California groups are hosting several events online, both on Facebook Live and Zoom. During this introductory walk-through, participants learn the dance by walking through the steps and formations, following the caller's instructions. This is because the tunings of the five-string banjo are key-specific. Sadly most music heard at contra dances today lacks the traditional roots and reflects the pop culture. Once music starts, the Caller will continue to talk on their microphone and describe each move until the dancers are comfortable with that dance pattern. A count (as used above) is one half of a musical measure, such as one quarter note in 24 time or three eighth notes in 68 time. Greenwood, VA - Contra dance - Second and Fourth Sundays - Facebook About page. What follows is the start of a catalog of contra dance music tune books. As musicians and callers moved to other locations, they founded contra dances in Michigan, Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, and elsewhere. Throughout the course of a dance, couples progress up and down these lines, dancing with each other couple in the line. P.O. 4.8 out of 5 stars 9. Remembering Betty Ann, If you know what you want, click here for Order & Shipping Information, GREAT MEADOW MUSIC  Techno has become especially prevalent in Asheville, NC, but regular techno contra dance series are spreading up the East Coast to locales such as Charlottesville, VA, Washington, D.C., Amherst, MA, Greenfield, MA, and various North Carolina dance communities, with one-time or annual events cropping up in locations farther west, including California, Portland, OR, and Washington state. Beginners are welcome. Notably, contra dance figures (with a few exceptions) do not have defined footwork; within the limits of the music and the comfort of their fellow dancers, individuals move according to their own taste. The guitar, banjo, accordion and fiddle brought people together to dance and socialize. While the same music is generally played in, for example, parts A1 and A2, distinct choreography is followed in those parts. There are four common ways of arranging couples in the minor sets: proper, improper, Becket, and triple formations. Watch this space and our Facebook page for updates. Couples consist of two people, traditionally (but not necessarily) one male (typically referred to by the caller as the gent, lead, man, lark, or left) and one female (typically referred to by the caller as the lady, follow, woman, raven, robin, or right). A fundamental aspect of Contra Dancing is that each dancer interacts with several different people within the span of each song. — cleveland.com, "Brecksville Reservation fall … best contra dance videos for new people to see what it is like :)  The group Larkin founded is still performing, teaching the dances, and holding monthly open house dances in Tunbridge, VT.. 3. , Contra dancing is a social dance that one can attend without a partner. Each week, Indy Contra has different bands and callers making each week an unique dance experience. , Until the 1970s it was traditional to play a single tune for the duration of a contra dance (about 5 to 10 minutes). Generally, a leader, known as a caller, will teach each individual dance just before the music for that dance begins. Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, and Old-time tunes are common, and Klezmer tunes have also been used. However, because the friendly, social nature of the dances can be misinterpreted or even abused, some groups have created anti-harassment policies. Portland contra dance musicians, like contra dance musicians everywhere, play a repertoire of tunes that come from the four corners of this continent and beyond. The Contra Dance Event (cont.) | 2001. The music played includes, but is not limited to, Irish, Scottish, old-time and French-Canadian folk tunes. Contra dance choreography specifies the dance formation, the figures, and the sequence of those figures in a dance. The contra dance tradition in North America is to change partners for every dance, while in the United Kingdom typically people dance with the same partner the entire evening. The old-time repertoire includes very few of the jigs common in the others. Contra dances patterns usually organize the entire room of dancers into smaller groups of four people, or two couples. About Us • What Is Contra Dance? They toured all over North America and are known for their epic dynamics and genre-transcending arrangements. For eighteen years GREAT BEAR set the standard and pushed the boundaries of modern contra dance music. A count may also be called a step, as contra dance is a walking form, and each count of a dance typically matches a single physical step in a figure. This nomenclature stems from the music: Most contra dance tunes (as written) have two parts (A and B), each 8 measures long, and each fitting one part of the dance. Scots tunes, Irish tunes, Scandinavian, French, Balkan and more. CONTRA DANCE MUSIC. A Portland Selection: Contra Dance Music In The Pacific Northwest. At the end of each dance, the dancers thank their partners.
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