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Contra Camp 2025

Friday 9 May 4pm — Sunday 11 May 4pm, 2025

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

£390 – single occupancy ensuite room/cabin
£350 – sharing an ensuite room/cabin
£350 – single occupancy non-ensuite room
£300 – sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):


Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):


We’re delighted to be welcoming back 2024’s crack team for the 2025 Halsway Manor Contra Camp! This weekend is part of *The Halsway Contra Festival* – and is followed by American Spring Contra!

Join callers Louise Siddons and Heather McAslan, and band WillPower (Will Allen and Will Chamberlain) for an intensive weekend of contra dancing. Expect high energy and plenty of action on this workshop-packed weekend, complete with late-night ceilidhs and sessions.

The team will be using gender-free calling to guide you through the dances, with morning workshops available for ‘DIY’ sessions – bring a dance you’d like to work on. To give you an idea of what you might expect on our Contra Camp, the team have put together a draft timetable:

8pm – Dance
10pm – Ceilidh
Midnight onwards – Bar session

9.15am – Breakfast
10.15am – DIY workshop
11.30am to 6.15pm – Workshops
8pm – Dance
10pm – Contra Games / Session in the bar

9.15am – Breakfast
10.15am – DIY workshop
11.15am to 1pm – Workshops
2pm – Survivors’ dance!

Who is it for?

As you’ll see from the schedule, this will be an high-intensity course – dancers of all levels of experience are welcome, but to get the most out of the weekend, you’ll probably need to be fairly fit. There will be plenty to challenge and entertain experienced contra dancers, while newcomers to contra will also be supported and included in the party. Dancers will also be welcome to dance any role they choose, regardless of gender.

We’re keen to make this course accessible for younger dancers and are pleased to offer a special rate for those aged 35 and under for our Contra Camp. Let us know at the time of booking if you fall into this category.

The Team

Louise Siddons grew up surrounded by folk music and song in the United States. She now resides in the UK and is well known on both sides of the Atlantic as a contra, English country dance, and ceilidh caller. Louise enjoys finding the right balance of dances for each event, creating a fun and welcoming atmosphere with a low-key and light-hearted stage presence. She is an enthusiastic committee member for the Friends of English Dance and the Folk Association of South Hampshire. Her investment in the evolution and sustainability of folk traditions and their ongoing relevance to contemporary culture led her to become the inaugural recipient (2016) of the Country Dance and Song Society’s Mary Judson/Brad Foster Award for English Dance Teachers and a 2021 recipient of a diversity grant from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), which supported her gender-free teaching and calling.

Heather McAslan grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, and learned piano and social folk dance from a young age. This instilled a love of traditional music and dance which she has pursued in dance bands up and down the country, playing mandolin, piano and calling. Heather is known for her engaging and dynamic calling style and her creative piano playing, which never fails to get first-time dancers and seasoned festival-goers on the floor. She is a caller of ceilidh, contra and balfolk dancing and is devoted to creating an environment in which all participants feel comfortable to join in, and is a strong proponent of gender neutral dance calling. She is a co-founder and organiser of Brighton Ceilidh Collective’s Rant series and a Director of the Acadia Festival of Traditional Music and Dance.

WillPower‘s contra music sees the Québécois/old time slant of Will Allen’s fiddle playing combine with the powerhouse of Will Chamberlain’s piano playing. From smooth hypnotic old-time tunes to stomping Quebecois reels, their sets also include lots of self-penned tunes from Will Allen.