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Zesty Contra Weekend

Friday 15 Nov 4pm — Sunday 17 Nov 4pm, 2024

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):

£310 – single ensuite room
£265 – sharing an ensuite room
£265 – single non-ensuite room
£210 – sharing non-ensuite room

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


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


Contra dancing originated in New England as an evolution of the English and European country dances that the early settlers had taken with them to America. It is usually danced in two long lines with your partner opposite, or ‘contrary’, to you. In the 1980s, a more ‘zesty’ form of contra emerged, with the emphasis on high-energy dancing, smooth flowing transitions, and lots of interaction with neighbouring dancers. Contra dancing is still evolving, with new dances continually being written in this style.

Rhodri Davies and Mark Elvins return in 2024 to lead you through some of the best of these contras, new and old! Music will be provided by Mollie Koenigsberger and Ali Messer. With two evening dances, morning workshops, as well as open mic and musicians workshops, this is a “not to be missed” weekend for both new and experienced contra dancers.

You’ll spend most of your time as a whole group, with some opportunity for smaller group work on specific themes and topics. We’ll send you a timetable before the course starts so you know what to expect, but there’s nothing to prepare. Just come and have a great weekend of dancing!

A small number of 8pm ‘Dance Only’ tickets are available for Saturday evening. Available over the phone – 01984 618274 – priced at £12.

Who is it for?

This weekend is aimed at those with at least some experience of social dance, but no previous experience of Contra is necessary. It will feature plenty of new material not covered in recent Zesty Contra weekends so is suitable for dancers who have taken part before. The tutors will be guiding you towards improved  technique, a greater knowledge of key moves and formations, and will help you to explore new dances in an informative and enjoyable way.
If you are a musician, don’t forget to bring your instrument if you’d like to take part in the musicians’ workshops, or to play in the bar after the dancing has finished.

The Team

Dance callers Rhodri Davies and Mark Elvins are two of the very best contra dance callers in England. Their annual double-act of workshops and dances gives them an extended opportunity to work with and to entertain dancers.

Mollie Koenigsberger has been playing for sixty five years and divides her time between playing fiddle for folk dance and viola for chamber and orchestral music.

Ali Messer plays piano and accordion, and when playing for dancing likes Chick Corea’s rule no 11: Play to make the other musicians sound good. Play things that will make the overall music sound good!