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?
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!