Contra Dances

Asheville has a rich contra dance scene.  Within an 80 minute drive there are contra dances at 6 locations with dancing available about 160 days per year!  And over one hundred are available within minutes of Asheville!

Contra dancing is a community dance.  You dance with a partner, but dance partners change after each dance so one can come alone and find a partner!  Learning it is easy- a 30 minute lesson gets you started.   No fancy foot work- just walking!  You and a partner dance with other pairs of dancers, moving in time to the music, and magically find yourselves dancing with the next neighbor pair to do it again and again. It’s a concert where you don’t have to sit still, and it often feels like you are dancing with everyone in the room.  It is a safe, inclusive, and fun environment that results in a sore jaw from so much smiling!

Contra dancing draws from the style of dancing you have seen in the films Pride and Prejudice and Glory, has similarities to square dancing, often incorporates some swing dance moves, is danced to high energy live fiddle music, and has a bit of counter-culture feel to it.  Dancers range in age from 5 to 85, and often there are 200 of them on the dance floor!

Where can you find contra dancing? The oldest Asheville contra dance is sponsored by us, and is held every Thursday on the Warren Wilson campus about 9 miles from Asheville.  There is a dance in downtown Asheville almost every Monday evening at the Center for Art and Spirit at St George’s in Malvern Hills just off Patton Avenue, sponsored by another group.

Regular contra dances are held nearby in Jonesborough, TN and River Falls, SC.  Carpools to these dances make great opportunities to meet friends!

A special contra dance weekend, Splash Dance, is sponsored by the OFB.  It gives budding callers and musicians an opportunity to hone their skills while being mentored by some of Asheville’s great musicians and callers.

Links to local and regional contra dances above.

Here are some quotes from folks who are contra dancers, thinking back to their first experience with contra dancing.

  • “I can do that! They are just walking!”
  • “Contra Dance…was love at first dance.”
  • Smiles and holding hands, twirling to the music, dancing up and down a line of friendly folks!
  • “Even a wallflower with two left feet (like me) can do it!
  • “Me, dancing? Me, dancing!!!!!”
  • “I smiled so much my cheeks hurt.”
  • I’d never danced, period. I went to hear the band! I parked myself against the wall to watch, and quickly got dragged onto the floor.  The rest is history!”

Jan
25
Thu
Dancing Bears with calling by Barbara Groh
Jan 25 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Dancing Bears with calling by Barbara Groh

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Jan
28
Sun
Annual OFB Membership Meeting and Dance with Music by TBD and calling by Barbara Groh
Jan 28 all-day
Annual OFB Membership Meeting and Dance with Music by TBD and calling by Barbara Groh

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Feb
1
Thu
Sugar High with calling by David Winston
Feb 1 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sugar High with calling by David Winston

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Feb
8
Thu
Good & Plenty with calling by Diane Silver
Feb 8 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Good & Plenty with calling by Diane Silver

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Feb
11
Sun
Family Dance @ Harvest House
Feb 11 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Family Dance @ Harvest House | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Especially for children of all ages

Roots Contra @ Harvest House
Feb 11 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Roots Contra @ Harvest House | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Come join us for an evening of dance

Feb
15
Thu
Open Band (led by Laura Light) with calling by Tom and Myra Hirschberg
Feb 15 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Open Band (led by Laura Light) with calling by Tom and Myra Hirschberg

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Feb
22
Thu
Flying the Tune with calling by AnneMarie Walter
Feb 22 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Flying the Tune with calling by AnneMarie Walter

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Mar
1
Thu
Gretchen Caverly and George Paul with calling by Terry Doyle
Mar 1 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Gretchen Caverly and George Paul with calling by Terry Doyle

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Mar
8
Thu
Contra Ceili (Laurie Fisher, Chelsea Henley, Zach Brown and Marcos Harkness) with calling by Tamara McGovern
Mar 8 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra Ceili (Laurie Fisher, Chelsea Henley, Zach Brown and Marcos Harkness) with calling by Tamara McGovern

This event has a Google Hangouts video call.
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Mar
11
Sun
Family Dance @ Harvest House
Mar 11 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Family Dance @ Harvest House | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Especially for children of all ages

Roots Contra @ Harvest House
Mar 11 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Roots Contra @ Harvest House | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Come join us for an evening of dance

Mar
15
Thu
The Organic Family Band
Mar 15 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
The Organic Family Band

This event has a Google Hangouts video call.
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Mar
22
Thu
Wild Rumpus with calling by Diane Silver
Mar 22 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Wild Rumpus with calling by Diane Silver

This event has a Google Hangouts video call.
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Mar
29
Thu
Noah VanNorstrand, Gretchen Caverly, and Nic Coker with calling by Beth Molaro
Mar 29 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Noah VanNorstrand, Gretchen Caverly, and Nic Coker with calling by Beth Molaro

This event has a Google Hangouts video call.
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Apr
5
Thu
Contrapositive with calling by Alexandra Deis-Lauby
Apr 5 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Contrapositive with calling by Alexandra Deis-Lauby

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Apr
8
Sun
Family Dance @ Harvest House
Apr 8 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Family Dance @ Harvest House | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Especially for children of all ages

Roots Contra @ Harvest House
Apr 8 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Roots Contra @ Harvest House | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Come join us for an evening of dance

Apr
12
Thu
Dead Sea Squirrels
Apr 12 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Dead Sea Squirrels

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Apr
19
Thu
Continental Drift (Eileen Kalfass and Eric Anderson) with calling by Beth Molaro
Apr 19 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Continental Drift (Eileen Kalfass and Eric Anderson) with calling by Beth Molaro

This event has a Google Hangouts video call.
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