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!”

Jul
17
Sat
Dancing Bears with Barbara Groh calling @ River Falls Lodge Marietta SC 29661
Jul 17 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Dancing Bears with Barbara Groh calling @ River Falls Lodge Marietta SC 29661

Dancing Bears with Barbara Groh calling

Aug
7
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Aug 7 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

The Glorious Band/Laurie Fisher Contra – River Falls Lodge
Aug 7 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
The Glorious Band/Laurie Fisher Contra - River Falls Lodge

The Glorious Band/Laurie fisher with Terry Doyle calling. Maybe Alan with sound.

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Aug
21
Sat
Blueridge Rounders – River Falls Lodge
Aug 21 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Blueridge Rounders - River Falls Lodge

Blueridge Rounders with Deanna Palumbo calling. Maybe Alan with sound.

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Contra – River Falls Lodge
Aug 21 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Sep
4
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Sep 4 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Contra Force Contra – River Falls Lodge
Sep 4 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra Force Contra - River Falls Lodge

Contra Force with Doug Singleton calling

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Sep
18
Sat
Boom Chuck/Laurie Fisher Contra – River Falls Lodge
Sep 18 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Boom Chuck/Laurie Fisher Contra - River Falls Lodge

Boom Chuck/Laurie Fisher Band with Rebecca Vickers

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Oct
16
Sat
Crooked Pine Contra – River Falls Lodge
Oct 16 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Crooked Pine Contra - River Falls Lodge

Crooked Pine with Doug Singleton calling

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Nov
6
Sat
Windmill/Laurie Fisher Band Contra – River Falls Lodge
Nov 6 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Windmill/Laurie Fisher Band Contra - River Falls Lodge

Windmill/Laurie Fisher Band with Doug Singleton

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Nov
20
Sat
Blue Ridge Rounders Contra – River Falls Lodge
Nov 20 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Blue Ridge Rounders Contra - River Falls Lodge

Blue Ridge Rounders with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Dec
4
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Dec 4 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Contra force Contra – River Falls Lodge
Dec 4 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra force Contra - River Falls Lodge

Contra Force with Charlotte Crittenden calling

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Dec
18
Sat
Stump House band Contra – River Falls Lodge
Dec 18 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Stump House band Contra - River Falls Lodge

Stump House Band with Rebecca Vickers

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Jan
1
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Jan 1 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Jan
15
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Jan 15 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Feb
5
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Feb 5 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Feb
19
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Feb 19 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Mar
5
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Mar 5 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!

Mar
19
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Mar 19 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

Instruction period 7:30-8:00, beginners welcome!