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
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Jan 25 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

COUNTERCURRENT (Brian Lindsay, Alex Sturbaum) with JENNIE WAKEFIELD

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

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

Nic Coker, Haakon Oyen, Art Shuster with DIANE SILVER

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

Feb
8
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Feb 8 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

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

Contra – River Falls Lodge
Feb 8 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

HOT COFFEE BREAKDOWN (Tom Cunningham, Luis DeLeon, Kate Sanders) with DOUG SINGLETON

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

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

BIG EYED RABBIT (Marion Boatwright, Briggs Hamilton, Barb Massey, Don Massey) with JACK MITCHELL

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

Feb
28
Fri
City Dance
Feb 28 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
City Dance

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

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

TBA with TBA

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

Mar
14
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Mar 14 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

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

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

TBA with TBA

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

Mar
27
Fri
City Dance
Mar 27 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
City Dance

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

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

THE McKENZIES (Marcia and Woody McKenzie) with KEN GALL

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

Apr
18
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Apr 18 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

DEAD SEA SQUIRRELS Cathy Mason, Craig Edwards, Henry Yoshimura) with BETH MOLARO

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

Apr
24
Fri
City Dance
Apr 24 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
City Dance

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

May
2
Sat
WALTZ WORKSHOP!
May 2 @ 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
WALTZ WORKSHOP!

Come for a waltz workshop with Rich Albanese ahead of the evening’s contra dance! Suggested donation for workshop $5. See more info about Rich’s workshops at  http://www.waltzworkshop.com/ragigs.php 

Potluck between workshop and dance – bring a dish to share.

Contra – River Falls Lodge
May 2 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

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

May
9
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
May 9 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

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

May
16
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
May 16 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

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

May
22
Fri
City Dance
May 22 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
City Dance

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

Jun
6
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Jun 6 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

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

Jun
13
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
Jun 13 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA with TBA

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