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!”

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

Stump House Band with Kenny Greer

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

Dec
31
Fri
NYE Dance (Part 1) – River Falls Lodge
Dec 31 2021 @ 7:30 pm – Jan 1 2022 @ 12:00 am
NYE Dance (Part 1) - River Falls Lodge

The band “Bodacious!” with Deanna Palumbo (Caller)

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

We are working on a great New Year Eve’s Contra dance!

The plan is to have a traditional Contra dance from 8 PM-almost midnight.

At midnight we will do a fun toast and sharing of the joy and love of this wonderful community.

Shortly after toasting, we will kick off the year with a Techno Contra dance; it will last until we can dance no more.

Jan
1
Sat
NYE Dance (Part 2) – River Falls Lodge
Jan 1 @ 12:00 am – 2:00 am
NYE Dance (Part 2) - River Falls Lodge

After the traditional Contra dance and the midnight toast, stick around for a wonderful Techno Contra dance.

Our DJ for the night/morning will be “DJ TacoShel”.

Our caller will be Deanna Palumbo

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
ContraForce with Deanna Palumbo – River Falls Lodge
Jan 15 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
ContraForce with Deanna Palumbo - 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!

The Blue Ridge Rounders – River Falls Lodge
Feb 5 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
The Blue Ridge Rounders - River Falls Lodge

The Blue Ridge Rounders with Laurie Fisher

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

Feb
19
Sat
ContraForce and Kenny Greer – River Falls Lodge
Feb 19 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
ContraForce and Kenny Greer - River Falls Lodge

ContraForce with Kenny Greer

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!

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

Unbalanced with TBA

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

Mar
19
Sat
Big Eyed Rabbit – River Falls Lodge
Mar 19 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Big Eyed Rabbit - River Falls Lodge

Big Eyed Rabbit with Deanna Palumbo

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

Apr
2
Sat
The Blue Ridge Rounders – River Falls Lodge
Apr 2 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
The Blue Ridge Rounders - River Falls Lodge

The Blue Ridge Rounders with Terry Doyle

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

Apr
16
Sat
The Riley’s with Warren Doyle – River Falls Lodge
Apr 16 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
The Riley's with Warren Doyle - River Falls Lodge

Ryn & River Riley with Warren Doyle calling.

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

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

TBA

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

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

TBA with TBA

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

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

TBA with TBA

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

May
28
Sat
Contra – River Falls Lodge
May 28 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Contra - River Falls Lodge

TBA

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

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

TBA with TBA

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

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

TBA with TBA

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

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

TBA

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