Article in the New York Times about contra dancing.
This music could be used in traditional square dancing or contra dancing. It is not quite the right tempo for modern square dancing; however, it is great fiddle music, regardless!
Patt & Possum’s Contra Dance Music – Volume 1
by Charlie Walden & Patt Plunkett
This article is specifically about contra dancing, but the parallels with square dancing are quite obvious.
Tradition, an odd word, seems to refer to a thing of the past; tradition is all around us though, and continues because we continue creating it. Gender-free, techno, and blues-infused contra exists because contra dance is a living, breathing tradition; these new styles and expressions are in response to the evolving needs and interests of the dance community. The way we approach these changes will reflect the community norms of contra dancers as a whole, and of smaller micro-communities throughout the contra dance network. As a community we decide what makes contra dancing itself. We decide how far we can push the tradition before it stops being contra dance. Our own needs and innovations create the tradition, and it creates us.
Read the article here:
May 13, 2014
This video shows contra dancing, but you can see the connections to square dancing. Great music!
Article in the Charlotte Observer (North Carolina) about contra dancing.
It’s part line dance, part square dance and involves lots of swinging, stomping and switching partners. And social graces such as smiling, looking your partner in the eye and helping beginners through awkward moments. As the band plays its fiddles, keyboard and guitars, dancers divide into two lines, facing their partners. Two couples form squares, dance together, switch partners, then move down the line to the next couple. By the end of the night, they’ve danced with just about everyone.
This video is very well-made (unlike a lot of square dance videos out there) and can be used in promoting contra dances. Doesn’t it make you feel like you want to join in?
Description from YouTube:
Video shot by John-Michael Seng-Wheeler and Julian Ashbee during the fourth annual GREAT BEAR GROOVE DANCE WEEKEND, May 31 – June 2, 2013 in Oswego, NY
From the site description:
The Bay Area Country Dance Society promotes, preserves, and teaches traditional English and American music and dance in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Bay Area Country Dance Society
From the site’s description:
Contra dance is a centuries-old New England folk dance tradition. It’s the rowdy red-headed stepchild of English country dance (the kind of dancing you see in Jane Austen movies). Contra dancing is done to live old-timey music in a variety of styles, from lilting Celtic-inspired tunes to rollicking bluegrass. All dances are taught by a caller, who “calls out” instructions throughout the dance.
San Francisco Bay Queer Contra Dance
From the site’s description:
A Contra Dance is also known as an Oldtime Country Dance or a Barn Dance or any number of names that have been given to it over the years in different areas and cultures of the U.S. It has also been around since the 17th century. The dances are called by a caller with a short instruction before each dance. During the evening besides Contra there may also be traditional squares, Irish Ceili, English Country Dances, Polkas and waltzes. Contra Dancers always dance to live music and at our dance the music is provided by the Sonora Contra Dance Players including banjos, fiddles, flutes, penny whistles, guitars, mandolins, autoharps and any other instruments that show up to play Oldtime and Celtic music.
Sonora Contra Dance Site
This is a contra dance, rather than a square dance, but the music is fantastic. Just thought I would share!