About Our Dances

WE OFFER FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF EVENINGS – TRY EACH OF THEM!

  • Contra Dances – These energetic evenings are modeled after traditional barn dances that were the primary social event in American towns for much of the last 300 years. We include a lesson to help you feel more comfortable with the dance figures, we teach every dance, and we feature great live string bands each night.  You and a partner dance with other couples throughout the dance, following a caller’s prompts.  Afterwards, everyone changes partners.
  • Callers Choice Dances – These are contra dances where the calling responsibility is shared by several callers.  While the majority of dances are the same as at our regular contra dance nights, other styles are included periodically.
  • English Country Dances – This is a similar tradition from our British friends, and is one of the primary influences in the evolution of the American Contra dance.  You will experience a wide range of tempos, formations and music styles. Some dances are elegant and sweeping (think Jane Austen), others are energetic and lively (they are country dances). Each month we host one workshop and one full night of English Country Dancing.  The workshops use recorded music and the callers offer helpful tips for the dancers.
  • Waltz Parties –  This is an evening of waltzes and other easy couples dances. Scattered between the waltzes you will be offered polkas, tangos, schottisches and other similar dances.  Don’t be afraid to try them all.  We offer a lesson before each night and you will always find someone eager to help you learn. You can use your waltz skills at our contras and English dances, too!

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AT OUR DANCES?

At our dances, you will:

  1. Feel at ease because all our dances include lessons, are designed to be friendly to new dancers, and welcome dancers of all skill levels.
  2. Meet helpful partners who enjoy dancing with new dancers, who will help you learn the steps easily, and who change partners after every dance
  3. Enjoy quality live music and trained callers and dance leaders.
  4. Recognize many of the same people you meet at any of our dances, people who are here to have fun and are glad to see you return.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC WILL YOU DANCE TO?

St Louis is lucky to have so many fine musicians who enjoy playing for our dances, so you will dance to live music at all of our regular dances. We do dance to recorded music at our pre-dance workshops and at the first Monday English workshop, though occasionally they, too, will have a live band.

At our contra dances, the music is generally old-time traditional Missouri fiddle music, played, typically, by a fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar.  The Callers Choice dances often feature wider variety of regional styles, including New England, Irish, French Canadian as well as old-time string bands. The English dances have music that will remind you of classical music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, even though some of the tunes are modern. The Waltz party band usually has a fiddle or two, a flute, a keyboard and bass, and plays music from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, or modern tunes that sound as if they were written then.

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