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Special Notices

Starting February 5, 2018, the Allemande Joy contra tour from the USA will be traveling around NZ.

Dance with US Contra Tour
Friday 16 February 2018 7-10:30     find us on facebook
Note Venue: Beckenham School Hall

The Allemand Joy Contra Tour will put on this dance for us. A great chance to meet very experienced dancers. Directions to the venue are here.

Contra Dance Opawa School
First Saturday of each month     find us on facebook
Next Regular dance 3 March 2018

Dance 7:15 to 9:15 pm
Live Music
No Experience Needed!
No Partners Needed!
All Dances Taught!
Easy and Lots of Fun!
An Alcohol Free Community Oriented Event.
Bring your own water bottle.
Bickies available during dance.
Entry $10 for adults who can afford it, $5 others

Here is a flyer.

For more information please contact Bill.
To get email notices sign up here.

Every Thursday - Dances at our house

An outlet for those who have caught the contra bug.
A means to support up and coming musicians.
Details here.

Contra Dances So Far in 2017

2 December - 32 dancing! A super hot day. After helping extricate a car stuck in the parking lot, we got underway! Special Xmas tunes by Roger, Clare and Jono. Also the international debut of "Baritompa Hoedown" written by Roger for me.

4 November - 50 dancing! Another great turnout. Music by Roger, Heather, Tess and Becky with Geoff on sound.

7 October - 75 dancing! A great turnout - nice to see so many dancers returning. Great support from the Waipara area and lots of new dancers from varsity. Pheobe brought lots of her dancing friends to help celebrate her 20th birthday. Roger, Tess, Jono and George did a fantastic job with the music. Thank you Kath for helping. Bill called. Video Playlist

2 September - 18 dancing! Tess, Jonathan, George and Jono did a fantastic job with the music. Bill called.

5 August - 44 dancing! Nice to see lots of the younger crowd coming again. We brought everyone up to speed with a selection of contra dances and especially for the young dancers did Waves of Tory in the break. However I forgot to pass out the bikkies - remind me next time. Roger (flute and viol) with Clare (piano), Matthew (mandoline, guitar and bohdran), George (largerphone) and Jono (snares and sound) did a fantastic job with the music. Bill called.

1 July - Lots away (Rugby, Competing dances, and Uke party!) but still 19 Dancers. Hopefully as the days get longer attendance will grow :-) Roger (flute and viol) with Folkworks: Heather (accordion), Tess (fiddle), Becky (harp) and Jono (snares and sound) did a fantastic job as usually. We danced to a tango for one bracket. Bill called.

3 June - First dance in our new hall. 19 Dancers was a good turnout for a Queen's birthday weekend. The shorter format worked out well, we danced with few breaks. Roger (flute and viol), Clare (keyboard) and Jono (snares and sound) provided an interesting variety of tunes and good balance of melody and rythmn. Bill called. Here a videos of two of the dances: Heartbeat Contra and Walking Down the Street.

6 May - No regular dance as we had no hall. However we took the opportunity to have a special dance at our house to do Dutch Crossing, Money Musk and a few other challenging dances. Jonathan and Tess played for us.

1 April - 22 Dancers with some regulars coming back. Small turnout but good dancing with music provided by Jonathan - guitar, Tess - fiddle and mandolin, Jono on snares and sound, George spoons. Bill called.

4 March - Folkworks started the year for us with thirty dancers coming. Roger - flute, whistle, viol, Jonathan - guitar, Tess - fiddle and mandolin. Jono on sound. Bill and Rob called. It was encouraging to have a large number of new dancers. However very disappointing that experienced dancers are not coming.

Contra Dance in New Zealand

Besides Christchurch, there are regular dances in Dunedin, Wellington, Auckland and Nelson. Contra dancing began in Dunedin in 1996, the dances in the other citys began after meeting Ron and Cathy Arp's touring contra groups from the USA which started in 2002. Bill and Liz traveled with them in February 2008. Six dances in 10 days! Bill learned a lot and was keen to share the new dances with you.

A Short Description of Contra dancing (some videos here)

Check out the Chattahoochee Country Dancers web page for a detailed description and some instructional videos links.

The video The Contra Dance by Doug Plummer shows the joy and excitement you will experience at this type of dance.

The following is extracted from a web article: "What is Contra Dance?" by Gary Shapiro.

A caller, usually working with a group of live musicians, guides new and experienced alike through a variety of dances.

A dancer and his or her partner dance a series of figures, or moves, with each other and with another couple for a short time. They then repeat the same figures with another couple, and so on. The figures are similar to those in a barn dance. The figures are combined in different ways for each different dance.

The caller teaches each dance before it is actually done to the music. This gives everyone an idea of what to expect so the movements can be easily executed. The caller leads the dances while they are being done to music, so dancers are able to perform each movement to the music. Once the dancers appear to have mastered a particular dance, the caller may stop calling, leaving the dancers to enjoy the movement with music alone.