Summer Recess
Starting back 7 March 2020

Contra Dance at Opawa School Hall
First Saturday of each month    

Dance 7:15 to 9:15 pm
Live Music!
Bill Calling!
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 in 2019

2 November - dance was cancelled at short notice as Bill had a kidney stone! We missed out on hearing Roger's Folkworks and look forward to their return next year. Thank you to Roger for playing and organising the music this year; to these fine musicians: Becky, Claire, Clare, Heather, John, Jonathan, Sue and Tess; to Rob for his occasional calling; and to Liz for all her help. Looking forward to dancing with you next year with my new knee!

5 October - 20 dancing to a selection of recorded tunes by top contra dance bands. Bill and Rob called. My 5 year old granddaughter Iris came for the first half. She's getting to be a pretty good dancer.

7 September - 24 dancing - Bush Telegraph (Claire, Heather, John and Sue) played a great selection of tunes. John supplied his new light weight sound gear. We three new dancers and a big thank you to our experienced dancers who helped them. Bill and Rob called. We danced Beneficial Tradition by Dan Pearl.

3 August - 42 dancing - Nice to see some old faces returning. Quite a few new dancers as well. Great music by Claire (fiddle) and Clare (keyboards). Claire stepped in at the last moment as Roger was not well. Bill called. Danced Dead Cat Bounce again with the ricochet hey.

6 July - 24 dancing - Great music by Jostled Nanny Pasta Ha (aka Jonathan and Tess). Bill called. Rob is back in CHCH for awhile and called A Wee Flutter for us. We danced Dead Cat Bounce with a ricochet hey, a great new move and all got it in the end. Tess was able to do rolling starts for a few of the dances.

1 June - 22 dancing - A big thanks to those who braved the cold rainy weather. Great music by Jalpeno Shanty Stand (aka Jonathan and Tess). Bill called. Phoebe's last time on sound - a big thanks to her for doing the sound for the last year and a half.

4 May - 36 dancing - Nice to see lots of familiar faces! Bush Telegraph with Claire, Heather, John and Sue. Phoebe on sound and Bill called.

6 April - 44 dancing - Nice to see lots of familiar faces! Folkworks with Roger, Becky, Claire and Heather played, Phoebe on sound and Bill called.

2 March - 47 dancing for a great start to the year! Roger and Clare played, Phoebe on sound and Bill called.

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.