Contra Dance at Opawa School Hall
First Saturday of each month     find us on facebook
Next dance 2 March 2019

Dance 7:15 to 9:15 pm
Live Music with Roger and Clare!
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.
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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 2018

1 Dec - 37 dancing to 3/4 Bush Telegraph - Heather, Sue and John. Bill and Paul called and John on sound. At half time Peter Morgan recited a funny bush poem about shearing up Blenheim way. A great dance to end the year. Special thanks all who helped this year: Liz for help setting up and paying the bands, Roger for organizing all the music, Paul for calling, Claire, Heather, John, Sue, Tess, Jonathan, Francis, Becky for playing, Jono and Nathan for sound, and Peter for his poem.

3 Nov - 24 dancing to Bush Telegraph - Claire, Heather, Sue and John. Bill called and John on sound. Did 10 dances including "The Balanced Diet" by Sue Rosen, one of the first contras using petronellas in an oval.

13 Oct - 42 dancing to Folkworks: Roger, Claire and Heather. Bill and Paul called. This dance was one week later because Liz and I were in Japan. We did lots of square dancing and visited our family there. However my knee packed it in! So only called at this dance. We danced a grid contra for 32 experienced (and some beginners too). Rather than progressing only up and down the lines, dancers moved sideways (transgressing) as well giving some interesting paths to follow. A video of the grid contra Petronella Fancy. Paul calling Hey Fever and Flirtation Reel.

1 Sept - 22 dancing to Jonathan and Tess with Nathan on sound. Bill and Paul called. Tess (just back from her OE) had arranged a new series of brackets that went over very well. We finished off the first half with a more advanced dance for our regular experienced dancers: Fairport Harbour by Paul Balliet. It was a bit of a challenge but came right in the end!

4 August - 32 dancing to Bush Telegraph (Claire, Heather, John and Sue) with Nathan on sound. Bill and Paul called. Lots of teens returning and many regulars. A quick WOT by request. The last dance Heritage Reel done to Katusha was really exciting.

7 July - 45 dancing to Claire and Jonathan with Nathan on sound. Lots of teens from Waipara, beginners returning and many regulars. A good evening. Bill got it going in the first half, Paul took the second and did a good job.

2 June - 53 dancing to Jonathan and Tess with Nathan on sound. We had a large turnout of new dancers. Paul made his return debut.

5 May - 50 dancing to Jonathan and Tess. We had a large turnout from UC students on the exchange program from Oberlin College in the US. Paul is back and keen to start callng some again.

7 April - 18 dancing to Folkworks with Roger on flute, Claire and Tess on fiddles, Jonathan on mandolin, Heather on accordion, Francis on tenor violin, Becky on harp. Nathan on sound and Bill calling. Videos

3 March - 24 dancing to Bush Telegraph: Heather, Claire, Sue and John. Jono on sound. Bill called a few learned from the US tour and some old favorites.

16 February - The Allemande Joy Contra Tour came with their fantastic band, callers and dancers. We had over 70 dancing! The tour's transport bus was late in pcking them up, so we started with recorded music and tried to get in touch by cell phone to offer and convoy to pick them all up. Bill called few more dances with recorded music while sound men Jono and Nathan got the band hooked up. Bill finally got the chance to call to the band for a few, then Allemenade Joy callers Donna, Mike, Ed, Tina and Chis took over. Half way thru Nor'west Arch Morros put on an energetic demoe for us. More dancing till just after 10. Quick tea, coffee and supper and farewells as AJ had to be on the road by 10:30. A quick Waves of Tory for the young ones left. Musicians: Arlene, Aubrey, Betsy, Glen, Rob, Robin, Tom, Donna, Nora, Jono and George. A big thanks to Julie and all of Allemande Joy for our biennial contra boost! Videos

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.