Contra Dance Beckenham School
First Saturday of each month     find us on facebook
Next dance 5 November

Dance 7:30 to 10:30 pm (Learners Workshop 7 to 7:30)
Live Music!
No Experience Needed!
No Partners Needed!
All Dances Taught!
Easy and Lots of Fun!
An Alcohol Free Community Oriented Event.
Please bring a supper plate to share.
Bring your own water bottle.
Entry $10 for adults who can afford it, $5 others
(you can get in free by helping see below)

Muscos look at the contra videos, listen to the great music. Get some brackets ready for the next dances.
Musicians play for one dance and get in free!
Call a dance, get in free!

Here is a flyer.

For more information please contact Bill Baritompa.
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 2016

1 October - A big thanks to Clare and Rob did all the calling while Liz and Bill were in Hawaii. Also to Kathryn and Helen who did all the work setting up the hall. Thanks to everyone else who chipped in. We have a great contra community.

3 September - Just over thirty dancers all experienced. Fantastic music by Strawberry Town Hooligans: Emily, fiddle; Paul, guitar; Margo and Richard, mandolins; Geoff, bass and sound; George, lagerphone. Clare and Rob called all the dances in preparation for them running the October dance. Bill and Liz finally had a chance to have a whole night of dancing.

6 August - Thirty two dancers on one of Christchurch's coldest nights plus one cat who just watched. Scotch Measure under the leadership of Alan Burns reformed specially for us. Alan and Clare(keyboards), Jill and George (fiddles); Margo and Richard (mandolin), Helen (drums), George (lagerphone). Geoff was soundman. Clare made her calling debut. Rob did most of the rest of the calling with Bill doing a few. Cat watches United We Dance called by Rob.

2 July - Thirty dancers and another fine open band lead by Margo: Merle, accordion, Claire, whistle, Clare, keyboard, Richard and Margo, mandolins, Paul, guitar George spoons, Jono, sound and snares.

4 June - Many dancers and musicians were away on this Queen's birthday weekend. An enthusiastic group of 17 danced to a selection of recorded music. It gave us a chance to dance to a wide variety of tunes played by some top contra dance bands: Perpetual e-Motion, Elixir, Notorious, Wild Asparagus, Portland Collection, KGB and English Contra Dance Band. Bill called. We got through quite a few dances - well done everyone! (Had to keep warm on the cold winter's night).

7 May - Our second dance in the new venue with 50 dancers and a large open band: Margo (leader and mandolin), Emily (fiddle), Geoff (bass), George (percussion), Jono (bass and drums), Paul (guitar), Richard (mandolin), Sonya (fiddle), Tony (guitar), Xander(fiddle). Geoff on sound as well. Bill called most with Rob assisting. Here are some videos.

2 April - Over 100 dancers at a special combined international folk and contra dance at our old Addington venue. This was part of Folk Dance New Zealand's national dance workshop hosted by Farandol Folkdancers. Australian guest Gary Dawson taught some simple Hungarian dances to the music of fiddle, hurdy gurdy and gardon (Hungarian folk cello) played by Robert and Louise. Fiona called Circassian circle and we did an Israeli dance too. Bill called contras to music played by Heather and Roger. Jono was sound man for the evening. We had a celebration supper half way as it was FDNZ 21st birthday with FDNZ president Fiona Murdoch saying a few words.

5 March - Our first dance in the new venue with 30 dancers and a large open band: Margo, Geoff, George, Heather, Jill, Paul and Roger. Geoff on sound as well.

12-14 February - Waipara Contra Weekend dances were held just north of CHCH. Friday 75 dancers, Saturday 83 dancers and Sunday morning 67. The tour contra callers: Vicki, Jim and Robyn. Plus NZ callers Bill, Rob, Lenny and Aussie caller Coral. The musicians: Glenn, Mark, Arlene, Rob, Jim, Mary, Dick, Betsy, Thomas, Vicki, Michael, Steve. NZ musicians Sonya and Peter, Elena from Auckland, Mike from Wellington, Paul, Margo, Jill, Alan, Helen, George from CHCH. There were lots of happy dancers. Here is a Scottish bracket played for Waves Tossed in Dublin Bay listen

Contra Dance in New Zealand

Besides Christchurch, there are regular dances in Dunedin, Wellington, Auckland and Nelson. The inspiration for all these came orginally from Ron and Cathy Arp's touring contra groups from the USA. 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.