Worcester Contra Dance

Fun, friendly dancing in Central Massachusetts

New Dancers Welcome!
All dances taught. No partner necessary. Contra dancing is an old New England tradition. Smoke-free, alcohol-free, family friendly environment. Wesley Methodist Church, 114 Main Street, Worcester. Please wear soft-soled shoes to protect the floor.
Beginners' Lessons at 7:30 PM.
Dancing 8:00 - 11:00 PM.

General Admission $8 per person
$6 for students with ID
Family Admission $18
Children 12 & under FREE

2014–2015 Schedule:
Date Band Caller

September 13 Julie Metcalf, Cedar Stanistreet, Jon Cannon Quena Crain
October 11 JumpStart with Catherine Miller Jeff Kaufman
November 1 The Cicadas David Kaynor
January 10 Berlin Country Orchestra Tim Van Egmond
Annual potluck at 6:30 — bring a dish to share!
February 14 Worcester Folk Orchestra Bill Fischer
Cancelled due to snow
March 14 Cardinal Direction David Kaynor
April 11 The French Connection Don Heinold
May 9 Jim Fownes, Julia Plumb & Ness Smith-Savedoff Dereck Kalish
June 13 Einstein's Little Homunculus Elwood Donnelly

The Worcester Contra Dance usually takes place on the second Saturday of every month from September through June. There are exceptions for holidays and other events, so remember to check the schedule! For the full schedule and directions in PDF format (good for printing and hanging on the refrigerator) click here.

A majestic March

After the unfortunate cancellation of our Valentine's Day dance due to this winter's relentless snow, we were thrilled to be back on the dance floor. The music of Cardinal Direction (formerly known as Firefly) was complemented by the calling of David Kaynor, rousing everyone from their seasonal doldrums with some fantastic music and dances. We briefly put our feet on pause at 9:26 PM to celebrate a once-in-a-century Pi Day, followed by an intermission that featured key lime π.

Thank you to everyone who came out! We'll see you again in April. To receive a reminder, sign up for our email list or join our Facebook group!

A jolly January

Our thanks to the Berlin Country Orchestra and Tim Van Egmond for such a wonderful start to 2015! Their music and calling introduced scores of newcomers and veterans alike to the joy of contra dancing. It was especially fun to discover that we had too many dancers for one set and watched them break off to form a second set mid-dance!

We continued our annual tradition of a potluck dinner before the dance, with plenty of friendly faces and fantastic food. Lasagna, stew, salad, fruit, bread, and more ensured that every appetite and diet was accommodated.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the evening. We look forward to seeing you at our next dance on Valentine's Day!

A nonpareil November

Hot on the heels of Halloween was a trick from the Worcester contra dance: our November dance was held the first Saturday! We swapped from our usual second Saturday slot for this month only due to the availability of the hall. Our thanks to the Berlin County Orchestra who traded dates with us; anyone looking for their usual second Saturday dance fix are encouraged to visit the Berlin contra dance.

Also special about our November dance was the Worcester debut of the Cicadas, featuring Bill Shevin (guitar), Ed Dale (bass), Rachel Panitch (fiddle), Jennifer Cooke (flute), and Tim St. Jean (mandolin). Their sound was full of and strong danceable rhythm. Joining them was David Kaynor as both caller and fiddler; together, the performers made for a great evening.

Please enjoy the below photos from our dance. There's no dance in December, so we'll see you in January for our annual potluck!

A jubilant June

Thank you to all who came to the closing dance of Worcester's season! Just as they did in 2011, Einstein's Little Homunculus sent us off in grand fashion. (More contra bands need drums!) Dan Pearl's calling was flawless as always, accommodating newcomers and veterans alike in line dances, circle mixers, and no squares whatsoever.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next dance on September 13! In the meantime, please check out the below photos from our June dance; take our biennial survey; enjoy the Summer Contra Dance Series in Rutland, starting June 27!

A magnificent March

Thank you to everyone who came to our March dance! With many of the local colleges on spring break, students were eager to release the stress from recent midterms and finals by hitting the dance floor. The music of Agnostic Fiddle Insurgency was paired with calling by Don Heinold, marking his Worcester debut. The two fit like hand in glove, knowing just when to kick it up a notch to keep the dancers moving.

The half-time break featured an assortment of treats, including grapes, Girl Scout cookies, Crown Bakery goodies, and "blondie Snickerdoodles". Thank you to those who contributed to this banquet!

Enjoy these photos:

And this video from Ken Bennett of the Northboro contra dance!

Have a good spring break, everyone, and see you on April 12 for our next dance. Want to receive an email reminder? Join our email list!

A fabulous February

Cold and snow could not keep dancers away from the Worcester contra dance, held last night at the Wesley Methodist church. Seven dozen pairs of feet pounded the dance floor, keeping our hearts warm and our faces smiling. Marguerite Durant braved the long, dark road from the Pioneer Valley to call for us, while the music of Anadama totally rocked the hall, with Emily Troll on accordion, Amelia Mason on fiddle, and Bethany Waickman on guitar. How so much music can come from so few people is a constant wonder of contra.

The hall was decorated with paper hearts in celebration of this week's Valentine's Day — but the great thing about contra is that you can dance with other people's Valentines, too. We hope everyone had fun dancing with friends new and old!

A joyous January

Our first contra dance of 2014 has come and gone, and boy, was everyone ready to get moving again! Unseasonably warm weather and rains had melted the remains of a recent nor'easter, and with school back in session, students were eager to break out of their previously snowbound dorms and homes and hit the dance floor.

The evening began with our annual potluck, and what a cornucopia of treats were present. From Swedish meatballs to vegan stew, Irish soda bread and pumpkin brownies, pineapple and grapes and carrots, there was enough to serve everyone twice over.

Before long, it was time for the main attraction. Tim van Egmond made us earn those calories as he called to the music of Berlin Country Orchestra. There were enough dancers to break into three lines! There's obviously an appetite for family-friendly social dancing in Central Massachusetts, and with nearby dances in Northboro, Berlin, and Gardner, there are plenty of opportunities to keep dancing throughout the winter. Please sign up for our mailing list or join us on Facebook to receive invitations to future dances — our next one is on February 8 to the music of Anadama and the calling of Marguerite Durant!