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 Riverbend & Friends Dave Eisenstadter
March 14 Firefly David Kaynor
April 11 TBD TBD
May 9 TBD TBD
June 13 Einstein's Little Homonculus TBD

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 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!


An outrageous October

Our second dance of the season was a rousing success! A huge turnout, including college students new to the area looking for something to do, made for a fun an energetic October contra dance.

For many, the on-stage talent was the draw. Quena Crain from Brattleboro was calling, keeping everyone moving and taking breaks only to waltz. You'll find her calling next on October 19 at the Peterborough Fall Ball.

Providing the tunes for the Worcester dance was the always-energetic Free Raisins, a dynamic trio from Boston consisting of Audrey Knuth on fiddle, Amy Englesberg on piano, and Jeff Kaufman on mandolin, and trumpet. Their CD album sold well at intermission, though it's not too late for you to get yours!

Enjoy these photos from the evening, a selection of which has also been uploaded to Facebook.


April photos with Quena Crain & Free Raisins

Our thanks to everyone who came out on a cool April night to enjoy some fine contra dancing in Worcester! The turnout, the music, and the dances were all fantastic, thanks in no small part to talent that consisted of Quena Crain calling for the Free Raisins, with Mari Black filling in for Audrey Knuth. What a masterful and motley crew!

A roving photographer snapped these shots of everyone having a grand time. Feel free to tag yourself in the Facebook album!

And here is a video, courtesy Ken Bennett of Northboro:

Be sure to sign up for our email list and join our Facebook group. We're soliciting volunteers to doorsit at our future dances in exchange for free admission, so watch for those opportunities for our May 11 and June 8 dances!


An amazing October

Thanks to everyone who made our latest dance a success! With calling by Rachel Shapiro and music by Cedar Stanistreet, Max Newman, and Julie Metcalf of Agnostic Fiddle Insurgency, Worcester's October contra dance was great fun for all those who attended, with several first-timers joining our ranks. Perhaps because nearby WPI was on their fall break, the crowd wasn't quite as big as usual, but everyone who showed up had a good time, with many staying until the end and helping to clean up — many hands make for light work!

We'll see you next on November 10!