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 7:00 PM.
Dancing 7:30 – 10:30 PM.

General Admission $8 per person
$6 for students with ID
Family Admission $18
Children 12 & under FREE
Newcomers receive a coupon
to come back for FREE

2015–2016 Schedule

Date Band Caller

September 12 JumpStart with Catherine Miller Dave Eisenstadter
October 10 Contra Banditos Don Veino
November 14 The French Connection Tod Whittemore
January 9 Berlin Country Orchestra Tim Van Egmond
Annual potluck at 6:00 — bring a dish to share!
February 13 Worcester Folk Orchestra Bill Fischer
March 12 The Cicadas Paul Wilde
April 9 Dead Sea Squirrels Dan Pearl
May 14 Concepdance Dereck Kalish
June 11 Smoke & Mirrors Zoë Madonna

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 merry May

Could we have asked for a more rocking spring? Our May contra featured three musicians making their Worcester debut: Jim Fownes, Julia Plumb, and Ness Smith-Savedoff, aka the Rock Ness Monster. This particular configuration had never played together before, but you'd never know it from the amazing music they put out! Their music was all the livelier with the sound system provided by Dereck Kalish, a familiar caller on the Boston dance scene who was also making his Worcester debut.

Our thanks to everyone who made this month so merry. Join us in June for the last dance of the season before we take the summer off!


An auspicious April

The snow has melted, the dance floor was swept clean, and the dancers were out in force! Caller Don Heinold, who made his Worcester debut a year ago this month, was reunited with The French Connection for a wonderful evening of dances. Don's dances were welcoming to newcomers while slowly ramping up the difficulty — and fun! By the end of the night, we were all better dancers for the joy we'd shared.

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


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!