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 $8–12
$6–8 for students with ID
Family Admission $18–20
Children 12 & under FREE
Newcomers receive a coupon
to come back for FREE

2017–2018 Schedule

Date Band Caller
September 9, 2017 JumpStart Paul Wilde
October 14, 2017 The Cicadas Don Veino
November 11, 2017 Anadama Dereck Kalish
December 9, 2017 Smoke and Mirrors Don Heinold
January 13, 2018 Berlin Country Orchestra

Annual potluck at 6:00 — bring a dish to share!

Tim Van Egmond
February 10, 2018 Worcester Folk Orchestra Bill Fischer
March 10, 2018 Reelation Don Veino
April 14, 2018 einstein's little homunculus Dugan Murphy
May 12, 2018 Julie Metcalf with Mark David Buckles Dereck Kalish
June 9, 2018 Accentricity Linda Leslie

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! Here is the full schedule and directions in PDF format (good for printing and hanging on the refrigerator).

Remembering Linda Leslie

Linda Leslie

Linda LeslieIt is with heavy hearts that we let the Worcester contra dance community know of the passing of caller Linda Leslie on February 11, 2018.

Linda has called the Worcester dance many times in the past decade and was scheduled to call again this June. We wish with all our might that we could see her again on our dance floor.

The family has shared a tribute on Facebook, and we are forwarding the below email from Chris Ricciotti.

It is with great sadness that I am passing on the news that Linda Leslie passed away Sunday evening. She called on Thursday night at the Concord Scout House, Friday evening at the Rehoboth Contra Dance, and then again on Saturday evening at our own contra dance in Jamaica Plain. She called an amazing dance program for all of us those evenings!

Linda had been having difficulty breathing during the past week or so, particularly after walking, and this became increasing worse over the past few evenings. On Sunday evening, she was taken by ambulance to her local Emergency Room and she passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Her husband Bob Golder has requested that Linda's passing NOT be posted on Facebook. Email and word of mouth is fine, but he prefers this not to become a Facebook event.

As a caller, she took the love and the joy she experienced as a dancer, and transformed the dance community every where she went, touching us all with her lovely soft spoken presence that would make you feel embraced with that love she had when she danced. To many of us, she was like our dancing "mom" or "grandmom", always a warm smile, always ready with humor, always looking out to make sure everyone was having a good time, and feeling safe within the room.

In our community, she was a bridge builder, and a role model of what good dancing and community building are all about. She was also a HUGE advocate of gender-free dancing. She was one of the key people who helped us connect with and be an accepted part of the greater community of dancers, and encouraged us to share our love of dancing with others as a way to help build those connections.

She was also a part of helping us to build the strong relationship we have with NEFFA, being a support to our fundraising food booth, being present at meetings we had with NEFFA as we worked on being more of a part of the greater dance community, helping us to navigate the issues that were occasionally a part of this process, as she helped us to better understand the greater dance community, as they came to know us

At our dance camps, as many of you know, her presence was always a welcome treat, whether she came as a dancer simply because she loved our community so much, or when she would come as a caller to build our community, and the bonds that go with it, as she shared her passion and love of music and dancing.

And of course, we cannot forget her delightful husband Bob, who has also been a warm personality, much loved in our community, also sharing his love of dancing with us, not only as a dancer, but as a caller, having written some of my favorite dances along the way. Bob has also being a great NEFFA advocate helping us many times along the way. His warm smile and delightful presence has brought a lot of joy to us a lot over the years, and he continues to be a part of the family that makes our dance a special place to be.

I know we will all miss Linda very much. It's very difficult to lose someone who has had such a presence in our lives and who has brought us so much, and who was a big part of our dancing family. As we find out more information about memorial service arrangements, we will let you know, along with any memorial dances that may be organized in her honor.

In the mean time, when we come together to dance, let us honor her memory by sharing that joy she brought to each of us, with each other, and let us dance in honor of all our friends and loved ones who have gone before us. It is moments like this that are so precious — and Linda was certainly one of them!

A jocular June

Thank you to everyone who joined the Worcester contra dance this season! It was such a joy to share the music and calling of our bands and callers with so many wonderful dancers, both new and veteran. And what a wonderful way to end the season with einstein's little homunculus and Don Veino!

Our next dance is September 9 — but you don't need to wait until then to get your dance fix! Nearby Rutland will be picking up our slack with two Saturday dances on June 17 and July 15, 8–11 PM. That first dance is less than a week away and features the calling of Tod Whittemore from Connecticut. Joining him will be Julie Metcalf and friends, whose music is sure to delight us all.

The dance will be held at the Finnish Heritage Society on Finn Park Road in Rutland. Admission is $10 per adult and $5 per student.

For more details, visit the website or RSVP on Facebook.

See you in Rutland this weekend and in Worcester this fall. Have a happy and safe summer in between!

A mirthful May

The penultimate dance of Worcester's contra dance season was a happy and lively one, thanks to the calling of Dereck Kalish and the music of Chimney Swift. Dereck is a regular caller in Worcester, pairing his powerful sound system with talented and enthusiastic calling that accommodates all skill levels. Chimney Swift, a relatively new band from Boston, made their Worcester debut, bringing a rarely seen accordion and some fine vocal accompaniment to our musical scene. Despite some hiccups with the facilities, everyone had a wonderful time.

Expect to see and hear these performers at future Worcester dances. In the meantime, get ready for our June dance, featuring einstein's little homunculus and Don Veino!

An out-of-this-world October

Dugan Murphy shirts

Thank you to everyone who came to our second dance of the season! We barely got in some wonderful dancing in before Hurricane Matthew opened the skies.

Making the trek from Portland, Maine, was Dugan Murphy, a renowned caller who made his Worcester debut. His thoughtful, encouraging beginners' lesson and energetic, diverse calling accommodated a variety of skill levels, making everyone feel welcome.

Musician Jim Fownes last played the Worcester dance in May 2015, but he returned this month in a different configuration alongside his daughter, Kathleen. Together, they form Light Reaction, whose music totally rocked our hall.

Our thanks to everyone who has been generous with our new sliding scale admission fees! Instead of raising the prices, we've counted on your goodwill to allow us to afford such wonderful talent to perform at our dances. Thank you for being such charitable dancers.

On that note: We're always looking for volunteers to help us open and close the hall for each dance! Please email us if you can donate an hour of your time in exchange for free admission.

A joyous June

Smoke & Mirrors

Thank you to all who came to our June dance! Although attendance was light, those who showed up had a wonderful time.

Our hall was filled with the music of Smoke & Mirrors, a group new to Worcester that came recommended by our friends in Northboro. Their tunes were complemented by the calling of Angela DeCarlis, a veteran of BIDA and Concord who raised the bar for Worcester's dancers with her diverse dance selection. Like Smoke & Mirrors, Angela was new to Worcester, and we welcomed the opportunity to host new talent at our venue. We expect we haven't seen or heard the last of these talented artists, band and caller alike.

The details of our 2016–2017 season are imminent, so sign up for our mailing list or Facebook group to get the details as soon as they're announced. In the meantime, have a great summer, and we'll see you on September 10!

A festive February

Even when dancing, Michael always keeps an eye on the time.

After last February's dance was cancelled due to snow, Worcester's dancers were eager and excited to hit the dance floor this February 13. We invited last year's talent to tempt fate again, and the dangerously cold weather couldn't keep them away. Myra MacLeod and her Worcester Folk Orchestra filled the hall with their melodious music, while Bill Fischer led dancers beginner and veteran alike through diverse contra calls in lines, circles, and sets. An above-average turnout left us a bit short on snacks at the halftime — but everyone was there to dance, not eat, with most dancers (dressed in red for Valentine's Day) staying until the evening's end.

Thank you to everyone who helped us restore this wonderful Valentine's Day tradition!

An outstanding October

The Contra Banditos rock the house.

It may have been a long weekend, but dancers who came to Worcester this weekend were in for a treat! After an absence of several years, the Contra Banditos returned to our dance hall, with their six musicians accompanied by the calling of Don Veino. Don's calling gave us the history of each dance, with the dancers once being allowed to choose the difficulty of the next dance. It was a fun and participatory evening.

This month also marked the first time dancers began using our coupons. New this season, first-time visitors to our dance venue receive a coupon to come back for free! We began issuing these invitations in September and were happy to see dancers return in October.

Whether you're new to Worcester or are a familiar face, we look forward to seeing you for our next dance on November 14!

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