Tips to help you enjoy your First (and Next) Contra Dance

Dance image Contra Dancing is...

Social Interaction,
Meeting People,
and Making New Friends...
Set to Music


Practical Tips for a Smooth Start

A short introductory lesson is offered at the beginning of every session. It is not considered a prerequisite for joining the dance, but some people feel more comfortable having attended the introduction. Feel free to attend the introduction multiple times.

Self Care

Contra Dance is deceptively Aerobic. It's a fun way to exercise but it may take some time to build up your endurance! You can sit out every other dance just Don't Give Up! Dress in light weight, comfortable clothing. Come well hydrated. You will be able to dance longer and won't get so dizzy. Bring a water bottle.


It's natural to get dizzy if you're not used to spinning. As you dance more you'll get less and less dizzy. Keep your head level and spot somewhere on your partner. Swing more slowly. You can ask your partner to 'please slow down'

Dance Etiquette

It is customary to switch partners for each dance. Men and Women ask each other. Don't be Shy! If asked, please say yes (unless you're needing a rest and want to sit one out.) We recommend that new dancers seek out the more experienced dancers as partners. If you attend with a date, give each other a present by dancing with others for a while. You'll be able to have more fun dancing with each other after the first 3 to 4 dances and you've learn the basic steps. Don't forget to thank your partner at the end of each dance

Care of Others

Leads: place your right hand on your partner's shoulder blade during the swing. Don't lean back to swing faster. Pretend you have no thumbs. Don't squeeze fellow dancer's hands.


The Dancer's High

Contra Dancing is a community form of dancing. The goal is to become a single organism, giving and getting energy from your fellow dancers.

Dance To The Music!

Once you're used to the steps, dance with the music, on the beat and with the phrases. It's OK to skip a move so that you're on time with the next move. In Contra terms: 'Better Never Than Late!'