What is Contra Dance? 10 Facts You May Not Know About Contra Dance

Contra Dance is one of the most famous hall dances of post-Renaissance Europe.  The dance was originally popular throughout the UK and parts of Europe before landing in America. Now more widely known as an American style of dance, similar to square dancing. The word contra translates to ‘opposite dance’. This type of dancing is carried out by people of all ages, all over the world.

The Contra Dance has a beautifully rich history. Contra dance originated In the seventeenth century, in Britain and France. It then made its way to the United States where they re-interpreted the dance themselves. In the 18th century, it became a very popular form of social dance and was also referred to as a country dance in America. It then fell short of the popularity list in the 19th century with dances such as the waltz taking over. 

10 Facts You May Not Know About Contra Dance

1. Contra dance is always performed with live music.

2. There is a dance pattern of 64 beats of music each cycle.

3. There is a contra dance caller, calling out the next steps to dance. This person needs to be experienced.

4. Contra dance is very similar to square dancing as they use similar terms when being called out, although it does have its differences.

5. Contra dance is done in big lines down a hall, not in a four-couple square. There are two parallel lines, with the person directly opposite being your partner.

6. After each beat cycle, each couple will progress down the line to a new couple and start again. Each pair of lines in contra dance is called a set.

7. The footwork is simple, as it is just a walking step to the music. You can add a dance move or twirl. 

8. This type of dance is more about your body position in relation to other dancers next to you, rather than the particular order of your feet.

9. You may switch partners as you move back and forth, usually with three different people. You will move directly opposite your partner and the next dancer in the line through the sets.

10. Dancers usually wear comfortable shoes and clothes, making it a casual and social dance form.

Contra Dance is one of literally thousands of dance genres. If you have a passion for Dance why not consider a career in it? You can check out the Bachelor of Dance at APAC. An incredible degree with hands-on learning from industry experts. Jump online today to learn more about how qualification is the right step towards a career in dance.

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