• Wed - Dec 13 — Gainesville: Irish
  • Wed - Dec 13 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  • Fri - Dec 15 — Jacksonville: Contra
  • Fri - Dec 15 — Melbourne: Contra
  • Fri - Dec 15 — Sarasota: Contra
  • Sat - Dec 16 — Gainesville: Contra
  • Sun - Dec 17 — Boca Raton: Contra
  • Mon - Dec 18 — Gainesville: English Country
  • Tue - Dec 19 — Melbourne: English Country
  • Tue - Dec 19 — Venice Area: English Country
  • Tue - Dec 19 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  • Tue - Dec 19 — Fort Walton: Contra
  • Wed - Dec 20 — Gainesville: Irish
  • Wed - Dec 20 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  • Fri - Dec 22 — Orange Park: English Country
  • Sat - Dec 23 — Gulfport Casino: Contra
  • Sat - Dec 23 —Davie: Contra
  • Mon - Dec 25 — Gainesville: English Country
  • Tue - Dec 26 — Melbourne: English Country
  • Tue - Dec 26 — Venice Area: English Country
  • Tue - Dec 26 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  • Tue - Dec 26 — Fort Walton: Contra
  • Wed - Dec 27 — Gainesville: Irish
  • Wed - Dec 27 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  • Fri - Dec 29 — Orange Park: English Country
  • Dec 39-31 — Gainesville: New Year Contra
  • Tue - Jan 2 — Melbourne: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 2 — Venice Area: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 2 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  • Tue - Jan 2 — Fort Walton: Contra
  • Wed - Jan 3 — Gainesville: Irish
  • Wed - Jan 3 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  • Fri - Jan 5 — Orange Park: English Country
  • Fri - Jan 5 — Pinellas Park: Contra
  • Sun -Jan -7 — Gainesville: New Year Contra
  • Mon - Jan 8 — Gainesville: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 9 — Melbourne: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 9 — Venice Area: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 9 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  • Tue - Jan 9 — Fort Walton: Contra
  • Wed - Jan 10 — Gainesville: Irish
  • Wed - Jan 10 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  • Fri - Jan 12 — Tallahassee: Contra
  • Fri - Jan 12 — Melrose:
  • Fri - Jan 12 — Orange Park: English Country
  • Sat - Jan 13 — Pinellas Park: Contra
  • Sat - Jan 13 —Davie: Contra - spended
  • Sun - Jan 14 — DeLand: English Country
  • Mon - Jan 15 — Gainesville: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 16 — Melbourne: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 16 — Venice Area: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 16 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  • Tue - Jan 16 — Fort Walton: Contra
  • Wed - Jan 17 — Gainesville: Irish
  • Wed - Jan 17 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  • Fri - Jan 19 — Jacksonville: Contra
  • Fri - Jan 19 — Melbourne: Contra
  • Fri - Jan 19 — Sarasota: Contra
  • Sat - Jan 20 — Gainesville: Contra
  • Sun - Jan 21 — Boca Raton: Contra
  • Mon - Jan 22 — Gainesville: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 23 — Melbourne: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 23 — Venice Area: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 23 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  • Tue - Jan 23 — Fort Walton: Contra
  • Wed - Jan 24 — Gainesville: Irish
  • Wed - Jan 24 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  • Fri - Jan 26 — Tallahassee: Contra
  • Fri - Jan 26 — Orange Park: English Country
  • Sat - Jan 27 — Gulfport Casino: Contra
  • Sat - Jan 27 —Davie: Contra
  • Mon - Jan 29 — Gainesville: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 30 — Melbourne: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 30 — Venice Area: English Country
  • Tue - Jan 30 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  • Tue - Jan 30 — Fort Walton: Contra
  • Wed - Jan 31 — Gainesville: Irish
  • Wed - Jan 31 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  • Contra Dance History

    Contra Line

    History of Contra Dancing


    Various opinions


    Tucson Friends of Traditional Music
    A Guide To Contra Dance
    Alan Winston

    My comments


    English Country dancing of the 16th-17th century became popular in France late in the 17th where it was known as contredans or contre danse. By the beginning of the 18th century these dances were common in the respective American colonies of England and France. By the mid-18th in the major cities, English dances merged with French court dances (minuet, pavanne) to become Colonial American dances. The rural south and north were not much influenced by this and developed their own dance forms derived loosely from English Country Dance. In northern New England contra dancing was common in the late 1700s. French terminology was used very little in English Country dancing. Colonial American used French terminology derived from court dances (allemande, rigadoon, cotillion). Contra Dance uses different French terminology.

    Term French Translation
    contra contre opposing
    allemand à la main by the hand
    dosido dos à dos back to back
    balance balance swing or rock
    promenade promenade walk
    box the gnat baisse le nez ?? dip the head
    chain echange ?? exchange

    To me, the predominance use of French terminology implies that contra dancing was developed by English and French colonists living in the same community or in neighboring ones. This was frequently the case in northern New England from 1700 to the present day. Not only was there mixing across the almost non existent border, but following the loss of Canada to the English, large numbers of French left Canada. The major waves were in 1713 following the loss of Acadia and the rest of maritime Canada and the loss of Quebec in in 1763. While many emigrated to Louisiana, many settled in the New England colonies. Currently about 25% of northern New England is identified as having French ancestry. In some cities 60% have French family names.
    "Box the gnat" and "Ladies chain" are speculative but appear consistent with French usage. "Baisse le nez" literally means lower the nose but "nez" is used frequently in French where face or head would be used in English.

    Please do not use perfume or other heavy fragrances before dancing. Living Fragrance Free contains tips for avoiding objectional fragrances.

    All You Need to Know About Relationships can be Learned in a Dance Class.


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