Florida Dance Schedule

  1. Tue - Aug 15 — Melbourne: English Country
  2. Tue - Aug 15 — Venice Area: English Country
  3. Tue - Aug 15 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  4. Tue - Aug 15 — Fort Walton: Contra
  5. Wed - Aug 16 — Gainesville: Irish
  6. Wed - Aug 16 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  7. Fri - Aug 18 — Jacksonville: Contra
  8. Fri - Aug 18 — Sarasota: Contra
  9. Sat - Aug 19 — Gainesville: Contra
  10. Sun - Aug 20 — Boca Raton: Contra
  11. Mon - Aug 21 — Gainesville: English Country
  12. Tue - Aug 22 — Melbourne: English Country
  13. Tue - Aug 22 — Venice Area: English Country
  14. Tue - Aug 22 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  15. Tue - Aug 22 — Fort Walton: Contra
  16. Wed - Aug 23 — Gainesville: Irish
  17. Wed - Aug 23 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  18. Fri - Aug 25 — Tallahassee: Contra
  19. Fri - Aug 25 — Melbourne: Contra - canceled for summer
  20. Fri - Aug 25 — Orange Park: English Country
  21. Sat - Aug 26 — Pinellas Park: Contra
  22. Sat - Aug 26 — McIntosh: Contra
  23. Sun - Aug 27 — Coconut Grove: Contra
  24. Sun - Aug 27 — Coral Gables: Contra
  25. Mon - Aug 28 — Gainesville: English Country
  26. Tue - Aug 29 — Melbourne: English Country
  27. Tue - Aug 29 — Venice Area: English Country
  28. Tue - Aug 29 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  29. Tue - Aug 29 — Fort Walton: Contra
  30. Wed - Aug 30 — Gainesville: Irish
  31. Wed - Aug 30 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  32. Fri - Sep 1 — Pinellas Park: Contra
  33. Fri - Sep 1 — Orange Park: English Country
  34. Sat - Sep 2 — Cocoa Beach: Contra
  35. Sat - Sep 2 — Boca Raton: Contra
  36. Sun - Sep 3 — Gainesville: Contra
  37. Mon - Sep 4 — Gainesville: English Country
  38. Tue - Sep 5 — Melbourne: English Country
  39. Tue - Sep 5 — Venice Area: English Country
  40. Tue - Sep 5 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  41. Tue - Sep 5 — Fort Walton: Contra
  42. Wed - Sep 6 — Gainesville: Irish
  43. Fri - Sep 8 — Tallahassee: Contra
  44. Fri - Sep 8 — Melrose:
  45. Fri - Sep 8 — Orange Park: English Country
  46. Sat - Sep 9 — Pinellas Park: Contra
  47. Sat - Sep 9 —Davie: Contra - summer vacation
  48. Sun - Sep 10 — DeLand: English Country - suspended
  49. Mon - Sep 11 — Gainesville: English Country
  50. Tue - Sep 12 — Melbourne: English Country
  51. Tue - Sep 12 — Venice Area: English Country
  52. Tue - Sep 12 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  53. Tue - Sep 12 — Fort Walton: Contra
  54. Wed - Sep 13 — Gainesville: Irish
  55. Wed - Sep 13 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  56. Fri - Sep 15 — Jacksonville: Contra
  57. Fri - Sep 15 — Melbourne: Contra
  58. Fri - Sep 15 — Sarasota: Contra
  59. Sat - Sep 16 — Gainesville: Contra
  60. Sun - Sep 17 — Boca Raton: Contra
  61. Mon - Sep 18 — Gainesville: English Country
  62. Tue - Sep 19 — Melbourne: English Country
  63. Tue - Sep 19 — Venice Area: English Country
  64. Tue - Sep 19 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  65. Tue - Sep 19 — Fort Walton: Contra
  66. Wed - Sep 20 — Gainesville: Irish
  67. Wed - Sep 20 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  68. Fri - Sep 22 — Tallahassee: Contra
  69. Fri - Sep 22 — Melbourne: Contra - canceled for summer
  70. Fri - Sep 22 — Orange Park: English Country
  71. Sat - Sep 23 — Pinellas Park: Contra
  72. Sat - Sep 23 — McIntosh: Contra
  73. Sun - Sep 24 — Coconut Grove: Contra
  74. Sun - Sep 24 — Coral Gables: Contra
  75. Mon - Sep 25 — Gainesville: English Country
  76. Tue - Sep 26 — Melbourne: English Country
  77. Tue - Sep 26 — Venice Area: English Country
  78. Tue - Sep 26 — Lake Worth: Irish Céilí
  79. Tue - Sep 26 — Fort Walton: Contra
  80. Wed - Sep 27 — Gainesville: Irish
  81. Wed - Sep 27 — Tampa: Scandinavian
  82. Fri - Sep 29 — Orange Park: English Country

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.

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