The Living Tradition Dances
The Living Tradition is proud to sponsor contra dancing, a simple, early-American folk dance that everyone can enjoy – no formal lessons or partners are required. This traditional dance is fun to learn, family friendly, and builds a sense of community with other contra dancers.
Many fine bands have graced our dances, and well-known dance-callers provide lively prompting. Bring your friends, make new friends, get some exercise, or just relax and enjoy the live band playing traditional music.
Our contra dances are held nearly every month on the 4th Saturday in the City of Anaheim. Parking is free; admission prices are low, and children under 18 are free with a paid adult. No alcohol or smoking is allowed at our dances. See the Schedule below.
Our Contra dance evenings are designed to be beginner friendly and fun for everyone. They begin with a free introductory (or refresher) group lesson. When the true dancing begins, each dance is explained and prompted by a “caller.” And to further help novices along, our “regulars” welcome novices to dance with them.
Thousands of people have been contra dancing for hundreds of years. With a little courage, a sense of adventure, and a spirit of community energy, you, too can be enjoying this traditional social activity. You do not need to know how to dance, nor do you need to bring a partner. All dances will be taught and prompted by a caller with a live, acoustic band. Like most dance forms, contra dancing can be confusing to the newcomer. We welcome your willingness and beg your patience. Hopefully, these hints will help get you started
What are the dance priorities, in order of importance?
What about partners?
What style tips should I know?
What should I wear?
How long does it take to learn contra dancing? Typically, after three evenings of contra dancing, most folks say Now I get it! This is simple and fun. Your mileage may vary.
Contra Dance History
Americans have contra danced since the Revolutionary period. They combined ideas from French and English country dancing, with their own Yankee ways of having fun, and came up with contra dancing. It is a social dance akin to square dancing that has retained its simple, open, community-oriented spirit. There are fewer than two dozen dance figures that a caller might ask the dancers to do. The main format is two long lines of facing partners, thus the name contra, meaning opposite," or "opposing.
(The Welcome to Contra Dancing text is used with permission by wild and wonderful Rob Craighurst, an innovative caller from Charlottsville, VA.)