DOVER-FOXCROFT — Contra dances held over the past few months at The Commons at Central Hall have proved so popular that they will become a regular monthly event.
Part of the allure of contra dance is that a lesson is provided by the caller before the band plays each tune, so everyone has opportunities to learn. More experienced dancers and beginners are blended together as the music and the caller’s instructions move them down the line of ever-changing couples on the dance floor.
At the September dance, those with more experience circulated among the guests seated at tables before the music began, introducing themselves, explaining to those interested about the steps, and encouraging everyone to join the fun.
Another great thing about contra dancing is that anyone, of any age, can participate, and a partner is not required. People are paired up on the dance floor, and the pairings change throughout each song. This makes contra dances a perfect event for singles, widows and widowers, and those married to people that do not enjoy dancing. The movements are gentle, so can be managed by people of varying physical fitness levels.
“Contra dancing is just walking to music,” caller John MacIntire told the crowd in September. Even those who don’t want to dance may come to socialize, enjoy the homemade goodies and beverages, and listen to music played by Some Reel People. The band includes someone on piano, many fiddlers, a few guitarists, an accordionist, and more. The influence behind the music is English, Scottish, French…global.
What was most notable at September’s event — other than that people from ages preschool to 70-plus could be seen twirling on the dance floor – was the smile on nearly every face. Missteps are frequent, and cause for good-natured laughter, as dancers flow in and out of formation.
Contra dances at The Commons, 152 E. Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft, will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second Friday of each month. Admission is $7 for singles; $12 for families. For more information, call 277-3961 or visit www.centralhallcommons.org.