Next Meetup

4th Sat English Country Dancing
English Country Dancing happens every 2nd and 4th Saturday, at the Shirley McPhail School of Dance, 8018 Mesa Dr., Austin. 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm Suggested donation: $6

Shirley McPhail School of Dance

8018 Mesa Dr. · Austin, TX

What we're about

Do you enjoy dancing to live music? Do you enjoy a lot of swinging in your dancing? Do you like going to dances that build a sense of community among its participants? Then you'll want to come to a contra dance! Contra dance has its origins in English Country Dancing, with influences from Irish and French styles, too. Contra is a couples dance as well as a social dance: you choose a partner for each dance, then dance a sequence of moves that takes you up and down a long dance line, dancing with different couples as you go. Square dancing evolved out of contra, so, if you've square danced, you've done about 2/3 of the moves in a contra dance--allemandes, dosidos, rights and lefts. But contra is quite different from squares: there's more swinging, and the swings are longer; each contra dance runs longer than a square dance; and you socialize with more couples as you dance through the contra line. A caller teaches every dance, and calls the dance to the music, as long as the dancers need guidance. The caller (or another dancer) will teach a beginners session before the evening's dance program begins. Best of all, our dancing is done to live music! Contra is danced to a traditional music style that is part folk, part bluegrass, part Celtic, but always upbeat and inspiring. A variety of bands play for our dances, from those with a very traditional, "old-timey" approach, to groups that are more improvisational and play with more modern music influences. No costumes are required, loose casual wear works fine. Wear soft-soled shoes with a little bit of slide. Women, flowing skirts/dresses will keep you cooler through the evening than pants. Gents, if you tend to perspire a little extra, please bring an extra shirt to change into. You don't have to come with a partner, but we sure would like you to see you bring some friends along! Who should join us? -Anyone who'd like to dance, but thinks it might be too hard. If you can walk to a beat, you can do contra dancing. -Anyone who enjoys a group social activity. Dancing in our long lines will allow you to meet lots of people. Plus, we change partners after every dance, so you'll get to experience lots of new dance partners. -Anyone who loves live music. -Anyone who thinks you can't have a fun night out cheaply. Our dances are usually $9 or less for a three-hour program, and refreshments are almost always served. -Any age group, from young teens to fun-loving older folks. We especially hope to see college students and 20- and 30-somethings--you'll be amazed at what an exciting time you'll have!

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