Beginners should come to as many of our predance beginners' classes--7:30 most Saturdays--as needed until comfort sets in with basic dance moves. Experienced dancers are encouraged to come, too, to welcome the newcomers into our dance community and help them make speedy progress.
Holding one person after another in our arms all evening is certainly not something most of us experience anywhere else but at a contra. Smiling, eye contact, and flirtation are part of the fun of dance. Many contradancers like to gaze into their partners' eyes, which can at first prove unnerving. Experienced dancers should remember that newcomers may find eye contact unexpected or even disconcerting. Newcomers should remember that experienced dancers are not trying to stare them down.
Contra is highly social by nature and provides an opportunity for friendly interaction with an entire room full of people. We share a common love of dancing, and there are many wonderful, friendly people with whom to socialize during and after a dance.
Eye contact is an integral part of contra and prevents dizziness during swings or allemandes. If lengthy eye contact discomforts you, you can focus on your partner's ear, chin, collar, or shoulder.
Many experienced contra dancers improvise or use flourishes during a dance. Dancing in time to the music and helping your partner to be on time is always more important than embellishments. When improvising, maintain a sense of "place" within your line. Be attentive to the safety of those around you. As with all personal interactions, respect, discretion, and common sense are your best guide to what is or is not appropriate.
Smile. We all make them. We were all beginners once (even if we sometimes hate to admit it). Forgive and forget, but keep dancing!
Contra involves close physical contact with many other people. For the benefit of yourself and your fellow dancers, please be clean, courteous, and respectful.
Dancers sometimes bring their children along. In order to maintain a safe environment for both children and adults, we request that parents prevent non-participating children from coming on the dance floor during the dance, for this may be very dangerous for everyone. Interested children are welcome to learn the dance by attending our beginners' classes.
Country Dance * New York welcomes anyone who wishes to become a part of this dance family. We work hard to promote a safe, friendly environment for everyone's enjoyment. The evening's coordinator or any board member will be happy to hear from you and, in particular, to address any specific concerns that might arise at a dance.