Gender Neutral Contra Dancing at Wischemann Hall
Next dance: April 28, 2018
Posted by Mark Galipeau
You may have heard me speak about the contra dance I run at Wischemann Hall on the 4th Saturdays of the month. As square dancers you have a solid grasp on most of the figures our callers will use, with just a few styling alterations, (and the fact that we *really do* swing for 4 to 8 beats).
Every dance has a fine assortment of the best musicians in the region playing jigs and reels for our movement pleasure. Each dance is walked through before the music begins, and the caller continues to call for several repetitions until you have memorized the pattern. After 8-12 minutes of dancing with this partner, you shuffle about find a new person and line up for another. It is certainly aerobic. We have an intro at 7:30 PM while the musicians tune up, and the fun begins at 8 PM.
After announcements and a short ten minute break part ways through the evening and the fun continues until 10:20, when we have a waltz and do the usual shutting down of the hall. Our dance is unique in the North Bay in that we do not use gendered terminology. If you are in a couple and on the Left, you are the Lark, and on the Right the Raven. Gender neutral contra dancing had been happening in Boston for over thirty-five years and here in the Bay Area for fifteen. These dances are fragrance, alcohol and attitude free. We are open to young people from ~10 years onward. Starting in July we will also have a family dance earlier in the afternoon. What is nice about contra is that no classes are needed, though attending dances on a regular basis does make for a more flowing and enjoyable pastime. This means it is something you might bring your non-commital friends who are not yet ready to sign up for a Rainbows square dance program just yet. We have a sliding scale, pay what you can fee from $10-15, though no one is turned away for lack of funds.
Here is a video of the Queer Contra Dance in Oakland from a couple of years ago. You will see many of the figures (and me!) you already know, the swinging, and some of the contra flourishes folks throw in.
Here's a short documentary of my Boston family...(yes I am in here is you look closely)
I hope you will consider stopping by on March 24th.
Hugs and Twirls,