American square, contra, hoe down bands UK

American Square and Contra Dancing

American Square and Contra are pretty fast-moving and flowing dance styles which are terrific fun and very energetic! As the name suggests, American Squares are danced in groups of 4 couples standing in a “square” formation, 2 couples facing each other. Contra is danced in long lines of men and women facing each other. These dances are fairly specialised; amongst many basic movements, they also contain certain dance figures which dancers need to familiarise themselves with, in order to get the best out of the dances. This can obviously be done gradually, as a dancer learns the tradition, or, even better, at a class or workshop designed to teach them.

There are a number of excellent UK bands and Callers who play and Call for this style of music. If this is a style of dance you are interested in, do email Fiona with your requirements. However, we would not recommend American Square or Contra dancing for an entire evening for a private social party or wedding, where there are usually lots of people who have never done interactive social dancing before. The dances are definitely more complicated than the easier English or Irish dances and some of the more straightforward well-known Scottish dances. Having said that, a Ceilidh or Barn Dance Caller will often include some of the simpler American Square or Contra dances which are suitable for total beginners, allowing them to have a laugh and enjoy a taste of these excellent styles of dance.



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