Got Contra? Folk dancing warms up cold winter nights


What do you get when you combine a caller, a live band, and a group of new and experienced dancers? You guessed it: a Contra dance.

For the past 25 years, local folks have been gathering to participate in this fun-filled form of traditional American folk dancing. Young, old, first-timer or old-timer, Contra dance welcomes everyone.

Similar to square dancing, Contra dance consists of one partner guiding another through a series of moves or figures. Couples dance together and then switch up. The figures are repeated and combined in various ways for each dance.

If you're interested in trying Contra dancing, the Charlottesville-Albemarle area has several options: every first and third Friday of the month, 8-11pm, at the Municipal Arts Center, and (September-May) on the second and fourth Sundays at the Greenwood Community Center from 6:30 to 9:30pm.

If you've never been, don't worry! Arrive 30 minutes before the dance begins for a teaching/practice session.

Any way you look at it, Contra dance is a great way to meet friends, get exercise, and have fun while you're at it!

The friendly faces of Contra: Anne Atwell, Molly Burton, and Roland Von der Muhll get ready to dance the night away.

When the members of Fridley's Gap start playing, it's impossible to stand still.

Contra dance is fun for all.

Getting into the groove: A beginner's workshop, held before the dance, gives first-time participants a chance to learn the moves.

Jim Morrison: Contra Corners committee member, fiddle player, sound guy, and a darn good dancer

Brad Sayler calls the shots– and the dances.

Go on, let your partner sweep you off your feet.

Swingin' n' steppin': The scene at the Greenwood Community Center on Sunday night.