Contradance

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An American free love b*****dized version of the stately English Country dance (also related to the French Quadrille). It is a form of American folk dance that can best be described as a Square Dance without the squares. Dancers are arranged in sets of 4 (hence the term "Contra") and these sets of 4 are arranged in lines. The basic set of 4 dancers will generally consist of 2 males and 2 females (or 2 male/female couples). One couple will face up the dance hall (towards the band - you must always have a live band to dance a contradance), and one couple will face down the hall (facing away from the band).

The set of 4 dancers will dance a pattern that may consist of walking in a circle, passing by one another, star formations, chains, etc. When they are done with the pattern, they will move on in their original direction and dance the same pattern again with the next couple they face. They will do this again and again until they come to the end of the line, at which point, they will simply turn around and re-enter the dance going the other way.

Contradance is a very popular and lively form of dance. Dances are held in most communities around the United States on a regular basis. The form of dance flourishes, however, in New England and the Appalachian Mtn area. Dances are often considered community affairs and all ages and all skill levels dance together as one large group.

There is always a live band at a Contradance and the music is usually provided by an old time fiddle band, but may also be Irish based or even jazz based. Whatever music is played, it must have a steady beat for the dancers to dance to it.

Contradance is considered an active art form (as opposed to an old form or historical art form) as dances and songs are still being written and introduced to the repetory.

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