Sara Swanson

Contra dance to return to Manchester

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Contra dance in Emanuel Church’s Gym

In 2015 Manchester residents were introduced to contra dance, and over the next year had the opportunity to attend monthly dances put on by a group called Dance! Manchester to live music in Emanuel Church’s gym. The dances halted for good in 2016. But in good news for contra dance lovers, Carol Palms of the Riverfolk Music and Arts Organization announced at the January Manchester Wellness Coalition meeting that Riverfolk would be picking up where Dance! Manchester left off and starting back up regular community contra dances!

Contra is a type of partnered social folk dancing led by a caller. Its origins include English and French country dances of the 17th century and has waxed and waned in popularity through the decades, experiencing a major revival in Michigan in the 1920s thanks to Henry Ford and a recent revival as young people expand contra dance to music other than the traditional anglo-celtic folk music. The first time around the dances also had the goal of spreading joy of dancing and an appreciation for the live music, camaraderie, and an invigorating effect on the individual and the community. Many who attended would agree they met that goal.

Palms did note that the dances would probably not be monthly, but be scheduled less frequently.

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