Contra Dancing in Greater Boston

Photo by J Peidle

Contra Facts

What is “contra dancing”?
It is an evening of fun featuring dancing in “sets” of about a dozen couples. You interact with your partner, and everyone else in the set too, as you dance with easy walking steps to energetic, live music. A caller first explains the movements and then prompts you during the dance (as in square dancing). An evening might also feature square dances and couple dances (waltzes and polkas, for instance).
What happens during a dance?
You, the other dancers, the musicians, and the caller aim for an evening of low-pressure, yet often energetic camaraderie. Come alone or with others; we ask new partners for each of the dozen or so dances during the evening.
How do I join in the fun?
You will be part of a living tradition passed on by the experienced dancers helping the newcomers. It’s best to join in the very first dance of the evening with an experienced partner (if possible). Getting started by letting other dancers guide you is much more effective than watching!
What do I need to participate?
Energy and Enthusiasm! Wear comfortable clothes — usually a sport shirt and slacks for men, a skirt and blouse for women. To protect the wooden floor, many dances ask dancers to bring a separate pair of clean, soft-soled shoes. Admission is usually less than the price of a movie ticket.
When and where are the dances?
Listings for the two weekly series are listed below, as are phone contacts for other series. Unless you are sure you have current information, it is wise to call to confirm, especially if it is summer, if a blizzard affects driving or parking, or if a holiday may cause rescheduling or cancellation.

Dances may change schedules near holidays or cancel for bad weather.
Confirm information before traveling!

Monday Contras

Year ’round
Mondays, 7:30-10:30 at the Concord Scout House
74 Walden St., Concord, Mass.

Parking – On street; in bank lot across Walden St.; in lot behind stores on Walden St.; in post office lot. (Don’t use church parking lot or unmetered spaces on Walden St.)

Public Transportation – Commuter rail to Concord; 10 minute walk from station.

The Sponsors – Monday Contras Dance Committee

For More Information 978-341-4143 or MondayContras.com

Thursday Contras

Year ’round
Thursdays, 7:30-10:30 at the Concord Scout House
74 Walden St.
Concord, Mass.

Parking – On street; in bank lot across Walden St.; in lot behind stores on Walden St.; in post office lot. (Don’t use church parking lot or unmetered spaces on Walden St.)

Public Transportation – Commuter rail to Concord; 10 minute walk from station.

For More Information – (617) 299-1590 or Thursday Contras

Other Dances in Eastern Massachusetts

* Always call ahead! * Dances start at 8pm unless otherwise indicated

  • 1st Sat Berlin (Oct-May) 978-838-2104
  • 1st/3rd Sun Cambridge Masonic Hall (Porter Square)$5-$10 (sliding scale)
  • 4th Sat Cambridge Cambridge Friends School 617-547-7781, 978-369-1232
  • many Tues Cambridge MIT Student Center 617-354-0864 (free for M.I.T. students)
  • 2nd Fri Carlisle (Oct-June) 978-369-1232
  • 1st Fri Concord (Oct-May) 978-779-6077 For experienced dancers at Concord Scout House
  • 4th Sat Chatham 508-945-4827
    some Sun, Concord Scout House (Sept-Nov, Jan-June) 857-499-8907
  • 2nd Sat Cotuit 508-563-6750
    some Sat Jamaica Plain 617-522-2216 (7:30 instruction; Gender-free)
  • 3rd Fri Lexington (Sept-June) 781-235-0713, 781-862-0002 (7:30 instruction)
  • 1st Sat Medway (Sept-June) 508-740-8508 (7:30)
  • 3rd Sat Northboro (Oct-May) 508-393-2828
  • 2nd/4th Fri Rehoboth 508-252-6375; 508-669-5656
  • 3rd Sat Sandwich (East) 508-888-4968
  • 4th Sat Westford(Sept.-April, exc. Dec.) 978-692-6333
  • 2nd Sun Westford(Oct.-Mar.) 978-692-6333; Family Dance: 3PM-5PM
  • 1st Sat Woods Hole 508-548-6229; 508-548-6661
  • 2nd Sat Worcester (Sept-Jun) 508-886-6541

For more information on dances, call the Folk Arts Center’s at 781-438-4387 (Boston area events) or CDSS at 413-203-5467 (nationwide).