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Lake City Contra/Old Time Country Dance

Every Thursday at
Lake City Community Center

12531 - 28th Ave NE

7:30 pm till 10:30 pm
Free introductory "dance skills" workshop every week at 7:00pm
Admission $8 - 12, kids & first-time contradancers free

Please respect the health needs of many dancers and come fragrance-free.
For more information call 206-525-0932.

Schedule of bands and callers:


Nov 16-“Pete’s Posse” (Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon, Tristan Henderson – Vermont - fiddles, viola, mandolin, guitars, banjo, piano, melodica, jaw harp, vocals & foot percussion) rides into town with their saddlebags full of great tunes, wild harmonies, and innovative arrangements! Zesty caller Susan Michaels (filling in for George Marshall) guides us on the trail!

WED Nov 22-Special THANKSGIVING EVE dance with the “Seattle Collaborative Contra Band”: 17 musicians directed by Sarah Comer! Adept caller Emma Anderson will bring us a cornucopia of fun, and a chance to experience a “larks & ravens” dance event. [These terms, substituted for “gents & ladies”, are currently trending in urban contradance communities around the country.] Also, the fabulous ContraCrafters will be on hand with their special handmade wares and edibles, AND Petticoat Junction will join in with their array of beautiful dance clothing and shoes!!! Doors open at 6:30pm for sales and we'll remain set up throughout the dance. All can accept payment in the form of cash or checks and some can accept credit cards. If any of you are interested in participating in future contracrafting events, please let Mary DeFelice Bartley know at

Petticoat Junction - Clothing and shoes just right for dancing!

Corrie Dudley - Fresh homemade pies. Whole 9” pies in apple and pumpkin flavors will be available at the event. Apple, pumpkin, and pecan available for pre-order. Email to reserve your pies for pick up!

Diana Herbst - Hand crafted, small batch jams and jellies from farm to table. These contain memorable heritage flavor combinations not found in local mega markets. Most of the fruits used are from small local farms who use organic farming methods.

Doug Plummer - Formerly the Contradance Calendar, Doug Plummer's 2018 calendar represent the best and most popular shots from his long running daily photo blog, Today I Saw. Details at:

Eric Hardee - Packs and bags, especially the coincase, elf pouch, half moon and Baguette Paquet, which are part of his business, Rivendell Mountainworks.

Judi Gibbs - High-fired stoneware and porcelain pottery made when she still had a gas kiln.

Lydia Thiessen - Colorful post cards and decorations made from paper.

Margie Katz - Original colorful quilts (wall hanging to lap/throw/crib quilt sizes) and unusual throw pillows. Japanese knot bags, great as purses, lunch bags, needlework project bags, baby gear bags, and more. Flaxseed and eye pillows; balsam fir sachets. And maybe a few surprises.

Mary DeFelice Bartley - Cheery bags and sewn sundries that are useful, beautiful and durable created for contradancers and those they love.

Paula Cerni - Paula, Seattle's dancing hairdresser, will be offering a discounted haircut or henna coloring service at her shop for $25, plus will be selling boxes of organic henna hair color, haircut books and interesting hair tools. If you get your service before Christmas, you will be entered in a raffle to win a stunning pottery piece from fellow contra dancer Jack Evert. And, she’ll be more than happy to give free hair advice.

Nov 23- NO LAKE CITY CONTRA DANCE TONIGHT – Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 30-You don’t need an advanced degree to appreciate “The ABC’s of Contra” (Melissa Coffey, Sean Bolton, & Eric Anderson romping on fiddles, flute, sax, whistle, & piano). If genial caller John Gallagher was teaching the course, you’d be so glad to be in his class! ALSO, we will be celebrating November birthdays tonight!

Dec 7-Feel the earth move under your feet with the exciting music of “Continental Drift” (Eileen Nicholson - Syracuse NY - & Eric Anderson + Terry Wergeland – fiddle, piano, accordion). Amy Wimmer calls solid contras that rock!

Dec 14-“The Rhythm Rollers” (Cathie Whitesides, Laurie Andres, WB Reid – fiddles, accordion, guitar, banjo-guitar, piano) take us on a rollicking ride through a winter contra wonderland! Perennial fav David Kaynor (Montague, MA) calls.

Dec 21-David Kaynor heads up a sparkling band with local luminaries Sande Gillette, Amy Englesberg and surprise guests on fiddles, accordion, guitar, & piano. Fun caller Eileen Thorsos (NC) lights up the night!

Dec 28-You don’t have to be Jewish to celebrate the season with a Klezmer contradance! “Klez Chaos” features joyous, exuberant, and dramatic sounds of 18 musicians led by Bernice Maslan - fiddles, accordion, clarinets, sax, flute, trombone, guitar, mandolin, drums, piano, & bass. Callers Sherry Nevins & Isaac Banner team up for maximum merriment! ALSO, we will be celebrating December birthdays tonight!

Jan 4, 2018-“Hot Cider String Band”(Elise & Evan Snoey, Kelly Morgan, & RuthMabel Boytz on fiddles, mandolin, sax, guitar, and piano) will fill the hall with sweet & spicy multi-generational energy & talent! Cheerful SF Bay Area caller Alan Winston serves up a varied selection of fine dances.


Contra (or Old-Time Country) Dances feature dynamic LIVE music, energetic dancing, friendly camaraderie, and a strong sense of community. Contra/square dancing is great fun and great exercise - for all ages!

Here are some helpful hints and guidelines:

For Everyone:

∗ Contra dancing is traditional American folk dancing, derived from English and French country dancing. Couples stand in long lines. The caller “walks through” a pattern of figures before each dance begins, and prompts the moves as long as the dancers need it. Each couple dances the sequence with another couple, then progresses along the line to repeat it with new couples.

Anyone can ask anyone to dance - it’s “people’s choice”. It is customary (not mandatory!) to change partners for each dance. When invited to dance, it is ok to politely decline. There is no need to feel guilty or to make excuses. If you are turned down for a dance, take it in stride and seek another partner; don't harass anyone who has repeatedly declined to dance with you.

Callers use the terms"ladies & gents"to refer to therolesof the people in the dance – the "lady" is on the right & "gent" on the left in each couple (unlike other social dances, either person in contra dancing can lead or follow depending on the figure). Dance with whoever is coming towards you in line, regardless of their gender.

∗ You don’t have to worry about footwork; justwalk smoothly, 1 step per beat of music.

Connecting with each other and with the music is the essence of contra dancing. When dancing with joined hands, keep your elbows bent, pull back slightly, just enough to keep an equal counterbalance – keep your fingers relaxed, don't squeeze hands or twist wrists.

Eye contact is another way we connect. Looking at each other will keep you from getting too dizzy – and it’s fun!!! If you're uncomfortable looking deeply into someone's eyes, you can look at his/her forehead, chin, ear…..

∗ In contra dancing, each figure fits with a musical phrase. It’s very satisfying to time each move so you can be ready to start the next in sync with the music, and with the other dancers!

∗ Learn the basics before trying to add fancy flourishes. Be respectful of each other’s needs and preferences: how fast to swing, adding extra twirls, how boldly to flirt…or not…

It's ok to make mistakes – no one is keeping score! People are friendly & everyone helps each other out. If you miss a figure, don’t worry about it - skip it and go on to the next.

Dancing in a way that hurts or disregards the safety or comfort of other dancers is NOT acceptable!!! If someone does something that hurts or makes you uncomfortable, let them know - be clear, direct, and specific – subtle hints are often ineffective. If you feel awkward or unsure about your dancing or social interactions – ASK!! Callers, dance coordinators, and many experienced dancers are willing and able to help.

∗ At the end of each dance remember to thank your partner and the band! Show your appreciation for the talent, skill, and dedication of our fabulous musicians & callers – applaud heartily!!!

For Experienced Dancers:

Please welcome newcomers - ask them to dance, and help them have a fun, satisfying dance experience! Two of you can approach new couples and offer to be their partners, but don't insist that they split up. Trust that their "neighbors" in the line will help.

∗ Give your full attention when the caller is teaching, thereby setting a good example for newcomers (even if you thoroughly know the dance).

∗ Help newer dancers to face the right direction, and keep verbal instructions to an absolute minimum. Point, gesture, tap on the shoulder, use other signals, or call their name. It is hard for newer dancers to listen to the caller, you, other dancers, and the music all at the same time.

Be considerate - refrain from extra twirls & spins, and high-speed swings with less experienced dancers. These are disorienting, slowing the learning process for your partner and for other newcomers for whom you are a role model.

∗ When helping other dancers, relax – be encouraging, and keep it light! It’s all about shared enjoyment, not perfection. Newcomers will learn faster and dance better when they are not anxious about their performance.

Be sociable and resist the urge to “book ahead”. Go to the sidelines & ask those sitting out if they would like to dance.

Please read footprints for a brief history of this dance series.

Webmaster: Matt Fisher (
Last modified 11/14/17.