Home > Contra Dancing > Lake City Contra/Old Time Country Dance

Lake City Contra Dance

Every Thursday Night at the
Seattle Latvian Center

11710 3rd Ave NE

Free introductory "dance skills" workshop at 7:00pm

Dance 7:30 pm till 10:30 pm

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.


For directions check out Google maps or this map that shows which streets do and do not go through.

Schedule of bands and callers:

May 24- “Cascade Contraband” kicks off the NW Folklife weekend in high gear: Audrey Knuth ( fiddle - Boston, MA) has gathered an impressive array of musicians including Jesse Partridge on fiddle + Alex Sturbaum on accordion & guitar + Brian Lindsey on fiddle & banjo + Lawson Cannon on guitar & bouzouki + Julie Bennett on percussion! WOW!!! Perennial fav caller David Kaynor (Montague, MA) revs it up.

May 31- This young, energetic, & talented band of siblings from N. Idaho is super fun!! “InTent City” features Betsy Richards on fiddle, Graham Richards on guitar, Seth Richards on keyboard, David Richards on percussion, & Merilee Richards on bass. Dynamic caller Jacqui Grennan (LA, CA) is a perfect fit. Also, we will be celebrating May birthdays tonight!

June 7- “Ireland Bridge” (Dale Russ, John Sean, Anita Anderson - fiddle, concertina, piano) showcases the vibrant melodies, lilting harmonies, and driving rhythms whose seeds were sown long ago on the green isle and nurtured in our own land. Genial caller John Gallagher brings good luck for all dancers!

June 14- “Heliotrope”(Howie Meltzer, Paul Englesberg, Michael Hobart – Bellingham - fiddle, flutes, concertina, guitar) brings sweet traditional & original tunes sprinkled with musical surprises from swing to Bach! Savor caller Isaac Banner's most delicious contras.

June 21- “Spin” features nationally acclaimed innovator/composer Rodney Miller (National Endowment for the Arts’ Master Fiddler and Artist Laureate of NH) with Seattle’s stellar Anita Anderson & Dave Bartley (piano, guitar, mandolin, cittern, & cajon). Together with ace caller Michael Karcher they’ll wrap us in a whirl of excitement and pleasure!

June 28- “Hands 4” (Keith Moe, Fran Tewksbury, Carl Thor, Rich Goss – Portland - fiddle, mandolin, flute, whistle, piano, percussion) infuses their mostly original music with diverse instrumentation and well-crafted harmonies and arrangements. Keen-witted caller LauraMe’Smith keeps us happily on our toes! Also, we will be celebrating June birthdays tonight!

July 5- Ruthie Dornfeld & Terry Wergeland (fiddle & piano) are extremely versatile and virtuoso musicians whose playing is always a real treat for our ears. Caller Tom Wimmer brings dances that are a treat for our feet!

July 12- “Wink at the Moon” (Sarah Comer, Stuart Williams, Terry Wergeland - fiddles, piano, accordion); Abigail Hobart caller

July 19- “The Dam Beavers” (Ben Schreiber & Scotty Leach – St Louis, Boston – fiddle & piano); Susan Petrick (SF, CA) caller

July 26- “Les Fabulous Girls du Ouest Coast” (18 XX chromosome musicians!); Susan Michaels caller Also, we will be celebrating July birthdays tonight!

Aug 2- George Penk, Heather Pinney, Maia Hoffman, Steven Skolnik – Portland – fiddles, piano, percussion; Lindsey Dono caller

Aug 9- “Polaris” (Jesse Ball, Rose Jackson, Marta Bartholomew, Sam Zakon-Anderson – W MA & Vermont – fiddles, accordion, hammer dulcimer, piano, feet); Andy Shore (Aptos, CA) caller

Aug 16- “Cascade Crossing” (Lori Prime, Rich Goss, Sarah Goss, Carl Thor – Portland – fiddle, guitar, percussion, oboe, whistle, piano); Chuck Abell (NY) caller

Aug 23- Betsy Branch, Bill Tomczek, Chuck Abell (fiddle, clarinet, guitar - Portland & NY); Rich Goss caller

Aug 30-“Sound Crossing” (Marissa Essad – fiddle, Kris Johansson – fiddle, Eric Hardee - hammer dulcimer, Jean Geiger – guitar, Cathy Britell - bass); Valerie Cohen caller Also, we will be celebrating August birthdays tonight!

Sep 6-“The Electrodes” (Joe Bowbeer, Marcy Kubbs, Joe Micheals – 5-string electric violin, piano, guitar); caller TBA

Sep 13-“The Euphemists” (Paula Hamlin, Kaye Blesener, Jerry Nelson, Alan Snyder, Dave Goldman – Portland - sax, clarinet, trombone, flute, fiddle, guitar, keyboard, percussion); Laurel Thomas (Portland) caller


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 their 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 05/19/18.