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

The Lake City VIRTUAL Contra Dance invites the dance community to join stay-at-home dances on Thursday nights!

In-hall dances have been cancelled until further notice in accordance with the efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many of us are really missing dancing; unfortunately, we expect it will be a long time before group dancing can resume. Virtual dances with live-streamed musicians and callers is the next best thing - so let's keep dancing together - safely.

Stay-at-home dances means that most of us will be either dancing solo or with a partner (some with multiple housemates might be able to have a small set). Of course virtual dancing isn't the same as being in each other's arms, but for many of us, it lifts our spirits, helps us feel connected, and keeps our dancing gyroscopes tuned up!

A new meeting ID and passcode is posted the weekend before each of our Thursday night virtual contra dances. Everyone keeps their mics muted and unmutes ONLY for speaking during socializing time; during the dancing, everyone's mics except for the musicians and caller stay muted. Pass the word on to others you know! For more information (or if you have trouble logging in) call 206-525-0932, or email

This Thursday March 11: "Hey George!" (Brian Lindsay, Alex Sturbaum, & Jesse Partridge of "Countercurrent" & "The Waxwings" - Olympia / Seattle WA - fiddle, guitar, accordion, bouzouki, banjo) brings their super dynamic, driving, nuanced playing to the Lake City Virtual Contra Dance! Sunshiny caller Wendy Graham (Durango, CO) turns every event into a happy party!

Socializing starts at 7 pm (US) PST, music & dancing is from 7:25 to 8:40, with more socializing afterward till 9 pm. Musicians, the band will announce the tune names and keys before each dance, so you can play along at home (muted, of course).

Please donate what you can to the musicians, caller, and sound tech at or send a check (the mailing address will be posted).

The Lake City Contra is not a membership organization; without member dues, there is no budget for paying the performers. An entry fee is collected at in-person dances; at each of our virtual dances we work on the honor system, and ask attendees to make donations. Recommended donation is $10 (more if you can; less if you can't). Please help our musicians and callers during this difficult time; your donations are their only pay, and all will go directly to each night's musicians, caller, & sound tech.

Here is the login:
Passcode: Hy!Prty3

Meeting ID: 881 6084 2875
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,88160842875#,,,,*87834155# US (Tacoma)
+16699009128,,88160842875#,,,,*87834155# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 881 6084 2875
Passcode: 87834155

Contradance role terms have settled in as "LARKS & ROBINS" (as part of the evolution from "gents & ladies" and "larks & ravens"). For more info please read Larks & Ravens - open letter to Lake City Contra Dancers (October 2018).

Attention musicians/callers/artists, a message from Northwest Folklife Festival: Thank you for your continued support of Northwest Folklife. We continue to find ways to celebrate arts and culture, especially as we look toward our 50th anniversary in 2021! In light of the uncertainty of the pandemic and with the goal of putting our constituents’ health and best interest at the forefront, the 2021 Northwest Folklife Festival will be hosted virtually this coming Memorial Day weekend. Applications are still being accepted, click to fill out the form: Questions? Contact


Schedule of UPCOMING musicians and callers for Lake City Virtual Contra Dances:

Mar 11, 2021-"Hey George!" (Brian Lindsay, Alex Sturbaum, & Jesse Partridge of "Countercurrent" & "The Waxwings" - Olympia WA - fiddle, guitar, accordion, bouzouki, banjo); Wendy Graham (Durango, CO) caller; donate to them at or send a check (the mailing address will be posted).

Mar 18, 2021-Bethany Waickman & Glen Loper (Maine) (of "Stomp Rocket") - mandolin, banjo, guitar, & piano; Christa Torrens (Boulder CO) caller

Mar 25, 2021-Dave Bartley, Claude Ginsburg, & Brandon Vance (of "KGB" & "Contra Sutra") - fiddles, concertina, mandolin, guitar; Eric Curl caller

Apr 1, 2021-"Audacious" (Audrey Knuth - San Diego CA & Larry Unger - Boston MA - fiddle, guitar, banjo); Claire Takemori caller

Apr 8, 2021-Becky Tracy & Keith Murphy (Brattleboro, VT - fiddle & guitar); Lisa Greenleaf (Boston MA) caller

Apr 15, 2021-"Hot Coffee Breakdown" (Tom Cunningham & Kate Sanders - fiddle & piano) ; Chet Gray caller - all Louisville, KY

Apr 22, 2021-Tina Bergmann & Bryan Thomas (hammered dulcimer & bass) (of "Hu$hmoney Stringband") ; Susan English caller - all Ohio

Apr 29, 2021-"Bandemic" (Megan & Charley Beller of "Contranella", and Jakob Raitzyk & Rebekah Geller of "The Organic Family Band" - Baltimore MD - fiddles, mandolin, guitar, feet); Michael Karcher (Seattle) caller

May 6, 2021-"Peregrine Road" (Rachel Bell & Karen Axelrod - VT - accordion & piano) ;

May 13, 2021-"Gyrations" (Carrie Rose, David Knight, Liz Donaldson - flute, fiddle, piano - WA DC); Scott Higgs caller

Schedule of PAST musicians and callers for Lake City Virtual Contra Dances:

Mar 4, 2021-Casey Murray & Molly Tucker (fiddle, guitar, banjo, cello - Boston, MA) ; Emily 'Rainbowface' Abel (Cleveland OH) caller; donate to them at or Venmo@caseymurraymusic; the mailing address for checks was posted at the event.

Feb 25, 2021-Sam Bartlett, Eric Schedler, & Jonathan Whitall (of "Supertrad" & "Cosmic Otters - mandolin, banjo, accordion, piano); Meg Dedolph caller - Bloomington IN & Chicago IL; donate to them at Venmo@Jonathan-Whitall or or send a check to Jonathan Whitall, 22W510 71st Street, Naperville, IL 60540.

Feb 18, 2021-"Terpsichore" (Elke Bake & Liz Donaldson - WA DC - fiddle& piano) ; Brad Foster (MA) caller; donate to them at  A mailing address for checks was posted at the event.

Feb 11, 2021-Kira Ott & Jeff Spero (S. CA- fiddle & keyboard); Mary Wesley (VT) caller; donate to them at or Venmo@Jeffrey-Spero-2 or send a check to: Jeffrey Spero, 4101 Charles Avenue, Culver City, CA 90232.

Feb 4, 2021-Rodney Miller & Rebecca King (CA) - fiddle & piano; Gaye Fifer (PA) caller Tonight we'll feature "hot roasted chestnuts" (classic dances & tunes) along with delicious new compositions! Donate to them at or send a check to Rodney Miller, 189 Argentina Flag Way, Sonoma, CA 95476.

Jan 28, 2021-"Squirrel Butter" (Charmaine Slaven & Charlie Beck - fiddle, banjo, guitar); Suzanne Girardot caller; donate to them at Venmo@Charmaine-Slaven or or mail a check to Charlie Beck, 10624 4th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98146.

Jan 21, 2021-"Box & String" (Bill Quern, Sarah Gowen, & Laura Alexander - Philadelphia, PA - mandolin, banjo, melodeon, fiddle, guitar, cello) ; Janine Smith (WA DC) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Bill Quern, 817 Concord Ave, Drexel Hill PA 19026.

Jan 14, 2021-Cedar Stanistreet (VT) & Max Newman (Boston) - fiddle & guitar; Perry Shafran (WA, DC) caller; donate to them at Venmo@cedarfiddle or or send a check to Cedar Stanistreet, 130 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

Jan 7, 2021-EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks (Providence RI) & Peter Zay (W. MA) - fiddle, cello, guitar ; Tarka Ayres (Portland OR) caller; donate to them at or Venmo @EmmaLee-Holmes-Hicks or send a check to EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, 81 Sycamore St, Providence, RI 02909

Dec 31, 2020-"Sea-to-Sea" online New Years Eve celebration, across 5 time zones! Contra, English country, BalFolk dancing, concerts, games, FUN! Stay tuned, more info coming! [Our slot is 11 pm to midnight PST: "Dear Crow" (Brian Lindsay & Penka Jane Culevski); Michael Karcher caller] Donate at

WED Dec 23, 2020-Klezmer Contra! with "Kesselgarden" (Laurie Andres & Carl Shutoff - accordion & clarinet); Wendy Graham (Durango, CO) caller Donate to them at or send a check to Carl Shutoff, 8252 43rd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115.

Dec 17, 2020-"Cosmic Otters" (Jonathan Whitall, Eric Schedler, Meg Dedolph - Chicago, IL & Bloomington, IN - fiddle, accordion, guitar, piano); Katie Zukof caller Donate to them via Venmo @Jonathan-Whitall or or send a check to Jonathan Whitall, 22W510 71st Street, Naperville, IL 60540.

Dec 10, 2020-from Australia! "Canberra Contra Club" (Rob Mahony, David Gilks, & Sarah Davies - fiddles, Greg Wilson - box, Jackie Luke - dulcimer & piano, & Andrew Back - piano); Jeanette Mill caller All donations go to the sound techs who make online dances possible (Audrey will distribute the contributions): or Venmo@Audrey-Knuth or send a check to Audrey Knuth, 2716 Landis Street, San Diego CA 92104.

Dec 3, 2020-"Audacious": Larry Unger (Boston, MA) & Audrey Knuth (San Diego, CA); Claire Takemori (CA) caller; donate to them at or Venmo@Audrey-Knuth or send a check to Audrey Knuth, 2716 Landis Street, San Diego CA 92104.

WED Nov 25, 2020- Special Thanksgiving Eve Dance with Sande Gillette & Alan Roberts (of "Monday Night Live"); Seth Tepfer (Atlanta) caller; donate what you can - the musicians and caller will contribute their shares to Camp Sealth, home of the Northwest New Years Camp (Camp Sealth is super grateful for all that we can do). Send donations to, or send a check directly (with memo NWNYC Lake City Dance 11/25) to Camp Fire Central Puget Sound, 2414 SW Andover St, Suite D-105, Seattle WA 98106. (If you donate directly to Camp Sealth, you should get a receipt that you can use for charitable contributions on taxes.)

Nov 19, 2020-Casey Murray & Molly Tucker (fiddle, guitar, banjo, cello - Boston, MA) ; Drew Delaware (Toronto) caller; donate to them at or Venmo @caseymurraymusic; the mailing address for checks will be posted at the event.

Nov 12, 2020-Pajama party with "Pete's Posse" (Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon, & Tristan Henderson - VT); Jacqui Grennan (CA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Pete's Posse, 2 Pavilion Ave, South Burlington VT 05403.

Nov 5, 2020-"STEAM!" (Alice Boyle, David Firestine, Robert Rosenberg, Claire Zucker - fiddle, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar, banjo, concertina, bodhran - AZ & CO) ; Cis Hinkle (Atlanta, GA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Robert Rosenberg, 2234 Rainbow Ridge Road, Tucson, AZ 85745.

Oct 29, 2020-Audrey Knuth & Amy Englesberg (of "Free Raisins" & "Wake up Robin"); Susan Petrick (CA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Audrey Knuth, 2716 Landis Street, San Diego CA 92104.

Oct 22, 2020-Glen Loper & Bethany Waickman - Maine (of "Stomp Rocket") on mandolin, banjo, guitar, & piano ; Mary Wesley (VT) caller; donate to them at  or send a check to Bethany Waickman, 49 Brackett St, Apt 2, Portland, ME 04102.

Oct 15, 2020-Cedar Stanistreet & Donal Sheets (of "Cloud 10") - VT & CT; Kelsey Hartman (CA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Cedar Stanistreet, 130 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

Oct 8, 2020-Jesse Partridge & Alex Sturbaum; Cis Hinkle (Atlanta, GA) caller; donate to them at or send a check to: Alex Sturbaum, 2106 Brown St. SE, Olympia, WA, 98501.

Oct 1, 2020-Pete Sutherland & Oliver Scanlon (of "Pete's Posse") - VT; Eric Curl caller; donate to them at or send a check to Pete's Posse, 2 Pavilion Ave, South Burlington VT 05403.

Sept 24, 2020-"Dear Crow" (Brian Lindsay of "Countercurrent" & Penka Jane Culevski of "Try-Works"); Tarka Ayres (Portland, OR) caller; donate to them at

Sept 17, 2020-"Riptide" (Alden Robinson fiddle, Glen Loper mandolin, Owen Marshall guitar - Maine); Janine Smith (MD) caller; donate to them at or send a check to Glen Loper, 49 Brackett St, Apt 2, Portland, ME 04102
Sept 10, 2020-Special benefit dance for Jeremiah McLane: "Pachelbel's Bazooka" (Dave Bartley, Claude Ginsburg, Anita Anderson); Wendy Graham (CO) caller; donate at or by check to McLane Recovery Fund, United Church of Strafford Deacons, PO Box 124, Strafford VT 05072

Sept 3, 2020-"Peregrine Road" (Rachel Bell & Karen Axelrod - VT - accordion & piano; Diane Silver (NC) caller (donate to them at, or contact Rachel at for the mailing address for checks.

Aug 27, 2020-"Gròóvåtrøñ": Grace Hendrickson-Jones flute, Jonathan Werk oboe, Everest Witman & Samuel Royer-Legault tenor banjo & guitar (Montreal); Drew Delaware (Toronto) caller (donate to them at at or send a check to Everest Witman, 11 Blakeslee Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301)

Aug 20, 2020-Laurie Andres & WB Reid (of "The Rhythm Rollers") - accordion, guitar, banjo-guitar; Suzanne Girardot caller (donate to them at or, or send a check to WB Reid, 3030 S Bradford St., Seattle WA 98108)

Aug 13, 2020-Rodney Miller (CA) & friends; Gaye Fifer (Pittsburgh, PA) caller (donate to them at or send a check to Rodney Miller, 189 Argentina Flag Way, Sonoma, CA 95476) This dance was dedicated to the memory of Mark Buettner, avid dancer and faithful volunteer, who passed suddenly on Aug 7. His obituary is at and a video compilation of clips from the Lake City Contra is at

Aug 6, 2020-Rich Sobel (of "The Sybaritic String Band") & Janet Rozanski - fiddle & piano (Vancouver BC); Rich Goss (Portland OR) caller (donate to them at or send a check to Rich Sobel, 1027 Gatensbury Rd, Port Moody, BC, Canada V3H 2P3)

July 30, 2020-"The Whoots" (Shira Kammen & Jim Oakden - SF Bay Area, CA - fiddle & piano +); Eric Black (CA) caller (donate to them at or send a check to Shira Kammen, 5607 Macdonald Avenue, El Cerrito CA 94530

July 23, 2020-George Paul & Rob Zisette (NC); Michael Karcher caller (donate to them at or venmo@georgepaulmusic or send a check to George Paul, 2812 Messer Rd, Valdese, NC 28690 New CD is available at!

July 16, 2020-Betsy Branch & Mark Douglass; William Watson caller (all Portland, OR); (donate to them at venmo@Betsy-Branch-2 or, or send a check to Betsy Branch, 2237 SE Ash St, Portland OR 97214)

July 9, 2020-Ryan McKasson & Jeff Spero (of "The Syncopaths") - WA & CA; Jacqui Grennan (CA) caller (donate to them at or Venmo@Jeffrey-Spero-2 or send a check to: Jeffrey Spero, 4101 Charles Avenue, Culver City, CA 90232)

July 2, 2020-"Pete's Posse" (Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon, & Tristan Henderson - VT); Adam Carlson caller (donate to them at or send a check made out to Pete's Posse, 2 Pavilion Ave, South Burlington VT 05403)

June 25,2020-Dante & Eros Faulk (of "The Reds") - Olympia WA; Claire Takemori (CA) caller (donate to them at or venmo@DanteFaulk or send a check to Dante Faulk, 3105 Glen Ayre Lane NW, Olympia WA 98502)

June 18, 2020-"Eloise & Co." (Rachel Bell & Becky Tracy - Brattleboro, VT); Seth Tepfer (Atlanta, GA) caller (donate to them at or or send a check to Rachel Bell, 15 Reynolds Dr. Apt 1, Brattleboro VT 05301)

June 11, 2020-Sande Gillette, Alan Roberts, & Kern Gillette (of "Monday Night Live") with caller Seth Tepfer (Atlanta GA); (donations to CDSS will be matched via or send a check directly to CDSS, 116 Pleasant St, Suite 345, Easthampton MA 01027-2759)

June 4, 2020-"Countercurrent" (Alex Sturbaum & Brian Lindsay) with caller Susan Michaels (donate to them at or by check to 2126 N 86th St, Seattle, 98103.)

May 28, 2020-Audrey Knuth & Ben Jaber (CA Bay Area) with caller Isaac Banner (donate to them at OR Venmo @Audrey-Knuth OR by check to 2716 Landis Street, San Diego CA 92104)

May 21, 2020-"Dear Crow" (Brian Lindsay of "Countercurrent" & Penka Jane Culevski of "Try-Works") with caller Noah Grunzweig (Portland) (donate to them at or contact at

May 14, 2020-WB Reid & Bonnie Zahnow with caller Michael Karcher (donate to them at

Here are some hints for contra dancing with imaginary friends ("ghosts"), especially if you are dancing solo:

In your room, decide where is up the hall (usually where the music is) and across the set.

If you have difficulty following the calls without other people there, relax - you can still do the moves, and not worry where in the imaginary set you end up. Miss a move - so what? You won't throw anyone else off.

You may get dizzy while "swinging". Hold your arms up in imaginary ballroom position, and focus on your hand (in place of a partner's face).

To keep track of which role you are in (if that matters to you), end a (virtual) swing holding the (virtual) hand of the (virtual) person you (virtually) swung with.

If there is a couple on the screen walking through the dance, it is easier if you align yourself with the person dancing the same role as yourself.

You can "pin" another dancer, if you are using a tablet or mobile phone it will feel like you are dancing with them. We enable multiple pinning!

Looking forward to seeing you! Virtual hugs, and stay well - Sherry

Continue to take precautions, and check for health updates: "Real" dances, bands and callers will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Please help the musicians by contributing what you can, and purchasing their recordings directly from them or at online sites like bandcamp. Be safe, stay healthy.

Check out the Lake City Contra Dance channel on YouTube!

Until March 5, 2020 our "real" dances were every Thursday night at the
Seattle Latvian Center

11710 3rd Ave NE

Free introductory workshop at 7:00pm

Dance 7:30 pm till 10:30 pm

Admission $8 - 14, kids & first-time contradancers free


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

Contra Dance - Code of Conduct and Contra Dance - Safety & Consent Agreement


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 "larks & robins" (traditionally "gents & ladies") to refer to the positions of the people in the dance – in each couple,the "Lark"(traditionally "gent")is on the Left & the "Robin"(traditionally "lady") is on the Right. Unlike other social dances, either person in contra dancing can lead or follow depending on the figure. Just remember your own role label, and dance with whoever is coming towards you in line, regardless of their appearance.

∗ 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.

Last modified 03/06/21.