Lake City

Lake City Contra Dance at the Seattle Latvian Center

Thursday nights; doors open at 7 pm

Dances: intro/refresher workshop 7:15 pm, dancing 7:30 till 10:00 pm

Admission on a sliding scale $10 – 20 – pay what you can

The hall is well-ventilated and air-conditioned!

For more information call 206-525-0932, or email

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From 5th Avenue NE TURN WEST ONTO NE 117th STREET, and TURN RIGHT AT 3rd AVENUE NE. The road (driveway) leads past the hall to the parking lot (through the gate on the north side) and is a one-way loop all the way around the hall, with some limited parking available behind the building. There are 2 doors into the lobby; the side door up the walkway across from the parking lot, and the main door in the front courtyard.

Thursday, March 16, 2023: “KlezChaos” (17 musicians – violins, clarinets, saxophone, concertina, piano, bass, & hand percussion – led by Bernice Maslan) lights up the night with exuberant & soulful Klezmer music – so great for contra dancing! Sherry Nevins & Valerie Cohen call dances that fit just right!

Covid Information

All participants must show proof of being fully vaccinated with a booster (see below) and wear well-fitting face masks.

Participants must show proof of being fully vaccinated AND boosted when eligible. Because vaccine immunity has been shown to wane over time, being “fully-vaccinated” means “had every dose qualified for”. WE REQUIRE AT LEAST ONE BOOSTER for all who are eligible; NEW BIVALENT BOOSTERS ARE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Help keep yourself, and your community, safe! WELL-FITTING FACE MASKS ARE STILL REQUIRED (KN95 masks are provided for those who don’t have one).

All who have previously attended at least one of the Lake City “vaxxed” contra dances (or concerts) will check in at the door, but will not need to show their vaccination document again. Those who have NOT previously attended will need to show ID and proof of vaccination and fill out a registration form at the door. Check this website for details and any necessary updates!

All is subject to change with the fluctuating status of COVID-19. Check for updates on this site.

HERE is our vaxxed & masked dance track record to date. All events are held at the Seattle Latvian Center, with windows & doors wide open.

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).

Check out the Lake City Contra Dance channel on YouTube!

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

Mar 16-“KlezChaos”: 17 musicians led by Bernice Maslan play klezmer music for contra dancing; Sherry Nevins & Valerie Cohen callers

Mar 23-“Bubble and Squeak” (Susan Burke, Suzanne Taylor, Brad Reynolds – fiddle, flute, accordion, piano); David Kreiss-Tomkins caller

Mar 30-Noah VanNorstrand, Chris Miller, Dave Bartley (fiddle, mandolin, sax, banjo, guitar); Isaac Banner caller

Apr 6-Sande Gillette, Brad Reynolds, Dave Bartley (fiddle, accordion, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki); Kelsey Hartman (SF Bay Area) caller

Apr 13-Vivian Williams Tribute Open Band led by Terry Wergeland & WB ReidJoe Micheals, Sherry Nevins, & friends callers

Apr 20-Casey Murray & Molly Tucker – Boston ( “Dear Crow” (Brian Lindsay & Penka Jane Culevski) – fiddles, cello, banjo, guitar; Koren Wake caller

Apr 27 – NO dance tonight – the Latvian Center will be setting up for their giant annual rummage sale Saturday & Sunday April 29-30.

May 4-“Hummingbird” (Koren Wake, Melissa Coffey, Nick Leininger, Julie Bennett – fiddle, viola da gamba, ‘spaceship’, guitar, percussion); Craig Wolfe caller

For information about Past Dances, musicians & callers


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!

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

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” is on the Left & the “Robin” 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; just walk 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, hair, face mask…..

∗ 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.

Read footprints for a brief history of this dance series.