When it comes to dancing, Contra is not Square

Orlando Sentinel

You've heard of square dancing and you've heard of line dancing, but did you know the granddaddy of partnered folk dance is called 'contra'? While modern square dancing comes out of a 1920s American revival of the art, contra dancing is the original social scene dance. Think of it as the first line dance, performed today much as it was during its origin in late 17th-century Europe.

Like square dancing, contra dances have a "caller," who instructs dance partners --facing each other in two long lines-- to various steps, and accompanied by a live, old-time fiddle band. Family friendly and open to all ages, no experience is required to participate.

To learn more about the vibrant art of contra dance, I spent an evening with the Central Florida Contra Dance Alliance during their annual "double-dance" in Casselberry. Not only did I learn the difference between contra and square, I discovered that contra dance clubs are popular across the Sunshine State -- with dances regularly held in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Cocoa Beach, Venice, Gainesville, Boca Raton, to name a few.

For more information on Contra dancing in Florida: http://dancefl.us/contra/ 

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