In Focus: Bemidji Contra Dance Series Back For 2nd Session
It’s time to grab a partner and throw on your dancing shoes! The Bemidji Contra Dance series is back for a 2nd session, thanks in part to the Region 2 Arts Council.
“We have our advisory group and I wrote a grant for Region 2 [Arts] Council, and they just funded our 3rd grant and start-up next week, so we’re very grateful to Region 2 [Arts] Council and also we are grateful to Headwaters School of Music and Arts for being our fiscal sponsor,” says Wendy Greenburg, the contra dance series caller and organizer.
Contra dancing is a lively traditional social dance that originated in New England. It is now done all over the United States. Live music is also usually a big component of the dances.
Greenberg says, “These are just dances. The contra dance – traditionally, you don’t go to a class to contra dance. You show up to a dance and they train you in. The people that have already been there before know how to do it. We start with stuff. I just call to whatever the crowd is up for.”
There no experience required for contra dancing. All you have to do is be wiling to get on the dance floor. You don’t even need a friend. You can show up solo and still have a good time.
“If you can walk in time to the music, then you can contra dance. Everything else we teach. If you have a partner you’d like to dance with, wonderful. If you don’t have anybody that you want to come with, fine. If you have someone you come with and want to keep trading out partners, I actually recommend because than you can dance with someone who’s done it before and that gets you up to speed faster,” says Greenberg.
All ages are welcome at the sessions, so it’s a great activity for the whole family or if you just want to get out the house.
“We love being with community with meeting new people, and it’s being something that’s an activity and that we’re not just talking. We’re talking and sharing but we’re also moving and the music is just wonderful. We love it,” says Cynthia Hansen, who was a part of the contra dance.
The 2nd series of the contra dances will run through May. A sign-up is not required, but it is encouraged through Facebook.
“We’re right here at Rail River [Folk School] Saturday nights at 7. The next is November 17th, the one after that is December 8th and then if you search for Bemidji Contra Dance on Facebook, you’ll see all the information,” says Greenberg.
You can find the Bemidji Contra Dance Sessions Facebook page here.