Country Dance*New York will present the Fall Fling contra dance tonight, November 17, 2012 from 9:00 pm to 11:45 pm at the Chinatown YMCA's Houston Street Center (273 Bowery, near Houston Street, Manhattan). No previous experience is required. From 8:30 pm to 9:00 pm there is a beginner's contra workshop, and the caller walks everyone through the patterns of each dance. There is also a contra dance for experienced dancers from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm.
Contra dancing started in New England in the 1700s, but the modern version is a far cry from the Virginia Reel-type dancing done in schools years ago. The current dancing is done in long lines of dancers facing their partners and moving briskly in patterns to live music, sometimes changing partners.
Live music will be provided by superb musicians in the New England dance band, Blue State.They celebrate the joy, vitality and diversity of contra dance music.The band is comprised of Lise Brown (tenor sax and flute), Naomi Morse (fiddle), Stuart Kenney (bass), and Mary Kay Brass (piano). Steve Zakon-Anderson, who has been calling contra dances with great skill and infectious energy for over 25 years, will lead the proceedings. His clear teaching, precise calling and sense of humor have made him a favorite of dancers of all ages and abilities.
Contra dancing is having a renaissance around the country, thanks to a thriving youth scene; high energy, acoustic music; and joyful, fast-paced, aerobic dancing. There is plenty of swinging your partner and lots of fun, flirting and eye contact. Some men wear kilts or skirts. Women dance with men, men dance with men, and women dance with women.
Admission for the afternoon (5:45 pm start time) experienced dance, when the patterns are likely to be complex and the instruction abbreviated, is $12 general public, and $10 for full-time students with ID.
Admission to the evening dance (for dancers at all levels from beginners to experienced) is $18 general public, and $15 for full-time students with ID. First timers get a free pass to use to come another time.
For more information visit the Country Dance*New York website, www.cdny.org or call The Dancephone at 212.459.4080. Attendees are asked to bring a separate pair of clean, soft-soled shoes for dancing.
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Bary