Round contra

What, when and where?

We're holding a contra dance with the Round and caller Charlie Turner on Saturday 7th May 2022. The dancing will run from 8pm – 11pm, with an intro lesson at 7.45pm. It will be held at the Stoneyard Centre, 43 St Andrew's St, Cambridge, CB2 3AR [Google maps, openstreetmap].

The venue is just off St Andrew’s Street, down a short passage next to St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church. The hall is upstairs, at the back of the building. If you arrive late, you may need to ring the bell and wait for someone to come down and let you in.

Tickets are available on the door. The prices are £8 for standard and £5 for students or if you're unwaged or otherwise can't afford full price. You can pay with contactless or cash.

What's contra?

Contra dance is community folk dance similar to ceilidh or barn dance, and we will dance to live music! No partner is necessary, and new dancers are very welcome. As it is a community dance, you are welcome to ask anybody to dance, and everybody is supportive and friendly in enjoying the dance together.

A caller leads the dancers through a series of moves, they dance them with a partner and another pair of dancers, before progressing each time through the dance to meet the next people in the set. The caller teaches each dance before it is done with music, then leads the dances along with the music. Once the dancers have mastered a particular dance, the caller will stop calling, leaving the dancers to enjoy the movement with music alone.

What do I bring? What do I wear?

Bring a water bottle and wear comfy shoes (preferably not too grippy). Swirly skirts are also a lot of fun to wear for contra. You don't need to bring a partner.

Covid policy

While we are very happy to be able to dance again, we need to ensure that the health of all our dancers is protected. We ask people attending the dance to observe the following:

We will:

Contra dancing inevitably involves hand-to-hand or arm-to-arm contact. Some dances involve the rather closer bodily contact of ‘ballroom hold’, but alternatives are possible. Please be ready to adapt to other dancers who are uncomfortable with the closer contact.

Face coverings have been shown to reduce COVID-19 infections in indoor spaces, and the University in general recommends them when inside and unable to social-distance. However, they are currently not recommended for vigorous physical activity. Please respect others’ choices about wearing masks. (Their interpretation of ‘vigorous’ may be different from yours!)

The Team (and their cats)

A cat sitting on top of another cat.

Charlie Turner has been dancing and teaching for as long as she can remember, but a move to San Francisco transformed her contra dancing and started her calling. Now based in Cambridge, UK, she brings the best of the West Coast to contra crowds, with clear, friendly teaching and satisfying dance selections. She emphasises connection, fun, flow and inclusivity in dance. Her favourite cats are Milou and Lili, who live with her parents.

A black cat sitting on the floor.

Flying Cat (Caro Appleby and James Rhodes) enjoy regularly dancing contra in various places around the country. They play for a variety of different forms of dancing, and for contra will generally be found playing piano and melodeon, playing tunes from all around the British Isles as well as further afield. They have a cat called Meatballs, named after the tune Meatballs, Whiskey and Beer.

A black cat sitting on a lawn, staring towards the sky.

The Round is Cambridge University’s English Country Dance Society. They originally danced mainly Playford dances (think Jane Austen but much more informal) but now dances a mix of Playford dances, ceilidh dances, American style contras and anything else the callers fancy. They meet every Thursday during full term between 8pm and 10pm in Wesley Church Hall, Cambridge, England and also hold other events during the academical year. Special thanks to Spikey and Sam for helping organise and run this event.

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