The Montpelier Contra Dance has Restarted!
The Montpelier Contra Dance is excited to announce that we have restarted our dance series, first, third, and fifth Saturdays from 8–11 pm! We celebrated our restart on April 16, 2022, with 200 dancers in attendance, after more than two years on hiatus due to the COVID pandemic (see photo). We have held successful, joyful dances regularly since then and are scheduling dances into 2023.
If this is your first time dancing with us, please keep reading after the COVID section for a basic overview of our dance.
Contra dancing is joyful and community oriented — and it always involves some risk. We are requiring that all dancers wear high-quality masks to help keep our dance safer while COVID is still afoot. We ask for your help and cooperation with this safety measure. Here are the details.
All dancers must wear well-fitting, high quality masks. Cloth masks are not accepted: N95, KN95, KF94, or surgical masks (a.k.a. medical procedure masks) must be worn. Why? Cloth masks are much less effective at preventing transmission of COVID: see chart here for details. We will provide a mask for anyone who needs one at no charge. Musicians are asked to wear masks if able; some musicians (like wind instrument players) may not be able to mask given their performance needs, and some callers may choose to unmask for greater clarity while teaching.
As of July 16, 2022, we are no longer requiring proof of vaccination to attend the dance. You can read more about the reasoning behind this change here.
Contact tracing: i.e. What if someone gets COVID at the dance?
As of Oct 29, 2022, we are no longer requiring dancers to provide names and emails for contact tracing, though we will still send out an email about any positive COVID cases following a dance. If you would like to receive this notification, you may choose to give us your name and email when you attend the dance, or click on the form link below. (If you have attended a dance between April and October 2022, you are already on our list and don’t need to provide this information again!) We will only contact you if there is a confirmed COVID case following a dance, unless you give us permission to put you on our email list. We will also post a notice of any COVID cases following a dance on this web page and on our Facebook page.
Sign up for contact tracing info, and for the Montpelier Contra Dance email newsletter on the form at this link. The newsletter gets sent out a couple of days before each dance, and if there is news about COVID exposure or changes in our COVID protocols.
Please let us know if you test positive for COVID in the 5 days following a contra dance by emailing email@example.com; we will keep your name anonymous but we do want to share the COVID info with other dancers in the event of a positive case.
Please stay home if:
- If you or someone in your household had your first positive test result for COVID within 10 days before a dance, please do not attend.
- If you have symptoms of COVID or otherwise feel sick, please do not attend.
We’ll miss you and we’ll see you at the next dance. Feel better soon!
If you have questions about when it’s safe to return to the dance following a COVID infection, please contact the organizers: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ventilation & filtration
The Capital City Grange has improved the ventilation in the hall since 2020. This includes installing a new whole-room exhaust fan in the ceiling, which pulls fresh air in through the windows. You can expect the windows to be fully open, so dress accordingly. The Grange has also built and installed four room air filter boxes on each floor that circulate air and filter it to trap particles, including COVID aerosol-sized particles. These may be running as well.
Please wash your hands frequently. We want you to stay hydrated, but please keep your mask on when not drinking water. If you need a break from wearing a mask, please go outdoors (though be mindful to clean your shoes well before re-entering the hall to protect our beautiful floor!). Please be kind and gentle with one another as we navigate this transition back to dancing during the time of COVID.
What if things change?
The dance organizing team will revisit these requirements as COVID numbers shift. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that we may need to adapt what we’re doing to work with changing circumstances. Please check this webpage or our Facebook page at facebook.com/montpeliercontradance for the most up to date information before you come dancing. You can also sign up for the Montpelier Contra Dance email newsletter at this link.
The slideshow above shows photos from our dance before 2020. Masks are currently required for all dancers.
What is contra dancing?
Contra dancing brings joy and laughter and friends into your life. It is fun beyond words. Contra dancing is done to live music — guitar and fiddle and other instruments, playing jigs and reels. A caller teaches each dance, and tells you what to do. You just need to know how to walk! No need to bring a partner. Our dance uses gender-neutral role terms, and we strive to be a safe place for everyone to dance.
When: 1st and 3rd Saturdays, 8–11 p.m: April 16, May 7 & 21, June 4 & 18
Newcomers lesson offered around 7:40 pm
Where: at the Capital City Grange in Berlin (located on Northfield Street/Route 12 just south of the I-89 overpass),
Cost: Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for kids or low-income, $20 for dance supporters–choose the right price for your budget!
What to bring: We suggest light, comfortable clothing — expect to wear short sleeves or a tank top, even in winter. Please bring clean, soft-soled shoes to preserve our floor. Bring a water bottle to refill at our water fountain/bottle filler. Please wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask; N95, KN95, KF94, or surgical masks are required (no cloth masks please).
Wait, so how does contra dancing work?
Contra dances are done in lines of couples. Beginners, singles, and all ages are welcome; all dances are taught. Each couple follows the calls, dancing with another couple. After you and your partner have done the dance figures with one couple, you do them with the next couple in line. By the end of the dance you have danced with everyone in your set.
There are about 8 or 9 dances in an evening. The convention is to ask a different partner for each dance and to ask people you don’t know to dance. You get to hear lively music, enjoy some exercise, meet your neighbors, and participate in a lively folk community and living tradition.
We are a friendly and open dance community. Whoever you are, we invite you to come share the joy of dancing with us!
Helpful hints: For new or experienced dancers, we’ve put together a list of helpful tips and dance etiquette.
The Montpelier Contra Dance’s mission is to run a welcoming and consistently high-caliber dance. We are committed to:
- Promoting and nurturing dancing for people of all ages and levels of experience in an environment that feels open and safe
- Providing a variety of musicians and callers that represent a compelling mix of local, regional, and national talent; and
- Encouraging the dance community to support the Capital City Grange as a great place to dance.
Want more info?
Sign up to get email reminders about dances, notifications about cancellations, and other dance info. No information is shared or sold from this list! Email Tim Swartz: email@example.com
For more information about the Montpelier Contra Dance, call Tim at 802-225-8921, or email him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about booking bands and callers, contact Dana at email@example.com.
About the organizers
The Montpelier Contra Dance organizing team is a volunteer group of Montpelier dancers. If you have questions, concerns, suggestions, or want to know more about the Montpelier dance at any time, feel free to talk with one of these folks:
- Dana Dwinell-Yardley
- Kurt Giavara
- Patty Giavara
- Jody Pettersen
- Alice Smolinsky
- Tim Swartz
- Thomas Weiss
Live elsewhere but want to try contra dancing?
For a listing of other dances, visit Try Contra: trycontra.com