Contra Dance, Square Dance, and Waltz

This page tries to keep track of all contra dances in Iowa including dance camps and weekends along with other events in Iowa which include contra dancing. Because most of the information is gathered from web sites and the listings are not updated as frequently as the web sites, dancers should visit the web sites for up-to-date information. If you are aware of any dances, dance series or other events that should be included on this list, please e-mail me.

Note: No current schedule notes.

August 2017
Saturday, August 26, 2017  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): Lonna Nachtigal; Band(s)/Musician(s): The Barn Owl Band; Note:

Saturday, August 26, 2017  Dance Series: Iowa City Location: Iowa City Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): TBA; Note:

September 2017
Saturday, September 23, 2017  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): TBA; Note:

October 2017
Saturday, October 28, 2017  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): The Barn Owl Band; Note:

January 2018
Saturday, January 27, 2018  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): TBA; Note:

February 2018
Saturday, February 24, 2018  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): TBA; Note:

March 2018
Saturday, March 24, 2018  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): TBA; Note:

April 2018
Saturday, April 28, 2018  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): TBA; Note:

May 2018
Saturday, May 26, 2018  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): TBA; Note:

June 2018
Saturday, June 23, 2018  Dance Series: Ames Location: Ames Caller(s): TBA; Band(s)/Musician(s): TBA; Note:

Venue and dance information

Ames: The Central Iowa Barn Dance Association sponsors dances on the 4th Saturday of the month at the Collegiate-Wesley Annex, 130 S Sheldon, Ames from 8-11 PM. Admission is $5 / $4 student. Info: (515) 292-5587. You don't need to bring a partner or wear a special costume - just wear comfortable clothes. If it's your first time, we'll make you feel welcome. No lessons necessary! Dances are walked through and called. No street shoes on the dance floor. Please bring a pair of clean, smooth-soled shoes to change into. Socks or bare feet are OK too. Web site:

Ames - Prairie Moon Winery: Stop out for a dancing lesson and don't forget your boots! We're having an old-fashioned hoedown $4 admission (21+). 3pm to 6pm. Web site:

Davenport: Folk Dance with Live Dance Music at the Baxter Fellowship Hall at Edwards Church, 3420 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport from 7pm to 10pm. Singles, couples, families, . . . ALL ARE WELCOME! No need to know how to dance! Any Monetary Good Will Donation for admission accepted. Web site: None.

Decorah: Dances at the United Church of Christ, 209 W Broadway St, Decorah, IA 52101. Dancing from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Admission $7. Kids 12 and under free. Info: Kate Narveson (563) 382-3898; Erik Sessions (563) 387-0837. Web site: None.

Decorah - Family Dance: Family dances at the Congregational Church on 209 W. Broadway, Decorah. Dance is from 2pm to 3:30pm. Admission is $5, with a maximum of $10 per family. Info: Kate Narveson (563) 382-3898; Erik Sessions (563) 387-0837. Web site: None.

Decorah - Marty's Cafe: Luther College Wellness will host a Family Dance with live music and an experienced dance leader from 2:30-4 p.m. in Marty's Café, in Centennial Union at Luther College, Decorah, IA. The dance is open to the public with no charge for admission. No experience is necessary. Beginners are welcome! Questions? contact Rachel Sandhorst, - Web site: None.

Decorah - Water Street Music Series: Event at the Trout Head Trailhead at the west end of Main Street at 7:00pm. Dance lesson at 6:30pm. Donations welcome. Bring your own chair and enjoy. Web site:

Des Moines: Dances at the South Gate Masonic Lodge, 1111 Randolph Street, Des Moines, IA. 2nd Saturday of the month, 7-10pm. Potluck supper at 6pm usually precedes a dance. Admission is $5-$10 (give what you can); 12 and under free. Long time dancers show new dancers the moves. Enjoy easier dances early and more challenging dances later. Partners and experience provided. Indoor shoes, breathable clothes, and refillable water bottle recommended. Bring snacks for sharing. Info: Reid Miller, 608-852-4524, - Web site:

Des Moines - Dance at the Lake: It doesn't matter if you've got two left feet or can shake your groove thing with the best of them, the new summer social dance series at Gray's Lake Park called "Dancing at the Lake" has a little something for everyone. Every Thursday night during the summer, come out and learn to dance social dances like salsa, swing, line dancing or contra dancing. Lessons start on the Overlook Terrace at 7:30 and the dancing begins at 8:00. Each week (June – August ) will feature a different kind of dancing and music. Web site:

Des Moines - National Square Dance Convention: Annual Convention with a little contra dancing. Register in advance for a discount. There may or may not be a separate contra dance track with live music and special registration. Web site:

Des Moines - Java Joe's: Old-Time Music and Dance Jam Workshop from 2:00 to 4:00 pm Java Joe's 4th Street Theatre, 214 4th Street, Des Moines. Admission $7, musicians and audience. For further information, please contact Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo at 515.689.1434 or - Web site: None.

Des Moines - New Year's Eve: Make Plans Now To Escape the Cold and Dance In The New Year! Location: St Lukes Episcopal Church, 3424 Forest Ave, Des Moines (3 blocks from Drake U) from 7pm to 10pm. $10 donation (or what you can afford); Come and Enjoy! Web site:

Des Moines - St. Lukes: Dances at St Lukes Episcopal Church, 3424 Forest Ave, Des Moines, IA. Donation $10 (or what you can afford). 7:30pm to 10:30pm. FREE instruction. Brief walk-through before each dance (if needed). Partner optional. Snacks and beverages to share, and indoor shoes to protect the floor, requested. Please refrain from using fragrances and alcohol (til after the Ample parking behind the church. Web site:

Fairfield: The Fairfield Folk Arts and Dance Co-Op hosts Community Contra Dances at Fellowship of the Holy Spirit, 51 N Court Street (with caller and usually with live music) usually 1st Saturday following 1st Friday of the month, 8-11 pm -- check website for dates and featured bands. ≤12years.old free; ≥13years-old: $5 minimum donation, and more if you'd like to support contra dance in Fairfield, beginners' lesson at 7:30 pm. All dances taught and called. No partner or experience necessary. Singles, couples, families, veterans and newcomers welcome. Questions? Call Jack at (641) 469-5243 or email Fairfolk3 "at" SomaStream "dot" net \ Web site:

Fairfield - Morning Star: Everyone is invited to a special contra dance at the Morning Star Studio Ballroom in Fairfield Iowa, at 51 South Court. Please tell your friends. Beginner Lesson/Brush Up 7 pm, dancing starts at 7:30 pm! All are welcome; no partner or experience necessary. There is no fancy footwork to dancing. If you can walk you can dance contra dance! Lively tunes get you on your feet -- and inspired calling gets you twirling and smiling. It's great fun! Admission: People under 12 years old dance free; $5 for students and people 65 and over; everyone else: $10. Feel free to bring yummy snacks to share. Experienced dancers: Please be sure to dance with beginners, especially for the first few dances. Please bring a pair of soft soled shoes to dance in, to protect the beautiful wood floor of the ballroom. Questions: Contact April at, 641/472-8072. Web site:

Fairfield - Morningstar Studio - New Year's Eve: Family dance from 7:30pm to 8:30pm; $15 per family; sliding scale, individuals pay what you can. Contra dancing from 8:30pm to midnight, $10. Music and other dancing happening in other parts of the Studio. Web site:

Highlandville: Dances at the The Highlandville Schoolhouse. We recommend you keep in mind the fact that there is no running water at the schoolhouse, and that the restroom facilities consist of outhouses. There is a working refrigerator (ancient) at the schoolhouse for keeping beverages cool. Admission to all Highlandville Dances (held at the old two-room schoolhouse in Highlandville, north of Decorah from 8-11 p.m.) is $5.00 for adults, children 12 and under free. Web site:

Highlandville (2)Contra Dance at 8:00pm at the Highlandville School. Never taken part in this American folk tradition? Not a problem - all are welcome! No partner or experience is necessary - we teach basic steps at 7:30, with dancing to begin at 8:00. Cost: $7, children 12 and under free. Questions or directions? contact Erik Sessions, 387-0837 or ( Web site: None.

Iowa City: The Ralston Creek Country Dancers hold dances from 7:30-10:30 pm at "The Center," 28 South Linn Street (corner of Linn and Washington), normally on the 4th Saturday of the month. Fee: sliding scale $5-15; pay what you can at the door. Beginners' lesson at 7:30. 8:00-10:30 PM dance contra, squares, circles, and waltzes. All dances taught and called. No partner necessary. Singles, couples, families, veterans and newcomers welcome. Web site:

Nevada: Dance location: The community building (it's gray and looks like an old barn because it is) on the Story County Fairground, south end of W. 1st Street, Nevada, Iowa. Guest callers and musicians (open band) welcome. Note: Great wooden floor. Potluck 6pm, dance 7-10pm. All ages welcome. No need to bring a partner or to have dance experience. No admission fee; donations will be accepted to pay for the hall. Good food, music, dancing…what could be better? Information: - Web site:

Newton: Dance at the Jasper County Community Center, 2401 First Ave East, Newton, IA from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM.. Keep the Old-Fashioned Community Barn Dance Groove Going! Dance Squares, Circles, and Contras! Awesome live music. Family friendly event. Everyone welcome. Experienced dancers quicken the learning curve by showing new dancers how the figures go. All dances are taught. No partner or experience are needed. Bring re-fillable water bottle. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Admission: $5-$10* ~ Babies and Toddlers Free. Family Maximum: $20-$30 * please pay what you can so we can cover hall rental and show our appreciation for the live music and calling. No alcohol. Info: 641-275-1204, or - Web site:

Newton - Sugar Groves Vineyards: Barn dance with contras at the Sugar Groves Vineyards and Gathering Place, 6602 Ginger Ave, Newton, IA 50208. Web site: None.

Oskaloosa: Dances at the Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum, 2211 Nelson Lane, Oskaloosa, Iowa, 641-672-2989. Families are welcome. No experience is necessary and a partner is not needed. Dances will be taught. Dance is from 7pm to 9pm and includes squares, rounds and contras. Free admission, donations welcome. Web site:

Urbandale - Living History Farms: Dance at the Church of the Land for an old fashioned holiday social with dancing and music by the Barn Owl Band from 6-8 pm as part of a "Flynn Family Christmas" (entire event is at two locations and goes from 4pm to 6pm). Tickets $6 ($5 for LHF members). Web site:

Waukon - Thunder in the Park: A dance is part of the Civil War Reenactment weekend. Period dress not required. Web site:

This page is part of the web site. For more information about contra dancing, visit these other site pages:

Sites and Pages

Contra Dance Links Home Page

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*The Colorado link will bring you to Dancing on the Web. The Maine link will bring you to the Downeast Friends of the Folk Arts. The New Mexico link will bring you to the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. The Utah link will bring you to Utah Contradance Information. These fine organizations and individuals already have complete listings for these states and there is no reason for me to duplicate their efforts.

**As far as I know, there are no regular dances or events in Mississippi, South Dakota or Wyoming, but I have created pages if something changes in the future.
Produced by Charlie Seelig
Last updated on August 14, 2017