Note: Winter and storms may cause cancelations or other changes for dances in the northeast United States. Check the web sites for specific dances for updates (don't rely on this list to have the most up-to-date information).
Note: Doug Plummer's "Contra Project" is being shown at Terra Hall at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia from May 27, 2011 until August 5, 2011. More information.
This page tries to keep track of all contra dances in Pennsylvania and Delaware including dance camps and weekends along with other events in Pennsylvania and Delaware 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: Delaware is included in this page because there is currently only one dance series in Delaware and it is located at the northern tip of the state where is significant travel between Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Arden, Delaware: The Arden Folk Gild sponsors a Contra Dance on the first Sunday of every month, with some special dances on third Sundays. Dances are from 2 to 5 pm, with a free dance lesson from 1:30-2:00. Dances feature live bands and callers from Maine to North Carolina, a nice floor, and much more! Regular Admission is $10.00, $9.00/Arden Club members. Dances are held at the Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway. Web site: http://www.ardenclub.org/contraDance.htm.
Arden, Delaware - New Year's Day: The Arden Folk Gild sponsors a double-header dance with International Folk Dancing (2:00pm to 5:00pm) in the afternoon, a potluck supper (5:00pm to 7:00pm), and then a Contra Dance (7:00pm to 10:00pm) on New Year's Day. Price is $11 for each dance ($10 for members) or $21 for both dances ($19 for members). Dances are held at the Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway. Web site: http://www.ardenclub.org/contraDance.htm.
Arden, Delaware - Wednesday: The Arden Folk Gild sponsors folk dancing on Wednesdays, sometimes with square dancing as part of the bill. Dances are from 7:30pm to 9:30pm and admission is $5 ($4 for members). Dances are held at the Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway. Web site: http://www.ardenclub.org/contraDance.htm.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: The Valley Contra Dance is located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley (UUCLV), 424 Center Street, corner of Wall Street in historic Bethlehem. The time is 7:30 - 10:30 PM , with dance instruction at 7:00. Generally, but not always, dances are on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, with some 5th Saturdays and other dates. No partner or experience needed, families welcome. The moves in the dances are called by a caller. Music is live. Cost: $9.00 (age 7-15, students with ID $5.00, $1 discount for members) Bring a snack to share at the break. Please carry in clean soft-soled shoes for dancing, to protect the floor (and our reputation)). PARKING ALERT: We try to avoid crowding the residents of the neighborhood around the church. Please consider using two nearby parking lots on Center Street belonging to: United Labor Unions, 1 block south of the church, or Herron Funeral Home, 1 block north. Web site: http://www.valleycontradance.org/.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - ButterBall Friday: This special dance is a prelude to the ButterBall the next day and is sponsored by the Valley Contra Dance. The dance is held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley (UUCLV), 424 Center Street, corner of Wall Street in historic Bethlehem. The time is 7:30 - 10:30 PM , with dance instruction at 7:00. No partner or experience needed, families welcome. The moves in the dances are called by a caller. Music is live. $10 afternoon dance, $10 evening dance $18 both. Bring a snack to share at the break. Please carry in clean soft-soled shoes for dancing, to protect the floor (and our reputation)). PARKING ALERT: We try to avoid crowding the residents of the neighborhood around the church. Please consider using two nearby parking lots on Center Street belonging to: United Labor Unions, 1 block south of the church, or Herron Funeral Home, 1 block north. Web site: http://www.valleycontradance.org/.
Broomall, Pennsylanvia - Mostly Waltz: Mostly Waltz invites you to an afternoon of dancing to beautiful live music. In addition to the waltzes, the program includes other couple dances, such as swing, tango, polka, one-step, schottische, fox-trot, etc...more. The Sunday afternoon program: 2:30 - 3:30 Intermediate Lesson (changes monthly); 2:45 - 3:30 Basic Waltz Lesson; 3:30 - 6:00 Dancing to Live Music, starting with a waltz mixer. (Bring your favorite recordings for the break at 4:45). Admission $12, full-time student $6 (includes lessons). Reduced admission for volunteers. Location: Felinton Hall, 715 Paxon Hollow Road. Web site: http://www.mostlywaltz.com/.
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: Dance from 7:30pm - 10:30pm at the Pem Dance Studio. Web site (for the college): http://brynmawr.edu.
Canadensis, Pennsylvania - Spring Thing: Weekend run by volunteers with workshops and events in folk arts, music, dance, hiking, swimming, etc. in late May. Register in advance. Web site: http://www.pfs.org/SPR.php.
Elverson, Pennsylvania: We dance on the first Saturday of every month except July and August. Our monthly dances are mostly contras, with some square or round dances for variety. Partners are not required (singles are welcome) and newcomers are encouraged to join us. We recommend that first-timers of any age attend an informal half-hour session before the dance to learn the basics. (It's fun, and you'll do fine. We promise!). Most dances are held at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 61 Morningside Drive, just east of 'downtown' Elverson, Pa. The teaching session for newcomers usually begins at 7 p.m. General admission is $8, Members $7. Discounts for students and seniors. Prices may vary for special events. Web site: http://elversoncontra.org/.
Galilee, Pennsylvania: Dances are held on the third Saturday of each month from May to November at 7pm to 10pm (beginners workshop from 7:00pm to 7:30pm) at the Unity Grange, 554 Galilee Road. We always have live music and callers. There's a pre-dance workshop, beginners and kids are welcome. Admission is $5 per person, $10 per family. Potluck snacks at half-time. Contact: email@example.com or 570-224-4653 for more info or for more information: 570/729-7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: None.
Beaver Falls: A new contradance group is getting started at Geneva College in Geneva. Initial dances will use recorded music. Dance will run from 7:00-10:30pm (the lesson is 7:00-7:30) and will be held at 3400 5th Ave, Beaver Falls PA 15010, the College Hill Presbyterian Church. Admission is $1 per person, casual dress. Information: Hannah Wisniewski email@example.com - Geneva College Contra Dance Club President. Web site: None.
Glenside, Pennsylvania - 3rd Saturdays: Contras and Squares from 8:00pm to 11:00 pm (Beginner's lessons shortly after 7:30). Glenside Memorial Hall at Waverly Rd. and Keswick Ave. Admission: Varies, see dance listing. Refreshments served at the break. Web site: http://www.thursdaycontra.com/ThirdSaturday.html.
Glenside, Pennsylvania - Thursdays: Dances from 8pm to 11pm every Thursday Night ~ Instruction at 7:30 pm. Admission $7 and $8 (see listings). Glenside Memorial Hall at Waverly Rd. and Keswick Ave. Free admission for children 12 and under. $5 for students of any age with valid student ID. Web site: http://www.thursdaycontra.com/.
Glenside, Pennsylvania - New Year's Eve: Special New Year's Eve Dance. Glenside Memorial Hall at Waverly Rd. and Keswick Ave. Web site: http://www.thursdaycontra.com/.
Glenside, Pennsylvania - Winter Cotillion: Special dance sponsored by the 3rd Saturday series. Glenside Memorial Hall at Waverly Rd. and Keswick Ave. Come Dressed in Your Holiday Best - Seasonal Decorations & Scrumptious Refreshments. Admission $14; students $10. Web site: http://www.thursdaycontra.com/ThirdSaturday.html.
Grove City, Pennsylvania: Join us almost monthly from September through May at the YMCA Building, 543 E Main Street Ext. Beginners' Lesson at 7 PM. Dancing 7:30 to 10:30 PM. Donation $8 per person. Family (of 4 or more) $24. $6 for students and seniors. No experience or partner necessary. No lessons required; all dances are taught by the caller. Smoke-free, alcohol-free, family-friendly environment. Please wear soft-soled shoes to protect the floor. Web site: http://www.grovecitycontradance.com/.
Grove City, Pennsylvania - Dance in the Middle: Dance weekend in August. Pre-register or pay for individual dances at the door. Event held at the Grove City YMCA, 543 E. Main Street Ext. Web site: http://www.grovecitycontradance.com/dance%20middle.html.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Harrisburg Area Contra Dance Association holds the Locust Lane Contra Dance on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month. Dances include mostly contras, but also traditional squares, circles, mixers, hambos, schottisches, waltzes, and more. Location: the social hall of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church at 5501 Locust Lane. Evening Schedule: Dance Intro: 7:30 pm; Dance: 8:00 - 11:00 pm. Costs: Adults: $9, Students: $4, Ages 13-19: $4, Ages 12 and under: free. Dress comfortably. The hall has a beautiful wood floor, wonderful for dancing, so bring and wear comfortable, non-marking shoes (high heels are not recommended for dancing). Web site: http://locustlanecontra.freeservers.com/.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - New Year's Eve: The Harrisburg Area Contra Dance Association holds the Locust Lane Contra Dance on New Year's Eve. Dances include mostly contras, but also traditional squares, circles, mixers, hambos, schottisches, waltzes, and more. Location: the social hall of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church at 5501 Locust Lane. Evening Schedule: Dance Intro: 7:30 pm; Dance: 8:00 - 11:00 pm. Costs: Adults: $9, Students: $4, Ages 13-19: $4, Ages 12 and under: free. Dress comfortably. The hall has a beautiful wood floor, wonderful for dancing, so bring and wear comfortable, non-marking shoes (high heels are not recommended for dancing). Web site: http://locustlanecontra.freeservers.com/.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Frolic in the Fall: One day, twelve hour dance in late September at Camp Reilly, 300 Camp Reiley Road. Web site: http://home.comcast.net/~davecolestock/frolic.html.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Harrisburg Jazz and Multicultural Festival: Multi-genre music festival, lots of food, plus a contra dance. Held in early July. Web site: http://www.harrisburgevents.com/.
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania - Folk College: The Huntingdon County Arts Council Folk College is a fun and friendly weekend of playing and listening to folk music - a fantastic three days of workshops, jam sessions, concerts, and group playing. The camp is designed for musicians with eclectic tastes. The weekend includes one contra dance. Register in advance. Held at the Juniata College campus in late May. Web site: http://simplegiftsmusic.com/folkcollege/.
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania - Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering: A weekend of music workshops, jamming, concerts and dancing at Greenwood Furnace State Park in Central Pennsylvania. Register in advance. Web site: http://www.folkgathering.com/index.html.
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania: Public dance and concert as part of the Folk College Weekend. Held at Juniata College. Before the dance gets underway, a concert will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the Suzanne von Liebig Theater in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets for both the concert and dance are only $10 ($8 for HCAC members) and can be purchased at the door or in advance from the Huntingdon County Arts Council. firstname.lastname@example.org or (814) 643-6220. Web site: http://www.folkcollege.com.
Kimberton - Hootenanny: A contra dance is part of this afternoon and evening event at Camphill Kimberton, 1601 Pughtown Road. Conrta dancing with a live band will be at 5:30 p.m. Craft vendors, kids games, face painting and raffles will be available. Admission is $10, $8 in advance. Food is sold separately. Web site: http://www.camphillkimberton.org/.
Kingston, Pennsylvania: The Folklore Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania sponsors New England Contra Dancing for the entire community. Dances are usually held on the first Saturday of the month, 7:30-10:30pm. A free introductory workshop begins at 7:15pm. Dances are held at the Church of Christ Uniting, 190 South Sprague Avenue. Newcomers and people of all ages, with or without a partner, are welcome and can learn the steps the first night. Admission is $9 for adults, $4 for children, and $25 for families. You can also call the Chicory House hot line: 570.825.8772 for a recorded announcement. Web site: http://www.folkloresociety.org/Dancing.html.
Kresgeville, Pennsylvania - Head for the Hills: A weekend mix of contra, English, ceilidh, swing, performances, music, etc. in the Poconos in November. Sponsored by the Princeton Country Dancers. Register in advance. Web site: http://www.head-for-the-hills.com/index.htm.
Lake Como, Pennsylvania: The Folk Music Society of New York sponsors a spring weekend of concerts, workshops and classes in late May at the Kiskak Adult Center. Register in advance. Web site: http://www.minstrelrecords.com/fmsny/weekends.html.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania: The Lancaster Contra Dance happens every 3rd Saturday of the month, except for July. Whether you're an experienced dancer, or have never attended a dance before, you'll find that our community is warm and welcoming. It is NOT necessary to attend the dance as a couple. Admission prices: Adults: $8, Students: $5, Children 15 and younger: FREE. For further questions, please contact Shane .Knudsen: email@example.com or (717)-538-5833. Summer dances are at Pavilion #11 in Lancaster County Central Park (5:30pm Potluck; 6:15pm Beginners' Workshop; 7:00pm Dance). Non-summer dances are at St. John's Episcopal Church, 321 W. Chestnut Street (7:15pm Beginners' Workshop; 8:00pm Dance). Web site: http://www.lancastercontra.org/.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania - Youth Contra Dance: Special Youth Contra Dance sponsored by The Lancaster Contra Dance. This is a dance for youth age 13-20 or thereabouts. (We won't be checking IDs) Dances will be taught and called. Admission is free. For further questions, please contact Shane Knudsen: firstname.lastname@example.org or (717)-538-5833. Non-summer dances are at St. John's Episcopal Church, 321 W. Chestnut Street (7:15pm Beginners' Workshop; 8:00pm Dance). Web site: http://www.lancastercontra.org/.
Laural Highlands, Pennsylvania - Ski Dance Weekend: A combo weekend in February of contra dance and cross-country skiing sponsored by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (Ski-Touring Section) and the Sierra Club. Register in advance. Web site: http://www.skidance.com/.
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Dances are held on 3rd Saturdays (September through May) at 7:30 pm (usually until 10:30 pm) at the Donald L. Heiter Community Center, 100 North Fifth Street. Web site: http://lewisburgcontra.com/.
Lower Merion, Pennsylvania: Special evening concert and couples dancing at Merion Friends Meeting Activity Building, 615 Montgomer Avenue from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Admission: $10; students $7. Sponsored by the 3rd Saturday dance series. Web site: http://www.thursdaycontra.com/ThirdSaturday.html.
Meadville, Pennsylvania: The Allegheny College Contra Dances are every Wednesday during the semester when the College is in session, except during campus breaks. Public and students are welcome. Check this schedule for correct dates. Location: Montgomery Gym Lower Level. Dancers assemble at 7:45, and music begins at 8pm. Web site: http://toppish.com/index.html.
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania - Battle of Chamber's Ridge Contra Dance: Contact Linda Estupinan Snook at 570-966-5052 for more information. Dance at the VFW Bandstand Site at 7:30 pm. Join the Lewisburg Contra Dancers and the fun for the 6th Annual Chamber's Ridge Event. Contra and Civil War music have many songs and steps in common - jigs, reels and waltzes to name a few. The Contra Rebels will be playing and the Lewisburg group will be helping everyone to learn the dances. Come and experience 19th century music at its finest and benefit Mifflinburg's unique treasure - The Buggy Museum. The dance will begin at 7:30 pm on the grass in front of the bandstand. There is never an admission fee and parking is free. Come and mingle with the Civil War soldiers and their ladies as well as the Contra dancers. There will be a Cake Walk - an activity attributed to the Civil War era - where when the music stops, if you are in front of a cake - it is yours! Enjoy the Civil War heritage of Mifflinburg and benefit the museum as well. Admission is free, fun is priceless! Call 570-966-5052 or 570-966-1355 for more information or to donate a cake - you can!!!! Web site: http://www.buggymuseum.org.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - ButterBall: A twelve-hour dance with several callers and bands held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (U.S.) at the St.Thomas Indian Church in NE Philadelphia. Sponsored by the Heritage Dance Association, Princeton Country Dancers, Thursday Night Dance Committee and Valley Contra Dance. Web site: http://www.strutyourstuffing.org/.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Turkey Trot: The Philadelphia Canoe Club sponsors this annual dance in late November at the PCC Club House, 4900 Ridge Avenue. 6:00pm Dinner; 8:00pm Dancing 8:00pm. (These times may move slightly, check back for final times to be posted here.) Trot with the turkeys of PCC. Enjoy Square Dancing, Food, Live Music and Fun! Contact: Paul Schultz email@example.com Cost: $15 at the Door (NO advance ticket sales; Cash preferred but, checks are ok. Cash is preferred to make it easier to pay the band!) Web site: http://www.philacanoe.org/trot.html.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Dances meet regularly every Friday from 8:00-11:00pm unless otherwise noted (instruction at 7:30pm). All dances are $8 and $5 for students unless otherwise noted. Location: Swisshelm Park Community Center, 1050 Windermere Drive in Pittsburgh (Swisshelm Park neighborhood). All ages and experience levels are welcome at our dance. Dress is casual and comfortable -- there is no special dress. Shoes should be comfortable, low-heeled and soft-soled. To protect the dance floor do not wear street shoes or high heels. Web site: http://www.pittsburghcontra.org.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Fall Dance Weekend: A dance weekend in November. Registration in advance is recommended. Web site: http://www.pittsburghcontra.org/fdw/index.html.
Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania: Pocono Waltz Weekend in late October with workshops and events with waltz, Polkas, Flemish Mazurka, Viennese Waltz, Calypso and Cha Cha. Register in advance. Web site: http://poconowaltzweekend.org/.
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania - Philadelphia Folk Festival: is a mostly music weekend festival held in August with camp sites and day parking available near Clemmers Mill Road and Salford Station Road. Web site: http://www.pfs.org/PFF.php.
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania - Fall Fling: Weekend run by volunteers with workshops and events in folk arts, music, dance, hiking, swimming, etc. in September. Register in advance. Web site: http://www.pfs.org/FAL.php.
Spring Grove, Pennsylvania - South Central Pennsylvania Old Time String Band Music Festival: Informal music festival at Elicker's Grove in Spring Grove. For Old Time musicians, bands, aficionados of traditional music and dancers. No contests, workshops or concerts, just jamming, picnicking, hanging out with friends, listening and dancing. No admission charge for the festival. For dances, separate donations will be accepted and divided among the bands and callers. (If you would like to call, or your band would like to play for some of the dances, please let us know.) Web site: http://www.sfmsfolk.org.
State College, Pennsylvania: The Central Pennsylvania Country Dance Association sponsors dances on the 3rd Friday of the month. Dances are from 7:30pm to 10:30pm (new dancers' instruction at 7:30; experienced dancers please come to help) at the Friends School, 1900 University Drive Extension, State College. Admission is $6.00 for members, and $8.00 for non-members. Children under 12 are admitted free. Memberships are $16.00 per calendar year for individuals, $30 for families. Web site: http://cpcda.org/.
Swissvale, Pennsylvania: There will be an extremely informal (chaotic?) contra dance beginning at 8:00pm at the Wilkens School Community Center (WSCC). It will be a pickup band and volunteer callers. No admission charge, but I will pass the hat for the rent on the hall. Please bring your jamming instruments and/or your favorite dances. Matt already has a minimal quorum of performers (thank you facebook), but with a few more, everyone can play or dance or call as the mood strikes. WSCC is at 7604 Charleston Ave Swissvale, PA 15218-1265. Coming from the parkway, go up the hill Swissvale hill (into Regent square). Take the second left (first legal left) and left again at the stop sign. At the next stop sign, WSCC is diagonally across the intersection. Start looking for parking. Parking is going to be a problem, although it is not as bad as most of the rest of the east end. Due to snow they are permitting parking on the grounds (the old playgrounds), but we will not be the only people in the building until after 9:00. They suggested self organized car pools from the big parking lot at edgewood town center. After 9:00, we can double park each other, and park the playgrounds solid. Note: this is not a CDN/CDSSP dance. Matt Mathis organizing this on his own. Web site: None.
Swissvale, Pennsylvania - Waltz and Contra Jam: Waltz from 2:00pm to 3:30pm with a contra jam from 3:30pm to 5:00pm for callers, musicians and dancers at the Wilkins School Community Center (WSCC) 7604 Charleston Ave. What's a Contra Jam? An opportunity for callers, musicians and dancers to hone their contra skills. Callers: Please arrive at 3:00. We will meet somewhere down stairs to get ready. Musicians: Please setup on the stage at about 3:30. We will have recorded music for backup, if you want to both dance and play. Dancers: Please come for the whole shabang, if you can. Cost: we will pass the hat among callers and dancers to cover the hall rental. (Free for Musicians). If this works just half as well as the emergency contra dance, we might try to do these monthly or more during the summer and holidays. Contact Matt Mathis at matt dot mathis at gmail dot com for more information. Web site: None.
Swissvale, Pennsylvania - Waltz Class: Beginner waltz classes on various dates. The classes are held from 7 to 8 PM (beginner) and 8 to 9 PM (intermediate) at the Wilkins School Community Center, 7604 Charleston Avenue. Cost will be $45 for the series. (This fee will support the community center.) The class will focus on basic waltz steps, with an emphasis on the nuances of clear leading and aware following. Much of what they teach concerning communication and connection with the music, and with your partner, is applicable to many forms of dance. They will teach American folk waltz, rather than Viennese or ballroom. No partner is necessary. For more information or questions, call 412-731-3436. Web site: None.
Swissvale, Pennsylvania - Waltz Session: Waltz Sesion at the Wilkins School Community Center, 7604 Charleston Avenue on various times and dates. Donation of $5 appreciated. Refreshments following at Wayne & Gaye's. For questions or more info., call 412-731-3436. Web site: None.
Titusville - Heart of the Arts Music Festival: Music festival with some dancing held at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville in mid-July. Web site: http://www.hotafest.com/.
West Chester, Pennsylvania: Occasional community dances at the Unitarian Fellowship of West Chester, 501 S High St. If You Can Walk, You Can Dance! All dances taught. No experience or partner necessary! All ages welcome! Admission $5 adults, $2 children ages 5-12 (under 5, free). The dress is comfortable and casual; shoes should be flat and soft-soled. Web site: http://www.ufwc.org/community_dance.htm.
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