The International Association of Contra Callers, Inc.
Updated June 16, 2016






Energizer Dance pictures
NSDC-Detroit pictures
NSDC-Oklahoma City pictures


Contra Moves & Timing


Contra in Square Dances

Contra Dance 101



Chairmanís Corner (Spring 2016)
We are excited about the CONTRALAB Convention in Des Moines Iowa in June.It is a little more centrally located than last year's convention so we hope that many of you can be there. The Contralab Convention occurs just before the National Square Dance Convention. We will send out more details of our Trail Thru Energizer Dance and CONTRALAB convention soon.

†††††† In the meantime, we will give you a preview of what is to come. The Trail Thru Energizer Dance will be Tuesday, June 21, 2016. We will have a live band and the dance will be held at the Iowa Events Center Room 317.
†††††† The CONTRALAB convention will be held Wednesday, June 22, 2016 in the contra room starting around 9:30.
†††††† We are also securing live bands for Friday-Saturday evenings during the NSDC. We anticipate a lot of good dancing during this convention.I canít finish without a special thanks to Mo Wilkins for planning and coordinating these events in Des Moines. I know there have been some challenges but thanks for your hard work.
†††††† I look forward to seeing you in Des Moines.
†††††† On to another topic. One of the ways I am promoting contra within the square dance community is to work with my local square dance caller. We are currently introducing contra dances during his square dance classes. My goal is to find simple contra dances that go along with what he is teaching. I keep track of the calls he has taught and then introduce those same calls into contra dances. Not only does it introduce them to contra, but is also reinforces the square dance calls that they have recently learned. I still introduce some variations, like the slant left-right and left through from Slaunch to Donegal, but they take to it pretty well. It is both fun and challenging to find contra dances that go along with his square dance teaching but it is worth it to introduce dancers to the world of contra.
Gary Chamberlain

Contras for Introductory Events


We received a request to feature some simple whole set contra dances appropriate for introductory or party events.Dottie Welch sent us the following dances which are done from parallel lines with partners facing across.All of the actions are danced either by the whole set or by just the top or bottom couples.Traditionally the gents are in the line on the callerís right and the ladies are in the line on the callerís left. (These are called Proper Lines.) If you have same gender partners, you may want to name the two lines something appropriate for easy reference.



By Dottie Welch

Formation:Longways for 4 to 6 couples with partners facing (no gender differentiation)

Music:Something with a French-Canadian flavor

A1†††† Long Potato Circle Left (16 beats) (all dancers make one long, skinny circle)

A2†††† Long Potato Circle Right (16 beats)

B1†††† Partners Turn by the Left Arm (pigeon wing) (8 beats)

†††††††† Partners Turn by the Right Arm (pigeon wing) (8 beats)

B2†††† Long Lines Forward and Back (8 beats)

†††††††† Top Couple Sashay (or Strut) to the foot (8 beats)



Traditional (in Contra Syllabus from 61st NSDC in Spokane, Washington)

The Gothic Dance gets its name from the gentlemen raising their arms for the dive through.Their arms make a long line of pointed arches like a Gothic Cathedral.

Presenter: Gary Chamberlain, See for music information.See for Old Glory Vintage Dancers at the Dickenís Christmas Ball in West Jordan, Utah, December 2010.

Formation: Proper contra lines of four to six couples

Music:Civil War Ballroom by Spare Parts (32 bar jig or reel)


A1†††† Ladies Advance - - Retreat,

††††††††† Men Arch (Ladies duck through, all turn alone)

A2†††† Ladies Advance - - Retreat,

††††††††† Men Arch (Ladies duck through, all turn alone)

B1†††† Top Four Circle Left 3/4 (Gents facing up)

††††††††† Gents Arch, Ladies run (right shoulder) around partner to

††††††††† face him,

B2†††† Partners join both hands and turn clockwise 1/4,

††††††††† Both couples Sashay to the foot




(Excerpts above were from the CONTRALAB Quarterly Spring 2016 issue.Much more to be found in the Quarterly available to members.)