FW: ContraFolk - April Newsletter

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Mary Ann Parcher

Apr 9, 2018, 10:03:57 PM4/9/18
to twodo...@googlegroups.com

Hello fellow contradancers,


I realize that many of you may have gotten this email directly, but I wanted to reach out to everyone in our dance community. Thank you ContraFolk for organizing and promoting dancing in the NRV. I hope to see you on the dance floor.


Happy Dancing!

Mary Ann


From: ContraFolk at Virginia Tech [mailto:contrafolkvt=gmai...@mail126.sea31.mcsv.net] On Behalf Of ContraFolk at Virginia Tech
Sent: Monday, April 9, 2018 9:03 PM
To: Mary Ann Parcher <par...@vt.edu>
Subject: ContraFolk - April Newsletter



Hey, Contra-Folks!
With the end of our first season fast approaching, we wanted to reach out and keep you posted on all of the awesome dancing going on this month. We've also got some opportunities for people interested in getting involved with the planning for next year! 

See you Thursday!   :)

-The ContraFolk Team



Upcoming Events!



ContraFolk presents the final contra dance of our inaugural year!


LIVE music by Pete's Posse!

"Vermont based trio Pete’s Posse is composed of acclaimed musician Pete Sutherland (fiddle, piano, banjo, melodica and vocals), his talented protégé Oliver Scanlon (fiddle, viola, mandolin, foot percussion and vocals) and the uber-dynamic Tristan Henderson (guitars, mandolin, jaw harp, foot percussion and vocals). Twin fiddles in tight, wild harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding footwork with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jawharp and rocking keyboards adding their voices to the mix. Songs and tunes, old and new, lyrical and driving: that’s the multi-generational heart and mind of PETE’S POSSE, at work and at play."


Calling by the dynamic Emily "Rainbowface" Abel!

"Emily 'Rainbowface' Abel has been calling contra dances since 2013, and contra dancing since 2009. She has called for experienced and inexperienced dancers, as far south as Florida, and as far north as Massachusetts. She enjoys facilitating a sense of connection and community at each event that she participates in, and hopes that you will give her shout outs to let her know whether or not she is succeeding at that goal."

THURSDAY, April 12th
Beginner Lesson at 7:00 pm
Dancing at 7:30 pm

The Old Dominion Ballroom in the Squires Student Center At Virginia Tech
290 College Ave, Blacksburg, VA 24060

FREE for all students!
($5 for everyone else)

After the dance, join us down the street at the Cellar Restaurant & 6-Pak Store
 for post-dance food and mingling.

Please note that this dance is on a THURSDAY, which is different from our previous Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday night dances.

Beginners, experts, students, locals, out-of-towners and all are welcome!

As always, our dances are gender-role free!





Organizational Meeting

Wednesday, April 18th @ 6:30 pm
Squires Student Center (Room TBD)*

(There may even be free pizza again)

Have you ever...

  • Had fun at one of our dances?
  • Wondered how all these contra dances happen?
  • Wanted to get involved, but didn't know how?
  • Wanted a cool ContraFolk name tag button?
  • Wanted Free Pizza?
  • Thought you could do a better job at writing a newsletter than me?


If so (or not) we'd love to have you as part of our team!

We're looking for help next year with:

  • Setting up and tearing down dances!
  • Booking bands and callers!
  • Making and hanging posters!
  • Filling out paperwork and dealing with money!!!  --> (please send help)
  • Social media outreach!
  • Adding to our pile of lovely decorations!
  • Taking pictures and videos at dances!
  • Writing this very newsletter!
  • Brainstorming new ideas!


*Final location TBD. Follow the Facebook Event for updates!




Second Saturday of the Month
(April 14th)

Floyd Contra Dance


Come for the fun!
Balancing Act with Jim Harrington--accordion, & Bill Wellington--guitar & banjo, with Joy Greenwolfe, caller.

Floyd Center for the Arts
7:35 lesson, 8 pm dance.

See you there!



Third Saturday of the Month
(April 21st)

Blacksburg Contra Dance


It's Spring! Time to put a "spring" in your step and the best way we know of to do that is to contra dance!

This month we will step to the tunes of Unbalanced with Joe Showalter on fiddle/banjo, Clinton Ross on guitar, and Nate Morrow on bass.

Emily Rush will be our caller!

Beginner's lesson: 7:30 pm
Dance starts: 8:00 pm

Blacksburg YMCA
1000 N Main St, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

Admission: $8, $5 for students and kids
Free after 10 pm



Friday, April 27th
Roanoke Contra Dance


See you at the Moose Lodge!

Our band this month is BIG CELTIC FUN
Our caller is DEAN SNIPES

7:30-8 p.m.
Beginner's Contra Lesson

8:00 - 11 p.m.
Contra Dance

Salem Moose Lodge
Catawba Valley Dr

$9 ($6 students)



First Saturday of the Month
(May 5th) 

Blacksburg Square Dance


"The callers at the Blacksburg Square Dance will call many 4-couple western style figures, with the degree of difficulty and challenge increasing as the night goes on. The Blacksburg Square Dance puts more emphasis on the 4-couple square dance than the most other square dances in our region, and less on gig circles, flatfooting and two-steps."

What have we been up to?



Floyd PFLAG Fundraiser Dance


Thank you to everyone who braved the blizzard to make Floyd PFLAG's gender role free contra dance fundraiser (and a big thanks to those who were with us in spirit!)

Money was raised to help sponsor Floyd PFLAG's annual LGBTQ youth and ally scholarship.

A fun night of dancing and community was had by all!


For more on Floyd PFLAG and their mission, check out their website



Follow us on The Facebook and The Instagram!








Contra FAQ


Who are you people?

ContraFolk is Virginia Tech's official contra dance club!

We host a few beginner-friendly, gender role free contra dances each semester on campus.

In addition, we travel to local contra, square, and other folk dances and dance weekends in the area. Come join us as we explore the rich folk dance tradition of Southwest Virginia and beyond!


But what is a Contra Dance?

Contra is a form of community folk dance made up of long lines of couples dancing in sequence. A contra dancer gets to dance with their partner and everyone else in their line! Each individual dance is taught and called by a 'caller' with music provided by a live band (though occasionally we'll host less traditional contras). 

Still confused? Look it up on youtube, or just show up at one of our events!


Worried about being new?

Don't be. Prior experience is not expected! Before each evening begins, the night's caller offers a lesson for beginners or anyone looking for a refresher. In addition, contra is a walking dance, so no fancy footwork is required. Contra tradition is to change partners at the end of each dance, so bring your friends and get ready for a great time!


What / who should I bring?

Contra is a social, community dance, so no need to bring a partner with you (though the more, the merrier)! Over the course of a dance, you will interact with everyone in the set including, but not limited to, your “partner,” your “neighbor,” and, in some dances, your “corner“ and/or your “shadow."

Come with friends, or come by yourself, there will always be people excited to dance with you!

Though there is no dress code, there are a few suggestions. Dancers tend to warm up over the course of the evening, so comfortable, cool clothing that you would enjoy dancing in (skirts, shorts, kilts, and 'flowy' clothes are common).

Wear comfortable shoes with smooth soles that are designed to "slide." This protects the floors and your knees!


What is Gender Role Free Dancing?

Traditionally, contra dancing roles are designated as "Ladies" and "Gents." Though anyone is welcome to dance in either role, the terms can be limiting, sometimes discouraging people from dancing in certain roles or with certain partners.

At ContraFolk dances (and at many gender role free dances around the world), we use the terms "Ravens" for those who start on the right of the contra line and "Larks" for those who start on the left. It's easy to remember: "When you finish a swing, put the Lark on the Left and the Raven on the Right!"

Don't be surprised if you see experienced dancers dancing both roles throughout the evening. Some may even swap roles mid-dance! An important mantra in gender role free contra dancing is to
"dance with who's coming at you!"


Principles of Community

As a community of dancers and friends, we hold ourselves to
Virginia Tech's Principles of Community.

All are welcome at ContraFolk, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status.

We can't wait to see you on the dance floor!

Follow us on The Facebook and The Instagram!







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ContraFolk at Virginia Tech · 1603 Glade Rd · Blacksburg, VA 24060-1914 · USA

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Mary Ann Parcher

Apr 11, 2018, 8:25:15 AM4/11/18
to twodo...@googlegroups.com

For any dancers planning to attend the contradance tomorrow on the VT campus, there has been a change in venue. Please see the attached maps and information below.


Hope to see dancing tomorrow!

Mary Ann





ContraFolk April Dance (Pete's Posse and Emily Abel)



Thursday, April 12th

Lesson: 7pm

Dance: 7:30pm - 10:00pm



Hillcrest Dining Room

Hillcrest Hall, Virginia Tech

385 W Campus Dr.
24061 Blacksburg, Virginia


$5 - General Admission

FREE - all students


April Map 2.png
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