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LIVE FREE and Dance
New Hampshire's Traditional Dance Trail

Visit each dance below to view: dates, times, essays, photos & contact information.
View and Download 2017 Brochure pdf file

 

1 ConcordNH traditional dances map
2 Concord, (English Country)
3 Conway
4 Deerfield
5 Dover
6 Exeter
7 Gilmanton
8 Keene
9 Kingston
10 Londonderry
11 Manchester
12 Milford
13 Nelson
14 Norwich, VT
15 Norwich, VT, (English Country)
16 Ossipee
17 Peterborough
18 Tamworth
19 Wentworth
20 Seacoast Contra, Newfields

 

All dance schedules are subject to change. Please visit the dance organizer's website for most current schedule.

Many consider New Hampshire to be the contra dance capital of the world. For centuries, community members and visitors have gathered together to swing, stomp, and dance in town halls and community centers. Today, the modern popularity of contra dances across the United States trace their roots to the old town halls and dance floors of New Hampshire.

The 2017 Traditional Dance Trail features twenty dances which take place every month in communities across the state. All dances have live music which is influenced by our state’s French-Canadian, English, Irish, and Scottish heritage. You will often hear a fiddle, piano, and a variety of other instruments. A dance caller guides you through each dance by announcing a series of steps. Some dances have beginner workshops or lessons, and anyone can join in at anytime. No partner? No problem! At contra dances, you switch partners often throughout the night. Experienced dancers will be eager to help you with the figures. Grab some friends and head to a local dance!

What Are Traditional Dances?

These dances are open to the public, have live music, and a dance caller. The dance steps and
formations have been passed down and adapted since colonial times.

Dances featured on the 2017 Traditional Dance Trail:

Contra: Dance sequences that involve many couples forming a line down the dance floor. Each couple changes neighbors many times throughout the night. The popularity of contra dance across the United States can be traced to musicians, callers, and communities in New Hampshire.

English Country: These dances originated in 17th century English courts and were brought to New England by colonists. Today, many people are writing new dances in that style.

Square: Dance sequences that involve 4 couples, typically in a square formation.

traditional dance trail brochure front cover
contra dance hand hold
detail of accordion, piano, fiddle, guitar

1 Concord
Location: East Concord Community Center, 18 Eastman St.
Dates: Third Saturday of every month except July & August
Time: 8pm
Featuring: contra & barn dances with live music
Admission: $7 | ages 15-25 $5 | under age 15 free

Website: http://homepage.nhvt.net/dwh/contra.htm

Read more about Concord's dance: Essay pdf file

2 Concord, English Country
Location: West Street Ward House, 41 West Street
Dates: Second Sunday of every month except July & August
Time: 6:00pm
Featuring: English Country dances with live music
Admission: $10 | NHECDS members $9

Website: http://nhecds.org/

3 Conway
Location: Tin Mountain Conservation Ctr., 1245 Bald Hill Rd., Albany
Dates: Third Saturday of every month September-May
Time: 7:30pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music.
Admission: $7 | under age 12 $3 | families $15

Facebook: Conway Contra Dances on Facebook

4 Deerfield
Location: Town Hall, 6 Church St.
Dates: First Saturday of every month September-June
Time: 8pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $8 | ages 8-12 $3

Website:https://www.facebook.com/groups/deerfieldcontra/1505401236430407/?comment_id=1512574599046404&notif_t=like

5 Dover
Location: Dover City Hall, 288 Central Ave.
Dates: First Thursday of every month
Time: 8pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with Lamprey River Band,
Peter Yarensky & Sarah Mason calling, guest musicians & callers
welcome
Admission: $7 | students $5

Website: http://www.nhcountrydance.com/

6 Exeter
Location: UU Church, 12 Elm St.
Dates: Second Saturday of every month
Time: 7:30pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $6 | students $3 | under age 10 free

Website: http://www.meetup.com/Exeter-Contra-Dance-Meetup/

7 Gilmanton
Location: Old Town Hall, Rt 140
Dates: Second Saturday of every month
Time: 8pm, beginner lesson at 7:30pm
Featuring: contras & squares dances with live music
Admission: $8

Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/

8 Keene
Location: Heberton Hall, in the Keene Public Library Annex, 60 Winter St.
Dates: First Friday of every month, Oct through May
Time: 6:30pm
Featuring: Family contra & square dances with live music and
free refreshments
Admission: Free

Website: http://keenepubliclibrary.org/

9 Kingston
Location: Kingston Town Hall, 163 Main St.
Dates: Fourth Saturday of every month
Time: 8pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $8 | students $5

Website: Current dance information can be found on the Dance Gypsy

10 Londonderry
Location: Londonberry Senior Center, 535 Mammoth Rd.
Dates: Second Friday of every month
Time: 8pm, beginner lesson at 7:30pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $8 | under age 12 $3

Website: Current dance information can be found on NH Contra Dance Links

11 Manchester
Location: Grace Episcopal Church Hall, 106 Lowell St.
Dates: Third Friday of every month
Time: 8pm, beginner lesson at 7:30pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $8 | students $5 | under age 12 free

Website: http://www.wordworthy2.org/

12 Milford
Location: Milford Town Hall, 3rd floor Auditorium, 1 Union Sq.
Dates: Fourth Friday of every month except November
Time: 7:30pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music, sit-in musicians welcome, caller's open mic
Admission: $7 | students & seniors $5 | under age 12 free

Website: http://www.milford.nh.gov/

Read more about the Dance: Essay pdf file

13 Nelson
Location: Nelson Town Hall, Nelson Common Rd.
Dates: Every Monday night, Winter Solstice, New Year’s Eve & other special dates
Time: 8pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: $3

Website:http://www.monadnockfolk.org/

The Monadnock Folklore Society (MFS) was founded in 1980, with the purpose of increasing the visibility of folk dance and music events in southern New Hampshire, providing new venues for performers, and providing educational services in the folk arts to the community.

14 Norwich, VT
Location: Tracy Hall, 300 Main St.
Dates: Second & Fourth Saturday of every month except July and August; New Year’s Eve dance
Time: 8pm, with newcomers’ workshop at 7:45pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with the band Northern Spy on second Saturdays.
Fourth Saturdays presented by Muskeg Music with the band Cuckoo’s Nest and different callers
Admission: $8 | students $5 | seniors by donation under age 16 free

Website: Information about: Northern Spy | Muskeg Music

15 Norwich, VT, English Country
Location: Tracy Hall, 300 Main St.
Dates: Jan 22, Feb 26, Mar 26, April 30, Oct 1, Nov 5, Dec 3
Time: Jan through April, dance starts at 3pm; Oct through Dec, dance starts at 1pm
Featuring: English country dances with Trip to Norwich,
Chris Levey calling Jan-Apr, David Millstone calling Oct-Dec
Admission: $8 ($10 Oct-dec)10 | youth $5 | $1 ($2 Oct-Dec) discount for members of Muskeg Music or Country Dance and Song Society

Website:http://davidmillstonedance.com/calendar/local-dances/english-country-dance-in-norwich

16 Ossipee
Location: Woleboro Town Hall, 84 S. Main St.
Dates: Fourth Saturday of Jan, Feb, March, April, July, August, Oct & Nov
Time: 7pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $8 | 6-16 years old $5 | under age 5 free

Website: https://galacommunity.org/

Read more about the Ossipee dance: Essay pdf file

17 Peterborough
Location: Peterborough Town House, 1 Grove St.
Dates: First Saturday of every month
Time: 8pm, beginner lesson at 7:30pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: $10 | students & seniors $7

Website: http://www.monadnockfolk.org/

The Monadnock Folklore Society (MFS) was founded in 1980, with the purpose of increasing the visibility of folk dance and music events in southern New Hampshire, providing new venues for performers, and providing educational services in the folk arts to the community.

18 Tamworth
Location: Second floor of the Tamworth Town House, 27 Cleveland Hill Rd.
Dates: July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; August 5, 12, 19, 26; Sept 2
Time: 7:30pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: $7 | under age 15 $3 | family max $15

Website: http://tamworthoutingclub.org/

19 Wentworth
Location: Wentworth Elementary School, 1247 Mt. Moosilauke Highway
Dates: First Friday of every month except July
Time: 8pm
Featuring: primarily singing-style eastern squares, with a few other formations
Admission: $7 | couples $12 | children free

Website: Current information about the Wentworth square dance can be found on the Dance Gypsy

20 Seacoast Contra
Location:Newfields Town Hall, 65 Main St.
Dates: Last Friday of every month
Time: 7:30pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: $9 | students $6| children under 12 free | family admission $15

Website: www.seacoastcontra.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeacoastContra/

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New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
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