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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 2016 Brochure  pdf file

 

1 ConcordNH social dance map
2 Concord, (English Country)
3 Deerfield
4 Dover
5 Exeter
6 Gilmanton
7 Keene
8 Kingston
9 Londonderry
10 Manchester
11 Milford
12 Nelson
13 Norwich, VT
14 Norwich, VT, (English Country)
15 Ossipee
16 Peterborough
17 Tamworth
18 Wentworth
19 NEW! 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 2016 Traditional Dance Trail features eighteen 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 2016 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.

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

Traditional dance

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: $8 | NHECDS members $7

Website: http://nhecds.org/

3 Deerfield
Location: Town Hall, 6 Church St.
Dates: First Saturday of every month
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

 

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

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

contra dance hand hold

5 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/

detail of accordion, piano, fiddle, guitar

6 Gilmanton
Location: Old Town Hall, Rt 140
Dates: Second Saturday of every month
Time: varies
Featuring: contras & squares dances with live music
Admission: $7

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

7 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: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: Free

Website: http://keenepubliclibrary.org/

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

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

9 Londonderry
Location: Old Mayflower Grange Hall, current 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

10 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/

11 Milford
Location: Milford Town Hall, 3rd floor Auditorium, 1 Union Sq.
Dates: Fourth Friday of every month
Time: 8pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $7 | 1/2 price ages 6-12 with adult | under age 6 free

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

Read more about the Dance: Essay  pdf file

12 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.

13 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

14 Norwich, VT, English Country
Location: Tracy Hall, 300 Main St.
Dates: Jan 25, Feb 22, Mar 29, April 19, Sept 13, Oct 11, Nov 15, Dec 6
Time: Jan through April, dance starts at 3pm; Sept through Dec, dance starts at 1pm
Featuring: English country dances
Admission: $10 | youth $5 | $2 discount for members of Muskeg Music or Country Dance and Song Society

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

15 Ossipee
Location: Ossipee Town Hall Gym, 55 Main St.
Dates: Feb 28, April 25, May 23
Time: 7pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $7 | students & seniors $5 | under age 12 $3

Website: https://galacommunity.org/

Read more about the Ossipee dance: Essay  pdf file

16 Peterborough
Location: Peterborough Town House, 1 Grove St.
Dates: First Saturday of every month
Time: 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.

17 Tamworth
Location: Second floor of the Tamworth Town House, 27 Cleveland Hill Rd.
Dates: most Saturday evenings from Independence Day through Labor Day, New Year’s Eve
Time: 7:30pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: $7 | under age 15 $3 | family max $15

Website: http://tamworthoutingclub.org/

18 Wentworth
Location: Wentworth Town Hall, 10 Eastside Rd.
Dates: First Fridays 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

19 Seacoast Contra
Location:Newfields Town Hall, 65 Main St.
Dates: Last Friday of every month beginning April 29,2016
Time: 7:30pm Beginner lesson, 8-11pm regular dancing
Featuring: contra dancing with live music
Admission: $9 | students $6| children under 12 free | family admission $15

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

Portable Document Format Symbol Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
19 Pillsbury Street - 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301