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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 2020 Brochure pdf file

 

1 Concord/BoscawenNH traditional dances map
2 Concord, (English Country)

3 Canterbury
4 Durham
5 East Derry
6 Keene
7 Kingston
8 Londonderry
9 Milford
10 Nelson
11 Norwich, VT
12 Norwich, VT, (English Country)
13 Peterborough
14 Tamworth
15 Seacoast Contra

 

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 2020 Traditional Dance Trail features fifteen 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 2020 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/Boscawen
Location: Boscawen Town Hall (under Boscawen Congregational Church), 12 High St
Dates: Third Saturday of every month except July & August
Time: 8pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: $8 | ages 15-25 $5 | under age 15 free

Website: https://concordnhcontra.wordpress.com/

Read more about Concord's dance: Essay pdf file

2 Concord, English Country
Location: Howard Recreation Center Auditorium, Intersection of Wheelock Drive & Londergan Road, on the grounds of the NH Hospital & Gallen State Office Park
Dates: Second Sunday of every month except July & August
Time: 3:00pm
Featuring: English Country dances with live music
Admission: $10 | NHECDS members $9

Website: http://nhecds.org/

 

3 Canterbury
Location: Parish House, 5 Center Road
Dates: Second Saturday of every month
Time: 7:30pm, beginner lesson at 7:00pm
Featuring: contras & squares dances with live music
Admission: $8

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

4 Durham
Location: Durham Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 20 Madbury Road
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: $2

Website: http://nhcountrydance.com/fiddle/lrb-dance.html

5 East Derry
Location: First Parish Church Hall, 47 East Derry Rd., Derry, NH
Dates: Third Friday of every month except July & August
Time: 8pm, beginner lesson at 7:30pm
Featuring: contra dances with live music
Admission: $8 | students $5 | under age 12 free

Website: https://www.wordworthy2.org/

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

Website: http://keenepubliclibrary.org/

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

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

8 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: Londonderry contra dance

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

Website: www.facebook.com/Milford-Contra-Dance-920139244691079

Read more about the Dance: Essay pdf file

10 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 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.

11 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: 7:30pm, with newcomers' workshop at 7:15pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: $12 | students $8 | under age 16 free

Website: www.uvdm.org

Facebook: Norwich Community Dances

12 Norwich, VT, English Country
Location: Tracy Hall, 300 Main St.
Dates: Jan 26, Feb 23, March 29, April 19, Sept 6, Oct 4, Nov 1, Dec 6
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 Sept-Dec
Admission: $8 ($10 Sept-Dec) | youth $5 | discounts for members of Muskeg Music or Country Dance and Song Society

Website: http://thayer.dartmouth.edu/~d26745m/localECD/

13 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.

14 Tamworth
Location: Tamworth Town House, 27 Cleveland Hill Rd.
Dates: Second Saturday of every month except August, August dance is August 7; New Year's Eve dance
Time: 7:00pm
Featuring: contra & square dances with live music
Admission: $8 | children age 12 and under free

Website: http://tamworthoutingclub.org/

15 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: $10 | students $6| children under age 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
19 Pillsbury Street - 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301