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Amelia Islander

Contra Dances Held in Jacksonville

Jul 01, 2016 02:00AM
The Jacksonville Country Dance and Song Society sponsors one contra dance a month, usually on the third Friday of each month. Beginners are welcome, and you may participate with or without a partner. Live music is provided from various local musicians. Contra dances feature a caller, usually working with a group of live musicians, who guides new and experienced dancers alike through a variety of dances performed in a line. A dancer and his or her partner dance a series of figures, or moves, with each other and with another couple for a short time. They then repeat the same figures with another couple, and so on. The figures are similar to those of old-time square dancing. The figures are combined in different ways for each different dance.

The caller teaches each dance before it is actually done to the music. This gives everyone an idea of what to expect so the movements can be easily executed. The caller leads the dances while they are being done to music, so dancers are able to perform each movement to the music. Once the dancers appear to have mastered a particular dance, the caller may stop calling, leaving the dancers to enjoy the movement with music alone.

The Third Friday Dance is now located at Riverside Avenue Christian Church, 2841 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32205, at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Cherry Streets. The dance is held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and dance basics are taught at 7:45 p.m. Cost is a donation of $7, and $3 for youngsters. If you bring a food or beverage item to share, take $1 off your donation fee! Dress is casual and it is most important to wear comfortable soft sole shoes, sneakers or flats; avoid boots, high heels or flip flops. For more information call (904) 396-1997.