The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society opens its ninth year with a contra dance on Saturday, Jan. 4. The event will be held at the Jonesborough Visitors Center at 7 p.m. and feature the Asheville N.C., band Spinning Wheel with Lindsay Morris calling the dance. Admission is $7, $5 for HJDS members and $5 for full time students. A class for newcomer contra dancers will run from 7-7:30. The dance will go from 7:30-10:30 with a Klondike Bar break at 9.
Spinning Wheel unites two friends who have played for contra dances in the area for many years. The band includes Karen Gaughan on keyboard and Nic Coker on fiddle. Coker also plays for Boom Chuck, which performed at the most recent Jonesborough contra dance.
Contra dance is a form of American folk dance in which the dancers form a set of two parallel lines that run the length of the hall. Each dance consists of a sequence of moves and steps that ends with the couples having progressed one position up or down the set. All dances are taught by the caller. No partner is necessary and you are encouraged to dance with as many different people as possible.
Many of the basic moves resemble square dancing — swings, allemandes, do-si-dos — but contra dancing is more a sort of amusement park ride that the dancers make for themselves. A square dance set is comprised of only four couples, whereas only the length of the hall limits the number of couples in a contra dance set. To join a set, only a partner and soft-soled shoes are necessary. All that is left is to have fun dancing. You are encouraged to dress comfortably and stay hydrated with lots of water.
For more information on Saturday’s dance or any upcoming events, call David Wiley at 534-8879 or visit www.historicjonesboroughdancesociety.org or Historic Jonesborough Dance Society on Facebook.