Sarah and John were blessed with a gorgeous day at the Berkeley Plantation for their wedding. It really was an extraordinary day even if it leaned a bit towards the chilly side! They had contra dancing which was so much fun to shoot and to watch. The guests loved it and stayed warm too! They had a caller and everything…. below I am listing the wikipedia entry on Contra dancing. It really just looked like a blast so you guys should try it!
“Most contra dances are open to all, regardless of experience. They are family-friendly, and alcohol consumption is not part of the culture. Many events offer beginner-level instructions for up to half an hour before the dance. A typical evening of contra dance is three hours long, including an intermission. The event consists of a number of individual contra dances, divided by a scattering of other partner dances, perhaps one or more waltzes, schottisches, polkas, or Swedish hambos. In some places, square dances are thrown into the mix. Music for the evening is typically performed by a live band, playing jigs and reels from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, or the USA. Often the tunes are traditional and more than a century old, and sometimes a few tunes are more recent compositions that follow the traditional form, perhaps composed by the musicians on stage. (See “Music”, below.)
Generally, a leader, known as a caller, will teach each individual dance just before the music for that dance begins. During this introductory “walk-through” period, participants learn the dance by walking through the steps and formations, following the caller’s instructions. The caller gives the instructions orally, and sometimes augments them with demonstrations of steps by experienced dancers in the group. The walk-through usually proceeds in the order of the moves as they will be done with the music; in some dances, the caller may vary the order of moves during the dance, a fact that is usually explained as part of the caller’s instructions.
After the walk-through, the music begins and the dancers repeat that sequence some number of times before that dance ends, often 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the length of the contra lines. Calls are normally given at least the first few times through, and often for the last. At the end of each dance, the dancers thank their partners. The contra dance tradition in North America is to change partners for every dance, while in the United Kingdom typically people dance with the same partner the entire evening. One who attends an evening of contra dances in North America does not need to bring his or her own partner. In the short break between individual dances, women and men invite each other to dance. Booking ahead (lining up a partner or partners ahead of time for each individual dance), while common at some venues, is often discouraged.
At most dances, no special outfits are worn, but “peasant skirts” or other full, lightweight skirts are popular, as these have a very pretty effect when swinging or twirling and some people find them more comfortable to dance in than pants. This includes some men as well; contra dancers can be quite liberal in the way they dress. Low, broken-in, soft-soled, non-marking shoes, such as dance shoes, sneakers, or sandals, are recommended and, in some places, required. However, dancing barefoot is also common. Perfumes, colognes, or other scented products are not commonly worn.
As in any social dance, cooperation is vital to contra dancing. Since over the course of any single dance, individuals interact with not just their partners but everyone else in the set, contra dancing might be considered a group activity. As will necessarily be the case when beginners are welcomed in by more practiced dancers, mistakes are made; mistakes will be overlooked, in most circles, as long as they do not upset the experience for the rest of the group.”- Wikipedia
Time for some pictures! Sarah had these great “sassy” blue shoes and everyone just had a blast the entire day.