Hello Dancers,

Our contra dances in 2021 will be cancelled until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please check back to this web site for updates on when we will be to resume our dance.  With the fluid health crisis it is impossible to know when that will happen.  Thank you for your support of our dance and we hope you and yours keep safe during this trying time.

Stuart Whipple

Dance coordinator



Google Map Upcoming Dances Description of Dances

Join us for our next contra dance on…

*** Please note new dance time: 6:30 – 9:30 PM ***

We have changed the time for our dance due to conform to a new ACC park policy, so please bear with us during this transition to a new time for the dance. The orientataion session will now run from 6:15 – 6:30 PM.

February 15, 2019

Presented by the Athens Folk Music & Dance Society with live music and calling

Orientation session from 6:15 – 6:30 PM: introduction, basic moves, helpful hints for enjoyable dancing– for new & experienced dancers

Dance: 6:30 – 9:30 PM

Band: String Theory

Caller: Stuart Whipple

Memorial Park Administrative Building- 293 Gran Ellen Dr., Athens, GA.
Admission for dance: Adults 18 & over -$8.00; ages 11-17- $4.00;
UNDER 11: no charge and no dancing permitted

No partner needed; All dances are taught; Clean, soft-soled, comfortable shoes are recommended

Google Map to Memorial Park

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Upcoming Dances in 2019 – Third Saturday of the Month

Jan 19          Band:  String Theory               Caller: Robbin Marcus

Feb 16          Band: Hickhoppers              Caller: Janet Shepherd

March 16     Band: TBD             Caller: Deanna Palumbo

April 20        Band: Mick Kinney & Tim Cape        Caller: Stuart Whipple

May 18         Band: Snapfinger       Caller: Stuart Whipple

June 15        Band: Joe Willey & the Movin’ Men             Caller: Rob Harper

July 20        Band: Driving Wheels            Caller: Janet Shepherd

Aug 17        Band: Oatcakes                 Caller: Charlotte Crittenden

Sept 21        Band: Mike Robinson & Margie McDonald     Caller: Stuart Whipple

Oct 19        Band: Joe Willye & the Movin’ Men                 Caller: Janet Shepherd

Nov 16        Band: Airplay             Caller: Doug Singleton

Dec 21       Band: Mike Robinson & Margie McDonald        Caller: Charlotte Crittenden



Description of Dances

Our contra dances are participatory social dances. We always have live acoustic music, with most bands from the Athens or Atlanta areas, and a dance caller. The music is usually either old-time Appalachian string band music or Celtic jigs and reels. The main instruments are fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass; occasionally we’ll also have piano, mandolin, autoharp, or harmonica.   The way the dances work is that the caller decides on a set of dances to call for the evening. The types of dances that we do include contra dances, square dances, circle mixers, and progressive circle dances. Most of the dances in an evening are contras and squares; usually only one or two circle dances are included.  The moves used in all of these dance types overlap considerably. Moves such as do-si-do, swing, stars, circles, allemandes, and promenades are done in most of the dances. As a result, once new dancers learn a few moves, they can dance most of the dances done that evening. The formation (contra lines, squares of 4 couples, or circle of couples), how many dancers are in each set, and whether you keep the same partner for the entire dance, are the main features that distinguish contra, square, and circle dance types.  Each dance is taught in a walk-through before the music starts. Then the caller cues the musicians and the dance begins. The caller prompts the moves until the dancers get the pattern, and sometimes drops out till the end. The caller decides how long the dance will continue (usually about 10-12 minutes), and tells the band when he wants 1 or 2 more times through the music. Then the dancers stop when the music ends.  At the half-way break, and at the end of the dance, we have a waltz. We usually conduct a short 20-30 minute orientation session from 7:30 – 8 PM before the dance to give new dancers an introduction to what we’ll be doing, and to have them walk through the basic set of moves that we’ll be using for the dances that evening. The dance usually runs from 8 – 11:00PM. Our dances usually have a mix of ages and folks come from all parts of town. The main reason we dance is that we enjoy dancing. When I call, I always tell the newcomers that the most important thing to do in an evening of dance with our group is to relax and have fun. Newcomers are always welcome, so if you like to dance, I suspect you’d have a good time at one of our dances.


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