Contra Courtesies

The Harvest Moon Folk Society is organized to promote contra dancing as a high-spirited dance that can be elegant, lively and most importantly, fun! Our organization endeavors to ensure that everyone has fun and feels safe in our environment, and we teach and promote appropriate and safe dancing styles.

Inappropriate behavior could entail rough dancing, or dancing in such a way that make other dancers feel physically challenged or threatened. Inappropriate behavior is behavior that constitutes harassment of any kind. If a fellow dancer does anything to you that you deem offensive or inappropriate, it is suggested that you make an effort to let that person know. If you cannot tell them during the dance, then try to do so afterwards. If you are not comfortable speaking directly with the person who has behaved in a way you feel is inappropriate, contact any of the  dance organizers or board members. Dancers who repeatedly exhibit offensive or inappropriate behavior will be asked to leave.

Here are some tips to be a courteous dancer:

  1. Dance gently and safely, in total control (vs. with wild abandonment), particularly on a crowded dance floor. Be considerate of other dancers’ space.
  2. Finish a move or swing in time to make it to the next move on time.
  3. As lines are forming for a dance, you and your partner join in at the bottom of a line or set. It is not considered good “contra etiquette” to jump in the middle or front of a set.
  4. Dance with newcomers and help newcomers. They’ll feel more welcome and become confident dancers much faster. Once upon a time, you were a newcomer too, you know.
  5. Listen to walk-thru (vs. learning your partner’s entire life history) so that those who are trying to hear the instructions can do so.
  6. About twirling: Some love to twirl, some don’t. Some prefer a good ole courtesy turn to a twirl, so be considerate on the dance floor. This is mainly addressed to men because men are typically the twirlers (vs. the twirlees). A woman should be given the opportunity to twirl, not be twirled by her partner. A forced or “cranked” twirl can be quite uncomfortable. After your partner twirls, it is your responsibility to help her become oriented towards the next move. In other words, don’t “twirl ’em and leave ’em”!
  7. About that swing: Be respectful of the person you are swinging. Do not dance or swing too closely (as in pressing yourself against your partner) or dance suggestively unless you are absolutely sure your fellow dancer wants you to dance/swing with them like that. Never do so with a minor or newcomer.
  8. If a fellow dancer does anything to you that you deem inappropriate, let them know. If you cannot tell them during the dance, then do so afterwards. If they continue, notify the dance organizers. Dancers who exhibit offensive behavior repeatedly will be asked to leave.
  9. No alcohol, smoking, drugs or overbearing fragrances in the dance hall.
  10. Do your part. Give a hand. Help out the few “always-there-hard workers” who give their time to make our dances happen. Come early whenever you can to help set up or stay late to help breakdown. A handful of people do most of the work and they could use your help!

Remember, it’s only a dance. Have fun!