Wander Woman – Contra in the Couve

Wander Woman – Contra in the Couve

dancing1This month I travelled way out of my comfort zone—all the way to the Hazel Dell Grange for their monthly Contra in the Couve—and I brought my family with me.

Contra dance is a type of folk dancing, similar to square dancing, with a caller who calls out moves and lively music to dance to. However, instead of forming squares with your partner and another couple, you and your partner stand across from each other in long lines. Together you move down the line by dancing a series of repeating steps that the caller teaches before each dance.

We arrived at 7:30 pm for the thirty-minute lesson that precedes each dance, and filled out green name tags that identified us as newbies. Red tags are reserved for the seasoned pros. There seemed to be plenty of first timers, just like us, so my three boys, Ethan (18), Jonah (13) and Isaac (11), our 13-year-old friend Laura, and my husband and I didn’t feel out of place at all.

To my surprise and delight, contra dancing was loads of fun, the family enjoyed it, and the regulars we met at the Grange were fantastic. You won’t meet a friendlier bunch of people. We felt welcome and encouraged the entire time.

Initially, my boys were afraid that they would be the youngest dancers there. Turned out, they were. But, once the practice was over and the dance started, all of us were swooped onto the dance floor. No sitting on the sidelines for us!

To read more, pick up a copy of the March 2016 issue at any of these locations, or view the digital archive copy here.

Find more of my adventures here.

Got tips for families ready to try contra dancing? Share in the comment section below!

Afton Nelson is a wife and mother of three boys, and a writer who loves exploring the Pacific Northwest with her family. Get to know her better at

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