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Contra community gets ready for dance season

Tammy Malgesini

East Oregonian

Published on September 4, 2018 6:07PM

People kick up their heels during a recent event sponsored by the Pendleton Contra Dance Community. The public is invited to join them Saturday at Pendleton Center for the Arts.

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People kick up their heels during a recent event sponsored by the Pendleton Contra Dance Community. The public is invited to join them Saturday at Pendleton Center for the Arts.

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People are invited to kick up their heels as the Pendleton Contra Dance Community resumes its monthly events at Pendleton Center for the Arts.

The group welcomes people of all ages and skill levels. No experience or partner is necessary to participate.

“The goal is to have fun, enjoy music, meet new and old friends and learn a little more each time,” said Jill Johnson. “If you get lost, there are more experienced dancers to guide you.”

The upcoming dance is Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the basement at the arts center, 214 N. Main St., Pendleton. The event features live music by local musicians, playing a mix of bluegrass, old-time, traditional or even techno beats. The cost is $8 for adults or $15 for a couple. No childcare is provided, but kids are welcome to participate with their parents.

Contra dancing has its origins in a range of folk traditions, including English country dance and Appalachian dancing, Johnson said. Callers teach the sequence of the dance steps before the music starts.

“It’s a form of social dancing that one can attend without a partner,” she said. “Dancers are paired up in long lines and follow the instructions of a caller.”

The dances, Johnson said, provides a fun evening with live music and lots of laughter. There is no set dress code, but Johnson said smooth-soled shoes allow people to turn easily. Cowboy boots, she said, are great for contra dancing. As far as attire, she said the key is comfort — people wear everything from shorts or pants to skirts or kilts.

The Pendleton Contra Dance Community hosts dances the second Saturday of each month September through June — except December and January when the weather makes driving more difficult, Johnson said. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/pendletoncontradancers or contact Johnson at jmjpac@gmail.com.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539



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