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Contra Dance
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"Serving the South Bay area..."

Olympia Contra Dance

We will be changing our masking policies starting in February 2024 to better align with the preferences of our community members. Since re-starting the dances in early 2022, we have focused on offering a safe environment for as many people to dance as possible while checking in periodically with community preferences through surveys. Our upcoming policy change is informed by the results of a survey conducted in November 2023. We recognize that this change may be difficult for those who enjoy things as they are, and may be frustrating for those who wanted change sooner. Please be kind to one another as we navigate this together.

What to expect:
First, what will stay the same?

  • Contact tracing and transparency about potential exposures
  • Ventilation with open windows, doors, and fans
  • Encouraging people to stay home if feeling unwell
  • Gathering feedback from community members
What will change?
  • We will no longer require masks. Instead:
    • We will continue to encourage people who can mask to do so and provide no-cost, well-fitting masks at the door for those who want them.
    • We will work to create a dance community that supports all masking choices. We know there are many reasons why a dancer may choose to mask or not mask on any given night.

We strongly encourage dancers to do all that they can to take care of their own health and the health of those around them. For those who can, this could mean staying up to date on all available vaccinations (Influenza, COVID, etc.), wearing masks, and staying home when sick.

Read the full COVID protocols

What is Contra Dancing?

Contra is community-oriented social folk dancing to live music. It's lively, joyful, welcoming, modern, traditional, and fun! No partner or experience is needed to have a great time, so we hope to see you on the dance floor!

The Details


Our dances are typically held on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month.

  • Lesson: for new dancers: 7:00 pm.
  • Dance: 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Ways to stay connected and learn about upcoming dances:

Cost: Sliding scale $10-25 (NOTAFLOF). We prefer cash (so we can easily pass it along to the performers), but also accept checks and online payment forms using your smart phone.

Role terms: Our callers typically use non-gendered role terms (larks and robins) to identify the two dance roles. There are many resources describing these role terms; here is one collection of Q&As on role terms gathered by another dance organization.

COVID: Well-fitting masks are required through January 2024 (and provided for those who forget). These protocols will change starting in February 2024; review the full COVID protocols here.

Where: Dances are held at the South Bay Grange at 3918 Sleater Kinney Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98506. There is a gravel parking lot just to the south of the building along Sleater Kinney and you are welcome to use the school parking lot across the street.

Community: contra dancing is not just about dancing to great music, it's also about being part of a safe, supportive, and inclusive community. Check out our community standards and code of conduct. Use our feedback form to share any suggestions or requests, or to let us know if something happened that made you feel uncomfortable.

Who: Since dancing restarting in 2021, these contra dances have been hosted by a committee of the South Bay Grange rather than the Olympia Contra Dance Community (OCDC).

Upcoming Dances

February 24, 2024: Riffraff with Elisabeth Monica calling! The band is Lindon Toney (fiddle), Evo Toney (fiddle), and Jesse Partridge (guitar).

March 9, 2024: Special afternoon dance with Dave, Hayden, Marni, and Julie, with Koren Wake calling! Our all-star band is Dave Bartley (guitar), Hayden Stern (fiddle), Marni Rachmiel (flute, saxophone), and Julie Bennett (percussion). Lesson at 12:30, dance from 1:00-3:30. This dance is part of Cascade Promenade, a series of dances along the I-5 corridor. Dance here in the afternoon and then head down to the Portland Megaband dance in the evening!

Friday, March 22, 2024: Squares and Lines, an evening of contra and square dancing at the Grange! Live music from One Dollar Whiskey (Brian Lindsay, Penka Jane Culevski, and Alex Sturbaum), with contra dances called by Lindsey Dono and square dances called by Suzanne Girardot.

Saturday, March 23, 2024: Contra Quartet with Valerie Cohen calling! The band is Jay Finkelstein (guitar), Steve Cifka (cello), Julie Bennett (percussion), and Jesse Partridge (fiddle).

Add our upcoming dances to your Google Calendar (you must be logged into a Google account)

Past Dances

2024 contra dances

2023 contra dances

2022 contra dances

2021 contra dances

COVID exposure tracking results

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Updated 2024/02/22 14:02:32

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