"Serving the South Bay area..." |
Olympia Contra Dance
We will be changing our COVID-19 policies in July 2023 to better align with the current status of COVID-19 in our community and preferences of our community members. Our approach since re-starting the dances in early 2022 has been to focus on offering a safe environment for as many people to dance as possible. We recognize that this change may be difficult for those who enjoy things as they are, and may be disappointing to those who were hoping for a different or more drastic change. Please be kind to one another as we navigate this together.
What to expect:
First, what will stay the same?
What will change?
- Requiring well-fitting masks (and providing masks for those who forget them)
- Active contact tracing and transparency about potential exposures
- Increased ventilation with open windows, doors, and fans
- Encouraging people to stay home if feeling unwell
- Gathering feedback from community members
- We will no longer require proof of vaccination or booster. We strongly encourage dancers who can, to stay up to date on all available vaccinations (Influenza, COVID, etc.)
Read the full COVID protocols and how we made this decision below the "Upcoming dances" section of this page.
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!
Our dances are typically held on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month - check the schedule regularly or sign up for occasional email reminders
- Lesson: for new dancers: 7:00 pm.
- Dance: 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Cost: Sliding scale $10-20 ($5 for under 18). 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.
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.
COVID: We recognize that contra dancing is a high-risk activity for spreading covid and we care deeply about the health, safety, and joy of this community. For now, proof of vaccinations, booster (if eligible), and well-fitting masks are required. These protocols align with the practices of other active contra dance communities in the PNW. These protocols will change starting in July 2023; review both our current and future protocols below.
Who: For now, these contra dances are being hosted by the South Bay Grange, rather than the Olympia Contra Dance Community (OCDC). In order to stay connected, sign up for our new email list or join the group on Facebook.
May 27th, 2023: No Olympia dance Contra dancing (and so much more) at the 52nd Annual Northwest Folklife Festival May 27-30. https://nwfolklife.org/festival This event is FREE to the public. Masks and vaccines encouraged, but not required. Contra dances will have one dedicated "Mask only" line.
June 10th, 2023: Contra dance! Live music by Natterjack (Alex Sturbaum, Hayden Stern, Ezra Jane Landsman, and special guest - Julie Bennett) and calling by Amy Wimmer (robins/larks)!
June 24th, 2023: Contra dance! Live music by Riffraff and calling by TBA (robins/larks)!
July 8th, 2023: Contra dance! Live music by Noah VanNorstrand and Dave Bartley and calling by Craig Wolfe (robins/larks)!
July 22nd, 2023: Contra dance! Live music by Riffraff and calling by David Kreiss-Tomkins (robins/larks)
COVID protocols through June 2023
To mitigate some of the risks, we are doing the following: 1) require well fitting masks - we will supply KN-95s at the door for those who need them, 2) require proof of full covid vaccination (including boosters, when eligible), 3) collect emails of attendees for contact tracing purposes, 4) open doors and windows for better ventilation. Out of concern for our community and the health care system, we ask that those at higher risk or in regular contact with higher risk individuals not attend at this time (including unvaccinated housemates and young children). We will all dance together again one day.
Please bring your ID and proof of vaccination, and be prepared to fill out a registration form at the door. We ask that if you have symptoms or test positive (or negative) within 3-7 days of the dance that you let us know. We will contact dancers if another dancer reports symptoms or a positive covid test. Once you have verified your vaccination status, you will need to check in at the door for future dances, but no longer need to show proof of vaccination.
If you have any questions, please contact SBGrangeEvents@gmail.com.
Of course, all of this is subject to change with the fluctuating status of COVID-19.
The following protocols will go into effect July 2023. We will continue to update them as conditions change.
Masks: We require a well-fitting mask to be worn by all attendees (exception for musicians and callers while on stage). Masking continues to be an effective and accessible way of protecting dancers from a variety of airborne diseases. (We will continue to provide KN-94 or similar masks if you forget.)
Vaccinations: We encourage you to stay up to date with any available vaccinations as a way to protect yourself against illness. However, as of July 2023, we will no longer require dancers to document that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Current COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in our community are significantly lower than when we first adopted these protocols; vaccinations and medications have helped reduce the impact of this disease in our community.
Contact Tracing: When you attend one of our dances, we collect your email address. You will receive a reminder email requesting that you let us know if you become ill within 7 days of the dance. If we learn that someone has become sick, we will let you know that you might have been exposed (without revealing the person's identity). We also provide results of the contact tracing online.
Common Sense Self-Wellness Check: Please stay home if you are not feeling well on the day of the dance (even if it's "just a cold"). We also request that, if you become ill and/or test positive for COVID within 7 days of a dance you attended, you send us an email at SBGrangeEvents@gmail.com.
We will also track the rate of cases in our community and at our dances. If case rates rise, or if we see more cases of COVID/illness among dancers, we will re-evaluate these protocols.
If you have any questions or comments about our COVID protocols, please contact us at SBGrangeEvents@gmail.com.
Why are we making these changes?
- To better align with the current / ever changing status of COVID, while emphasizing safety.
- While people have reported testing positive for COVID after several of our dances, it has never been more than one individual, leading us to believe that COVID has not spread at any of our dances (see contact tracing results of past dances here). As we alter our protocols, it is certainly possible that COVID could spread at our dances, in which case we will revisit our new policy and may tighten restrictions again.
- We prioritize the use of high-quality masks, which we believe are the most effective protection not only from COVID-19 but colds and flu as well.
- We value being able to offer this COVID-safe space for people who may not otherwise be able to participate in social dance, recognizing that few spaces remain which still require masks.
- To better align with results of a survey conducted in early 2023, which gathered input from over 180 Olympia contra dancers on COVID-19 policy preferences
(Oly Contra survey summary).
- Among other things, we learned that there are still many different opinions about how COVID should be addressed in our community, that our current policy excludes people in a variety of ways, and that a significant number of people are open to slightly loosening our current policies, with a preference for removing vaccination verification before masking requirements.
- To better align with community values of creating an inclusive space by allowing folks who cannot provide proof of the COVID-19 vaccination and booster to attend the dances.
- Current protocols are not easily accessible for new dancers; many people do not carry vaccine cards with them anymore, and are frequently turned away at the door.
- Our current protocols requiring proof of vaccination/booster exclude some people who were community members before COVID and would like to dance again.
- Our current protocol does not allow for people to attend who have medical or other conditions which prevent vaccination. We considered allowing a negative covid test as a substitute, but that is no longer an equitable option for many. Also, as organizers, we are not comfortable asking individuals to disclose that type of medical information.
- To save time and effort for organizers and volunteers, so that more energy can go into other aspects of organizing these dances.
2023 contra dances
2022 contra dances
2021 contra dances
COVID exposure tracking results