Contra Dancing will be introduced to the Blue Sky Folk Festival this year. Here are dancers at Blue Sky's sister festival, the Lake Erie Folk Fest in Euclid. Photo by Jen Hearn
Dancers at Blue Sky’s sister festival, the Lake Erie Folk Fest in Euclid. Photo by Jen Hearn

Whether you are a passionate follower of contra dance or you are just dipping your toe into the waters, these sessions are for you. Contra dancing is similar to square dancing. You don’t need to bring a partner because everyone dances with everyone else by the end of the evening. The steps are simple and repetitive, and a caller tells you what to do next.

Get a leg up on your contra dancing experience by attending this full track of contra dance workshops and dances.


Noon – 12:45   Contra Dancing Made Easy, Bill O’Connor

Bill O’Connor has been dancing for 25 years in the Cleveland area. He especially enjoys contra dancing & English Country Dance but also enjoys jitterbug. He will lead newcomers through some basic contra dances that he has written.


1 – 1:45   Contra Dance, Kenny Wilson

Kenny Wilson has been a caller for 40 years, originally hailing from the New Hampshire contra scene. Here in Ohio he calls dances regularly on the third Tuesdays at Chagrin Falls Township Hall.


2 – 2:45  Basic Folk Waltz, Bill O’Connor & Carol Kopp


Carol Kopp
Carol Kopp

3 – 3:45   Contra Dance (no walk-throughs), Carol Kopp

Carol Kopp is a nationally recognized English country and contra dance caller and choreographer, widely known in the northeast Ohio contra dance community.


4 – 4:45   Contra Dance – Fun and Fantastical, Carol Kopp


Video – Ann Arbor, Michigan dance with Carol Kopp, caller

Contra dance has its roots in the music and dancing of the British Isles. It came to the New World with the earliest settlers. New England style contra dancing was probably brought to the Cuyahoga Valley by settlers arriving from New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New York.