The Loose Shoes contradance band will hold its annual contradance and music workshop Saturday, Feb. 22, at First Unitarian Church, 569 S. 1300 East.
Mike Richardson of Seattle, Wash., will lead a series of workshops during the day for callers, musicians and dancers, and will be caller at the evening dance.The schedule includes:
- 9 a.m. - Callers' workshop, for beginning callers, free for anyone attending any other workshop.
- 10:45 a.m. - Musicians workshop. Tips on playing for dances.
- 1:30 p.m. - Contradance workshop I.
- 3:15 p.m. - Contradance workshop II, advanced no-fault dancing.
- 8-11 p.m. - Evening dance.
Fee is $5 for each workshop, except the callers' workshop, and the evening dance, or $15 for the entire day including the evening dance.
Richardson will also present a contradance tune repertoire session at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. For location of the Friday session, or additional information on the Saturday workshops, call 466-1846.
Richardson is a well-known caller, dancer and musician among the contradance community in the Northwest. He plays guitar, banjo and fiddle, and will share some of the fiddle tunes and dances he has written.
Contradance (the name is believed to be either a corruption of "country," or derived from the Latin word for "against" because many dances begin with two rows of dancers facing each other) can be traced back through New England to the British Isles. It is an ancestor of today's Western square dancing but has a more traditional and less formal atmosphere.
Popular in New England and on the West Coast, contradance got its start in Salt Lake City in 1984. Richard Ebling, who had attended contradances in Indiana, moved to Salt Lake City and started the local dance. Dances are currently held monthly at First Unitarian Church.
Despite the long tradition of contradancing, lengthy lessons are not required to learn the dances. Most dancers and callers learn simply by attending community dances. Less-experienced dancers are helped along by a gentle tug or nudge in the right direction by more experienced dancers, who learned the same way.
Dancing with many different partners during the evening is another contradance tradition, making the dances a low-pressure way to socialize. And singles are welcome.
Music for the monthly dances is provided by the Loose Shoes Band, consisting of pretty much whatever musicians show up. A variety of English, Scottish, Irish and French-Canadian tunes - reels, hornpipes, marches and jigs - are played on such acoustic instruments as fiddle, concertina, mandolin, guitar, hammered dulcimer, banjo, tin whistle and piano.