How We Dance!

We primarily do three types of dancing at FOOTMAD dances - contra dancing, square dancing and waltzes.  If you find yourself patting your foot or moving to good music, can walk and listen then you can do all of our dances. Of course you can improve your skills as you gain experience but nothing prevents even rank beginners from dancing and having a good time.  We do not require special clothes or skill levels at our dances.  Our more experienced dancers will gladly help you with all of our dances and we love to have beginning dancers attend

Contra Dancing

Contra is traditional New England folk dancing. Americans have enjoyed contra dances since Revolutionary times. They combined ideas from French and English country dancing with their own way of having fun and came up with contra dancing. It's a social dance akin to square dancing which has retained its simple, open, community-oriented spirit. 

Contra dancing is great exercise and great fun enjoyed by people of all ages and life-styles. It shares some elements with square dancing such as "swing your partner" and "do-si-do," but the couples form long lines rather than squares. It involves mixing with the other dancers as each couple does a set of other figures, called by a caller, with another couple before progressing to a new couple and repeating the routine.  Since the routine always repeats in contra dancing the role of the caller tends to diminish as the dance progresses.

This video produced by Steph Hodge of the Boston Concord Contra Dance group shows the good time we have at contra dances.

The Chattahoochee Country Dancers (Atlanta) have produced short videos teaching the basic moves of contra dancing.  You can view them by going to the CCD website "What is Contra" page and scrolling down to the videos.  You can also locate the videos by doing a You Tube search for "contra dance" or "contra dance training."

Square and Circle Dancing

Square dances consist of four couple squares.  Our square dancing differs from most modern square dancing in that we do it to live music, we do not require lessons or uniforms and we tend to stick to more traditional dance forms.  We have nice videos and pictures from the Georgy - Alabam Square Dance Weekend of square dancing as we do it.

Our circle dances (often called big circles) start with everyone in one or two big circles.  

One can further break these dances into two more categories - New England and Southern.  We primarily do Southern squares and circles with a smattering of New England.  For southern squares and circles callers teach some basic figures for the particular dance and often improvise as the dance progresses.  New England squares and circles generally have an invariable pattern as in contra dancing.  Southern squares and circles usually require more attentive listening than contra dancing as the caller has a more active role.  


Usually we will have a waltz just before the break and as the last dance of the evening.  If you don't know how to waltz, let our experienced dancers help you learn how to do this beautiful couple dance.  Although it may not look like it, at the most basic level waltzes consist of simply walking to the music just as in squares and contras.