Both square dancing and contra dancing have roots in traditional folk dances. They descended from English country dances that filtered through France and then New England. They group social dances that usually involve a caller. Square dancing is performed in groups of 4 couples. In contra dancing, the groups can contain as many couples as will fit in the length of a hall. These dances are some of the least awkward/uncomfortable types of dances to go to since you don't need to come with a partner and you're expected to change partners every dance anyway. It is also very easy to join in without any experience.
Here is a picture from a Square Dancing Social that we hosted on Homewood campus in October 2013. Professional caller Shane Knudsen called moves to the lively music of Brad Kolodner (banjo, fiddle, guitar), Ken Kolodner (fiddle, hammered dulcimer) and Alex Lacquement (bass).
If you're at all interested, there is more information at the website: http://www.bfms.org/events.php. There are "new dancer" workshops at 7:30 pm on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month (that just happens to be this week :-D, and lessons are really helpful if you've never gone square/contra dancing before). The dances themselves are at 8 pm every Wednesday. The cost is $6 for students, which includes the workshop before the dance. Here's the address:
Lovely Lane United Methodist Church
2200 St. Paul St.
Baltimore, MD 21218-5805
At Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD, there is Contra and Square Dancing every Friday and Sunday evening.
On Fridays, there is a beginner lesson 7:30pm-8:15pm, followed by open dancing 8:30pm-11:30pm. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for 17 & under, which includes the beginner lesson before open dancing.
On Sundays, there is a beginner lesson at 7:00 pm. It costs $10.00 for members of FSGW.org and affiliated groups (BFMS, CDSS, ATDS) and $13.00 for all others. Children ages 7 to 22 (over 17 with student ID) $5.00.
Glen Echo Park