This past weekend, a lucky seven of us drove up North to Delafield for our first dance of the Spring Semester. The pre-dance pot luck was delicious and gave us great fuel for four hours of dancing! A Rare Privilege, formerly known as The Ladies of the Lake provided the tunes. We’re excited that they’ll be playing at our next dance here in Beloit on February 21st.
This year was definitely a great one! We had indoor dances, outdoor dances, and a trip to Folklore Village in the fall. Last week, we had the Second Annual Beloit College Turtle Stomp on Chapid Quad. The Briar Pickers with Trent Cuthbert came up from Madison to play tunes and our caller Dot Kent kept everyone moving and grooving. Prior to the event, Taste of Beloit, an RA project, brought in samples from different local restaurants to fuel Beloiters up for dancing. During a dancing break, we announced the limited edition of Beloit Contra Club t-shirts (organic cotton–oh my) which cause a bit of a stampede. If you were fast enough, they are beautiful and designed by Grace and you should wear them everywhere. If you didn’t get one, there are more to come next year!
**Lovely photos by Grace
Oh Beloit! See y’all next year to continue the contra craze 🙂
The cold didn’t stop our most dedicated contra fans from coming out for the first dance of the Spring semester this past Friday. Caller Steve Pike and the Ladies of the Lake joined Beloit Contra Dance Club for a Valentine’s Day Dance.
The Hendrick’s Center was filled with pinks and reds on skirts as well as streamers gracing the walls, and two red roses decorated the band’s keyboard. We began with our standard half hour lesson followed by two and a half hours of dancing. Frequent water breaks kept us on our toes. An all-around favorite was the spiral dance.
Thanks everyone for coming out. Look out for updates on our March 22nd dance which will feature Beloit College’s own North Atlantic Music Ensemble!
Last Saturday a group of nine Beloit College students went to the University of Chicago’s 7th Annual Contra Dance Weekend. We attended the second night of dancing for the festival which featured live music from the groups Nor’easter and Money Creek Boys with calling by Will Mentor and Roger Diggle.
After zipping down to Chicago in one of Beloit’s white mega-vans, we had a little bit of time to check out our surroundings before the dancing started. Believe it or not, Beloiters arrived somewhere early! The day was cloudy and, by default, windy as we explored the gothic-style architecture of the campus. Ida Noyes Hall, where the dance was to take place, felt like a warm colonial dance hall complete with chandeliers and huge arching windows.
The afternoon session included some more complicated contra figures, but we took it slow and soon got into the rhythm of the dance after a week of classes. During these slower and more instructive hours leading up to the night dance, we learned the proper arm arrangement when swinging, discovered the allure of being a contra gypsie, and how to shamelessly ask someone to dance. The two hours of dancing went by in a flash and we dispersed into Hyde Park to scrounge up sustinance for the night ahead.
At 7pm it was time for the real whirl of fun to begin. You could feel the energy building as more people crowded into the small–by then glowing–hall and the moon rose. The first of many sets (at least four or five) began with a fast tempo and twirling skirts. There was even one dance that felt like the robot with eight people moving in a rotating square pattern. One dancer on the sideline described contra to us as “controlled chaos.” So accurate. It was only after the final waltz when we sat down in the chairs at the sides that we realized how much our feet hurt. Peanut butter and jelly in the van on the way back at one in the morning never tasted so good.
The festival definitely gave our group good practice for our dance next weekend here at Beloit.