Contra in The Couve!

2nd Friday Contra Dance

f Follow Contra in the Couve! on Facebook:

This site has moved to Please edit bookmarks, etc. to point to this new URL.
Click here to redirect to the new site.

Sunday, October 29, 1:30 - 4 pm
Halloween Family/Contra dance at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver
4505 E 18th St., Vancouver
More info

Friday, November 10, 2017
Lesson at 7:30 pm, dance 8 - 10:30

Stepwise, with
Tarka Ayres calling

at the Hazel Dell Grange,
7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave., Vancouver WA

Download the Flyer


   Stepwise: Carl, Keith, and Fran

Tarka Ayres

    Tarka Ayres

Join us Friday, November 10, as we dance to the lively music of Stepwise, with choreography supplied by Tarka Ayres.

Tarka Ayres, of Hillsboro, has lived in many places and enjoys a diverse spectrum of dancing, from ballet to zydeco. She started contra dancing regularly in 2004 and owes her sanity through medical school to the New Haven contra dancers. She was moved to start calling as way to be a more active participant in the music and dance community. As a caller, Tarka provides clear instruction, a repertoire of interesting dances, and a friendly connection with dancers,. Her proficiencies are well-known in the region around Portland.

Stepwise evolved from the long-established local band, Hands4. They perform as a trio with a more traditional repertoire and retaining the classic contra dance instrumentation of fiddle (Keith Moe), reeds (Fran Tewksbury), and piano (Carl Thor). All three members are seasoned players with many years on the regional contra dance circuit. When Stepwise takes the stage, the rafters ring and the level of excitement in the dance hall ramps up. It's finger-snappin' good!

Friday, November 10
Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave.
Lesson at 7:30 pm, dance 8 - 10:30 pm
Admission: $7 / $5 for 65 or over, and under 12

Special note for Portland contra dancers:
We are only 10 miles from downtown Portland and we have some of the best bands and callers in the region at our dances.

Friday traffic got you down? Try waiting until 7:30 or 8:00 to head north.
Or come with a friend before 6pm, use the carpool lane through N. Portland, and have dinner in “the Couve.”

About Contra in the Couve!

We contra dance in Vancouver (WA) on the second Friday of every month at the Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. This fine, roomy dance hall has a great wood floor and an easy-to-find location, with plenty of parking, just a few blocks from I-5, Exit 4. We welcome new and experienced dancers alike, and we invite you to come and dance with us!

What the heck is contra dancing? Contra dancing is an American social dance tradition dating back to the colonial period. It's fun, interactive, easy to learn, great exercise, and has nothing to do with Nicarauga. Some say that if you can walk, you can contra dance, because there is no fancy footwork involved. Contra dance is not country line dancing, nor is it square dancing, though we may occasionally dance a square. Contra is square's Yankee cousin and, like square dancing, is always prompted by a caller. So if you've ever done square dancing, contra will seem familiar to you — but no fancy outfit is required! To learn more about contra dancing, check out Gary Shapiro's informative page.

No experience needed. All dances are taught. Come alone or with a partner.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Always live music!

Please wear soft-soled shoes, free of grit from outside. Shoes with leather or suede soles, or dance sneakers make for easier turning.
The dance floor and your feet will be happier. Thanks!

Celtic knotwork


Contra in The Couve! Schedule

Date Caller Music
June 9, 2017 Carol Piening (Olympia) The Electrodes (Seattle)
July 14, 2017 Noah Grunzweig (Portland) Cascade Crossing Trio (Vancouver/Portland)
Aug. 11, 2017 Gordy Euler (Portland) The Waxwings (Olympia)
Sep. 8, 2017 Rich Goss (Battle Ground) Cascade Crossing Trio (Portland/Clark County)
Oct. 13, 2017 Noah Grunzweig (Portland) The BFD (Portland)
Nov. 10, 2017 Tarka Ayres (Portland) Stepwise (Portland/Vancouver)
Dec. 8, 2017 David Kaynor (Montague, MA) The Euphemists (Portland)

Always the 2nd Friday.             Get multi-month flyer

Celtic knotwork


Contact us

Please note our email addresses will be changing, from contra-van-wa 'dot' org to ContraInTheCouve 'dot' org (October 2017).

We are committed to the enjoyment and safety of all in our dance community. Click here to view our Safe Dancing Policy. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. You can talk to an organizer at the dance, write a comment in our guest book at the dance, or contact us by email to info 'at' contra-van-wa 'dot' org. If you email, please include your phone number if you would like to speak with a dance organizer.

Join our mailing list to receive e-mail reminders of Vancouver contra dances. Please sign up here:

Bands and callers, if you are interested in playing or calling for a future Vancouver contra dance, please send an e-mail to booking 'at' contra-van-wa 'dot' org with information about your band or your calling.

Please send feedback on our web site to webmaster 'at' contra-van-wa 'dot' org.

facebook logo   Like us on Facebook.

How can I help?

Putting on a contra dance really is a community effort, and there are many ways you can get involved to help keep this dance series going strong. Here are a few of the valuable and important contributions you might make:

To volunteer or to learn more about how you can help, please email info 'at' contra-van-wa 'dot' org.

And here's something you can do right now! Just download the Flyer for our next dance, print two or three copies, and post them at your workplace, church, school, favorite cafe, or neighborhood bulletin board. Or, better yet, give one to a friend and invite him or her to come with you to the next dance.

Thank you for your ongoing support of this dance series!

Celtic knotwork


Directions to Hazel Dell Grange

Hazel Dell Grange

Map to Hazel Dell Grange

View Larger Map

Celtic knotwork


Videos: Contra Dance Training for Beginning Dancers

The Chattahoochee Country Dancers in Atlanta, GA, have produced a great series of contra dance instructional videos. If you are new to contra dancing, these short videos offer an opportunity for you to review some of the basics, away from the dance floor. Then you can have even more fun the next time you come to a dance. The YouTube versions are listed below. CCD also has a very informative page for new dancers at their web site.

  1. Introduction - Watch this first
  2. Two Dancers
  3. Four Dancers or Hands Four
  4. A Contra Line & Progression
  5. Come Dance With Us
  6. A Called Dance #1
  7. A Called Dance #2
  8. Tips for New Dancers
  9. Contra Video Credits
  10. Welcome New Dancers -- Susan Davis
  11. Welcome New Dancers -- Rob Harper

CCD also offers a higher resolution DVD version of these videos.

Celtic knotwork