The Bay Area Country Dance Society Website

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Welcome, Newcomers!

We're glad you are coming to join in the fun!

photo of whirling dancers

This is the dance form America grew up with: the barn dance, the hoedown, the fancy dress ball. It's been fun for more than three centuries. It's still fun. We think you'll like it, too. Here's why:

  • It's easy to learn. If you can walk and smile, you can do this kind of dance. The caller will explain all the moves and walk you through the dance before it starts, and continue to prompt you as the dance goes on. Pretty soon everybody in the room is doing it mostly right, and everyone is having fun!
  • It's a great social mixer. This is "community" dancing. Come alone or with another; you're WELCOME either way. Our dances focus on the group, not on individual couples. There's no awkward singles scene, nor hidden agendas when asking someone to dance. People of all ages and social situations just come to have fun and dance! Both men and women are encouraged to ask each other to dance. We customarily change partners after each dance, so we get to dance with lots of different people. Even if you don't change partners, you and your partner will do a round of the dance with every other couple in your set. It's literally true, in some contra dances, that you will be swinging a new person in your arms every twenty seconds. Besides, we're a friendly group. We get to know one another, and go out for dinner before, or dessert after, the dances.
  • It's easy, yet never boring. As quickly as you'll pick up the mechanics of moves, you'll also start seeing patterns, flow, rhythms, begin to appreciate the beauty of the patterns. There are thousands of dances in the répertoire, and new ones are being composed all the time, but always made up of the same basic moves, so you'll be amazed how fast you're an "expert." You walk up and down the length of the dance hall, interacting with the other dancers as you go, and the music carries you along.
  • And there's the music Did I mention the music? It's all live music: fantastic fiddle tunes, driving Celtic rhythyms, Cajun and old-timey and whatever else the band gets charged up with. And that's just the contra-dance music. The music for English dance is another world entirely, and not to be missed. You can't get this kind of music in a concert, and you wouldn't want to. You need to be up and moving your feet to it.

Want to try a taste? Of course you do! Many of our evening dances are preceded by a free newcomers' session to introduce the basics. If you are new to this kind of dancing, please try to arrive in time for that class (although it's not required). You'll feel much more comfortable much sooner. Plus, first-time attendees to the newcomers' session get a "next dance free" coupon!

Oh and sure, while you're having fun, you can brag about the tradition. This is the dance form America grew up with, the barn dance, the hoedown, the fancy dress ball, and all the rest of it. It's been fun for more than three centuries - if that's not a trend, what is?

Tell me more about this kind of community dance!

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