First Saturday Contra Dance

  • The Peterborough Town House Staff photo by Ben Conant

Thursday, July 26, 2018 10:5AM

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Peterborough First Saturday Contra Dance on Aug. 4 at the historic Town House in Peterborough, featuring Tod Whittemore calling with the Sugar River Band.

Contra dance is a fun, easy style of folk dance which has flourished in New England since the 1700s. Partners form lines and dance a short sequence of steps with their neighbors. Over the course of the dance, each couple travels the length of the line and dances with every other couple. Dancers are welcome to bring a partner or a group of friends but it’s not necessary – traditionally, dancers are encouraged to change partners throughout the evening.

Whittemore has been calling dances for 40 years, having begun his career at the time when famous callers Ralph Page and Duke Miller were still active in the Monadnock Region. Whittemore has called dances all over the world, and is known for his humor, energy and infectious love of dancing.

The Sugar River Band is led by Jane Orzechowski of Newport. She will be joined by her sons Francis and Russell playing piano and fiddle. Traditional arts apprenticeship grants from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts have helped to support each of them to learn contra dance music. They’ll be joined by Peterborough’s Sarah Bauhan on whistles and flute.

Dancing begins at 8 p.m. The dance also hosts a free jam session for beginning and intermediate musicians at 6:30 p.m. and a workshop for new dancers at 7:30 p.m.