Maura began contra dancing in the 1990s and grew to love this New England social dance form that has been gaining in popularity since its revival in the sixties. She learned from Marian Rose and others about dances children could do that would lead them into contra dancing, and quickly brought dance teaching into her repertoire with children as an elementary school teacher. It was more fun than supervising basketball! It also seemed far more useful than javelin throwing or baseball, for regular people.
These days Maura teaches and calls contra dancing for adults, and offers a program of easy dances for families, mixed-age communities and groups of children.
Maura also offers this curriculum as a professional development program for teachers and recreational leaders.
Contra Dance is a social dance similar to square dancing, sharing moves such as circle, swing, ladies chain, allemande, etc. But it is done in long lines with just one other couple at a time, then couples progress down and up the line. Everyone dances with everyone else in the line. It is done to live music, usually fiddle and piano or guitar. It is easy and fun for everyone, using primarily a walk step. Find out more about contra dance on the web, including Ottawa’s local contra community website: http://www.ottawacontra.ca. There is also lots of contra dancing on Youtube so you can see and hear what it is about.
If you decide to have a contra dance for your next party or community gathering, Maura will teach a beginners’ class and then teach and call every dance. The program is flexible, and adaptable for people who are at different levels (zero to expert).
Maura will contract the band and sound system if desired, and the resulting evening will be the most fun your group has had in years!
This is a program suitable for any multigenerational group, such as a school or child care community, a community centre, a workplace party or a large family gathering.
Maura teaches and calls dances from various folk traditions, in circles and longways sets. Many are danced to traditional songs that the participants sing while dancing. They are all suitable for beginners, so everyone can have fun right away.
Maura usually teams up with the excellent Greg T Brown for this program, on fiddle, guitar, acccordion and foot percussion, in addition to the singing voices of Maura and the participants. The band can be augmented if you want a fuller sound.