Friday, January 6, 2012

Need Some Help… Square Dancing!

When I was young, every Friday night my grandma and grandpa would go to the local Scottish Rite Lodge to square dance.  This must have been in the late late 70′s and very early 80′s…they had already retired and had pretty much stopped buying new clothes quite a while before that. There was something so sweet and totally unusal (to my eye) in these clothes that were easily 10 to 15 years old, but worn with such pride and dignity;  I would love to recapture that graceful, small, local community atmosphere that my grandparents and their friends enjoyed so much at those gatherings.  So, I’m asking if you guys have any leads on where to find small, local, ongoing square dance gatherings.

 

I’m not necessarily looking for the best, most fancy, or “dressed up” square dancers…But a small, local place where people go to dance for the sheer joy of each others company, and the comraderie they find there.  Maybe it’s a more American version of the polka dancers I had captured in Milan a few years ago.

As you can see from the photograph, the image isn’t really about dancing.  Dancing is just the culture that brought these people together.   For some reason I imagine traveling to Virginia, or Kentucky, or Nashville for this… but who knows, maybe it’s Montana or North Dakota– that’s the fun and adventure of my job!

 

So, let me know in the comments section any suggestions that you guys may have for me.

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  1. Stacy

    January 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Hey – my grandparents used to square dance all the time in rural minnesota. Here’s a link to a minnesota square dance website. I’d recommend checking with the Koronis Nite Owls, to start. http://www.squaredanceminnesota.com/centralwest.0.html

    Stacy

  2. Liel

    January 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    If you’re looking for the more country-western styles of dance, Utah has a bit of it. It’s often more country swing or line dancing, in the end, but I am confident you can find square dancing somewhere in the state.

  3. Hana

    January 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    just judging from the picture, it looks to me more like ball room dancing than square one …
    anyway, if you are around Washington DC, try Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom programs, they have regular weekend daces of any kind
    h.

  4. Carly

    January 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I remember doing some line dancing as a kid in a rafting neighborhood in PA. Not much of a lead for you, but I bet you’d find some gems in the western part of the state! Your readers will come up with something — and it’s a good thing because you can’t Google that ;)

  5. Aliceglen

    January 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    mountain opry signal mountain tn

  6. 366

    January 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    If you go to Berlin, there you’ll definitely find the most amazing place: people gather to dance tango in a underground “tango loft”, you’ll really love it.
    Cheers!

  7. Kaylynn

    January 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Check out Friday nights at the “Grand Ole Oplin.” Dances are held at the community center in Oplin, TX. http://grandoleoplin.com/

  8. Cathy

    January 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Birmingham has some Contra dancing: https://sites.google.com/site/bfootmad/

    I think it’d be super fun to photograph the Mentone dance weekend: https://sites.google.com/site/bfootmad/mentone-dance-weekend

  9. Kate Brimer

    January 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

  10. Lauren

    January 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    This might interest you:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Indiana-Square-Dancing-promotion/140848819285378

    P.S. – How about that Hoosier basketball??

    -A fellow IU Apparel Merch/CCT Alum

  11. Beth

    January 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    This made me think of a shop, along a beautiful mountain road that we take up to cross-country skiing and hot springs in the winter, that advertises square dancing apparel. Turns out they are a bit of an epicenter for the entire subculture. Might be a fruitful place to begin …

    http://lolocampndance.com/

  12. Marion

    January 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    You might also look for Contra dancing. One source for finding dancers is to find the musicians that play for them, try calling a music store and asking if they know of any blue grass musicians that play for contra or square dances.

  13. India

    January 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Tucked in to the Ukrainian National Home (on 2nd Ave and 9th Street), there is a bar called Sly Fox. A door in the very back of the bar will lead you to an eerie room of linoleum tile that connects the bar to a sunken ballroom. Here, Ukrainian couples dance polka every Friday night from 7 pm until the early hours of the morning. It’s the most romantic evening in the East Village.

  14. weofp

    January 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    In Milan there should be one in the Associazione Nazionale Combattenti e Reduci sezione Porta Venezia, in Via Cadamosto 2, just next to the police station. It’s a kind of osteria/ristorante with a dancing area more or less like the one in the photo.

  15. India

    January 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    The Ukrainian National Home on 2nd Avenue and 9th Street has a bar hidden inside called Sly Fox. In the back of the bar is a doorway that leads to a sunken ballroom where there is polka night every Friday. An amazing sight.

  16. Chandra

    January 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    When I was a child, I wore my aunt’s old square dancing costumes every year for Halloween. I always loved putting on the big full skirt and petticoats. Funny though, she never taught me how to dance. Probably because I was all legs and clumsy till I was 35.

    Maybe this will help? It’s the link to a website of a square dance called in Wichita, KS. Perhaps they would have some ideas for you?
    http://davidrmyers.net/default.aspx

  17. Kerlisa

    January 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Head to Montana! I remember going through my grandma’s closet & just being in love w/ her square dancing outfits when I was young! They were so over the top. She passed in 1989 & my grandfather just passed last year; I’m not sure what has happened to those old square dancing clothes…

    They lived in a small town called Lewistown which is about an hour NW of Billings. There are all kinds of small towns up there where dance halls still exist such as Grass Range & Winnett.

  18. Rebecca

    January 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I have a friend who square dances every Thursday, and I believe she wears a full-skirted dress etc. Valley Center, about 35 miles NE of San Diego. (Bet you wouldn’t have guessed southern California!)

  19. Verity

    January 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    This isn’t square dancing, but perhaps similar enough that it might suit your purposes. Here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana the Cajun French Music Association holds cajun dances on every other Friday of the month. Their website is: http://batonrougecajundance.com/. The crowd is definitely skewed older, although alot of families attend too. But cajun music and dancing is a vibrant part of the culture down here. I love to watch the older couples dancing, because you can frequently tell they have been each other’s partner for decades.

  20. Lee

    January 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Try attending a contra dance if you’re in the Philadelphia or Boston areas, as well as much of New England. I think you’ll find the same sense of community. And definitely a wide range of style choices!

  21. linda wright

    January 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I am thinking you could find your thrill in Square Dancing in Texas.
    There is a wonderful place called Billy Bob’s in Ft. Worth, Texas. This is the city that is considered to be “Where The West Begins”. They have incredible western bands every weekend and the Cowgirls and Cowboys are there for the rendezvous to dance………Western Style. GO and ENJOY.
    Take the time to go down the black to Leddy Bros. The only place where the real cowboys buy their boots and hats.

  22. Sarah

    January 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Swallows Inn in San Juan Capistrano, CA has some great country dancing and western attire (cowboy boots/hats, sequined blouses etc.) on Friday nights. It’s kind of a mixed crowd, but some of those old couples just float on the hardwood.

  23. barchbo

    January 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    My husband’s entire family is from or lives in rural North Dakota (though “rural North Dakota” is quite redundant. I have heard them speak fondly of square dancing and I know it’s the “official dance of North Dakota” – so they say. I’ll see what I can learn!

    Have you checked Lancaster County, PA? I have family near there and seems like the kind of place that would have square dancing. Have you heard much about Contra dancing? It seems to be similar, but with more of a hippie vibe than solid Elks’ Club square dancing (where my grandparents went.)

    Good luck! I look forward to seeing the outcome.

  24. lauren c.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    we learned square dancing every year in PE … 1990-1995. Such a fond memory.! “bow to your partner, bow to your corner..”

  25. Katie Sullivan

    January 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I am so proud to be from the part of California so few people know, let alone visit: NorCal (not the Bay Area – but the legit northstate with more livestock & cropland than people). For a real treat, trek out to tiny McCloud, CA on the other side of Mt.Shasta. There is a fine interest square dancing there. I put the link to more info above. And finally, thank you so much for this beautiful blog. I’ve never commented before – but it’s just one of my favorite places to visit online. Thanks again!

  26. Danielle

    January 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I really love this post. My grandparents would also go square dancing once a week. As a child, I used to love dressing up in my grandma’s old square dance dresses and fluffy slips. I’ll have to find out where they went and see if they still offer square dancing nights.

  27. Jessica

    January 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Also, I second the Signal Mountain, TN suggestion up there- gotta represent for Chattanooga :)

  28. Kate

    January 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    We went contra dancing a few times when I was at the University of Wisconsin. It was always fun, and it’s very similar to square dancing. A quick google search shows:

    http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/dances.htm
    http://squaredancewisconsin.blogspot.com/

    Hope it helps!

  29. Rachel

    January 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Ohio! Try the square dances in the barn at Malabar Farm State Park. They’re always packed and full of all kinds of people: http://www.malabarfarm.org/index.php/event-guide?task=view_event&event_id=33

  30. Elena

    January 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    So lovely!

    If you want to learn about how to look great in a total look in red … check out: http://www.gossipdress.com/blog

  31. ag

    January 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    http://www.squaredancing.com/osdf/

    Oklahoma Square Dancing Federation!

  32. princessglee

    January 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Such a sweet idea. I’m already enjoying the response you’re getting. thanks

  33. Aimee Moran

    January 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Scott,
    Here in Boise, Idaho, we have some good old fashioned square dancin’ fun going on!
    First Friday of each month, young and old gather downtown for some live music and square dancing.
    http://www.facebook.com/linenbuilding?sk=events
    We’d love to share some of Idaho culture with you. Come on out!
    Aimee

  34. kate

    January 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I would look into Chattanooga, TN. I used to marvel at my stepfather’s trove of squaredancing gear, kercheifs and all. Admittedly, I swiped and donned a garish belt buckle emblazoned with dancing silohuettes during my kitchy indie girl phase in the 90′s.

  35. bambi

    January 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm

  36. Ashley B

    January 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    My friend and I accidentally stumbled upon one a few years ago while checking out art galleries in downtown Lexington, KY. We had the BEST time learning to dance and I think it’s exactly what you’re looking for. Wish I had more details to give you but I have no idea what the place was called.

  37. Ryan

    January 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I live in Missoula, Montana and there’s a pretty unique combination square dance center/campground that draws a diverse crowd of experienced and inexperienced dancers.

    http://lolocampndance.com/

  38. Kate

    January 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Can’t wait to see these pictures :)

    Kate

    http://www.thrillofthechaise.com

  39. Meredith

    January 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    There’s a place near Oxford, Maine called The Silver Spur. It’s a barn, it’s BYOB, you pay like 5 bucks to get in, there’s a live band, and people just get out there and line dance and square dance and it’s the best time ever. So friendly!

  40. cheryl katz

    January 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    On Wednesday evenings, starting at about 7P.M. during the months of July and August in the small Cape Cod town of Wellfleet, there is square dancing on the town’s pier.The caller – usually in a print sport shirt, light colored pants, and white shoes (and matching belt) – is an old timer who saves the Virginia Reel for the last dance.
    The dance attracts everyone – the very young to the very old, locals as well as summer visitors.
    Its a blast, especially if you’ve got time to grab an ice cream before you head home.

  41. Aneel

    January 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    You’ll want to check out Country Dance New York @ http://cdny.org/ — they run both English Country Dances and Contra Dances in a couple of locations around the city.

  42. Theresa

    January 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    As a Louisiana native I can’t help but mention that Cajun and Zydeco dancing events would provide you with some really unique sights (and sounds) if you ever find yourself in the southern part of the state!

  43. Diego

    January 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Auld Recreation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska on every first Saturday of the month. It’s Contra dancing, not square dancing, but it’s very similar.

  44. Annie Bean

    January 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    My Granny has folk-danced in Balboa Park in San Diego, CA for more than 40 years. I have the best memories of going with her as a little girl and seeing all the dancers in their beautiful costumes doing everything from the jig to the tango. If you happen to make it there keep your eyes peeled for a lovely sartorial lady named Minalyn.

  45. sandra

    January 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

  46. Curtis knapp

    January 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    http://www.61nsdc.com/

    I just found you the motherload, and it’s in my hometown of Spokane, WA!

  47. gabriela

    January 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Why not Buenos Aires. You have so many small clubs where people go to dance tango and milonga. The most amazing ones are the ones located in barrios…my mother is 70 and she goes there with her boyfriend and friends…that places are so unreal….I live in Milan and when I go to Buenos Aires I feel the mix of Latin america, the European past..I don’t know how to explain it…if you want I can get more info…

  48. ShannonG

    January 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    The Pla Mor Ballroom just outside Lincoln, Nebraska. Ballroom dancing, country swing, line dancing and two stepping. Used to love to go and hang out there, such a unique group of people.

  49. J9

    January 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I heard piece on WNYC recently about a LGBT square dance group in NYC, might be worth checking out. http://www.timessquares.org/

  50. Ray

    January 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Bakersfield might be the answer!
    http://www.kernsq.org/

  51. Chris

    January 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I grew up in Utah and was a square dancer in middle school. There’s definitely a lot of square dancing in Utah – I remember going to one held on top of the dam across the Green River at Flaming Gorge, which was a beautiful spot for it but is probably not done anymore post-9/11. You might find more info at http://utsquaredance.org/

  52. Erica

    January 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Being from Wyoming, I learned to square dance in the 4th grade! But I never put it to good use. :(
    All over Wyoming and Colorado there are clubs dedicated to square dancing. In going to the clubs you might possibly find those fancy and dressed-up people you don’t want to shoot, but it’s worth a shot!
    I’ve actually never been to a squre dancing club but I found a list online: http://www.squaredancing.com/neasdc/clubs.shtml
    You’ve GOT to go to the west for this!

  53. Brelyn

    January 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Polka is still alive and well among the older generations in northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s immediately what I thought of when you described your grandparents.

  54. gail

    January 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    chatauqua hall in pacific grove, california. and the contra dances in monterey county.
    beauty in clothing and architecture of the old hall, and the grange halls….and always the tide pools.

  55. RĂ­a

    January 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I know here in Spain there are some places where the old people go dance on the weekends.
    I love to know that they are having fun.

    http://www.atitelavoyacontar.blogspot.com

  56. justine

    January 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    You should infiltrate the world-wide tango networks in New York, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Paris… I know it isn’t what your post is about but your photo reminds me of some of the tango intelligentsia… Really quite stylish people!

    justine

  57. Kathryn

    January 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Central Ohio has a number of square dances weekly, and a dear 83-year-old friend of mine goes regularly and wears clothes that she made in the 1960s that are comparable to the women in the upcoming documentary, Advanced Style. You can find more about the dances here: http://www.bucksanddoessingles.com/events.php?o=x

    Great project! Have fun.

  58. Laura

    January 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Go to Houston, TX! They have a crazy square dancing culture there — we spent an entire semester on it every year I was in elementary school! And my grandparents did square dancing for many years.

  59. Victoria

    January 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    You and your camera will have a fabulous time at the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park near Washington, DC. This beautifully restored 1933 Mediterranean-style Art Deco building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has a 7,500 sq. foot dance floor that’s one of the best on the US East coast. Weekly dances feature swing, contra, blues, waltz, Cajun, Zydeco, salsa and tango — something different every night of the week.

    http://www.glenechopark.org/

  60. Jennifer

    January 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Montreat, NC! It is a small community near Black Mountain where I spent a lot of time in the summer growing up. They still have a community center and square dancing every weekend for all ages.

  61. Samantha

    January 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    The garments may be a bit more hippie-hick than what you’re looking for, but Elkins, West Virginia, is home to the Augusta Heritage Festival during the summer, and there are some great contra dances and ceilis that take place at a pavilion on the local college campus at the height of the festival.

  62. Elisa

    January 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    While not square dancing, the El Meson Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico hosts a milongas every Tuesday Night for local spectators and practitioners of Argentine tango. A beautiful mix of locals, friends, tapas, and wine. Santa Fe is one of the best vacation spots for dining/art/culture/spa in the country. Not to mention the special and beautiful shoes the dancers wear which are carefully carried in in bags (never worn off the dance floor).
    (Info:
    El Meson Restaurant, 123 Washington Avenue, Santa Fe 505-983-6756
    7:30 to 11 PM
    Call to make table reservations in the bar. $5 minimum consumption)

  63. Brian McDaniel

    January 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Scott!
    I know exactly what you mean by this. I’m from Richmond, Virginia and every year we have a three day folk festival during mid October.

    The dance tent features music ranging from rockabilly, Texas honkytonk, and western swing complete with jangling banjos and swooning guitar riffs.

    It’s really amazing to see the older crowd on the floor with dance moves that appear effortless and a nostalgic feel of better days of the past.

    I took this series of pictures last year: http://dirtyrichmond.tumblr.com/post/11570214469

    In the parts of Virginia that are a little more rural, I am sure there are the nights you are reminiscent of.

  64. andrea

    January 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    There’s a gay square dancing group here in NYC. You can probably google them and see where they meet.

  65. Hilary

    January 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Nashville has some great undercover dance and old-time music scenes! Marion mentioned contacted local music shops to get in with the musicians that play these gigs… that is a fantastic idea! Many of the contra, old-time, swing, square dance communities use real bands for their dances!

    I’m from Nashville and would recommend checking with Station Inn. http://www.stationinn.com/ They often have bluegrass jam bands and folks always hop up and dance.

    I now live in Fort Worth, TX where the Two Step is a big deal. Billy Bob’s is the place to go for that! http://www.billybobstexas.com/

    Good luck!

  66. yarska

    January 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    i’m from nashville, and i do this thing called contredancing. it’s like square dancing, but it’s done in two opposing lines. usually everyone will dance a square or two every evening.

    contredancing is very popular, and there are contredancing groups almost everywhere. for big contredancing events you’ll have people coming from out of country.

    major towns down here have their own contredancing, e.g. nashville contredancers, etc. so i’d just google N.Y. contredancers.

    in contredancing you tend to have a slightly earthy, folksy crowd, mixed in with a new, younger crowd. you’ll end up seeing all sorts of fashion and style there, and it can be a great place to get fashion-inspired.

  67. tammy

    January 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    While it may not be the setting that you originally envisioned, every rural wedding in Ohio that I’ve been invited has had square dancing. The combination of multiple generations of family, new family and a little alcohol makes for a contagiously fun experience. My very city boyfriend will be accompanying me to a wedding this weekend, and the question the bride recently asked: “does he know how to square dance yet?”

  68. Aimee

    January 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    My great-aunt and uncle were avid square dancers in New Mexico!

  69. Marylander

    January 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

  70. Amy

    January 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Some of my best friends (they are in college now) met while they were in high school at a square dancing place in Wayzata, Minnesota. They have been dating for like 3 years now! Its special there because both young and old couples alike go dancing.

  71. Adam M

    January 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I’m from Alberta, Canada and I always see them here in lodges, community halls, theatres. They all wear their western wear and huge colourful dresses for the women. It really is something to see and it’s great to see them so excited.

  72. Katrina

    January 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Athens, GA! Third Saturday of every month.
    http://athensfolk.org/?page_id=13

    Or Atlanta!
    http://contradance.org/html/schedule.php

  73. Christy

    January 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    I live in the Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina, and we do something very similar to square dancing called Contra Dancing (it’s basically the same, just not in a square). I know it has roots that go back to the 17th century. Folks old and young gather most weekends to dance with a local bluegrass band playing music and a local caller calling out steps. It’s SO much fun! My favorite is when they hold dances in a centuries-old apple barn. The floor has been worn smooth by years of dancing.

    See more info here: http://www.boonecountrydancers.org/index.html#links
    and here: http://www.sbcds.org/contradance/whatis/

  74. vick

    January 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    This is a sports center in Glasgow,Scotland, where old people meet their friends every Sunday morning. They drink tea and dance dressed in very unique clothes. Most of the times,you may see Scottish men wearing their kilts. Apart from that, there are often more formal events, where people wear their unique, colourful clothes with the dignity you mentioned above. You should capture these moments and if you do, let us know in advance!

  75. Jessica

    January 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    i hear this guy is the best around these parts (Nashville)
    http://littlejoegoins.com/index.html

  76. Alisha

    January 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Utah! There is country line/swing dancing in Trolley Square in downtown Salt Lake City. A melting pot of all ages, people come from all over on Thursday nights to hoop and holler and dance til they drop. A completely sober experience, the energy is so high in the place and I imagine would be amazing to photograph.

  77. Eric

    January 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Your insight, “Dancing is just the culture that brought these people together,” is important. Sadly, for much of the square- and contradance worlds, this is not the case. Dance is the sole purpose of the aggregation, and the dancers do not represent a community beyond the weekly or monthly dance.

    A few commenters have directed you to Louisiana. While not square dancing, cajun music and dance is much more integrated into its community (SW Louisiana) than is any other form of traditional dance I know in this country. I recommend La Poussiere in Breaux Bridge. There you’ll find a fine mix of ages to match the excellent music and dancing.

    For an interesting culture of square dancing, the Seattle Subversive Square Dance Society is a good place to find hipsters. Closer to home, a new square dance has begun at the Montague, MA grange hall. It has the advantage of being one of the most beautiful halls around.

  78. Name*Sondra

    January 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    http://squaredancebillings.com/Homepage1.html

    Come to Montana…As you can see there are many opportunities to Square Dance.

  79. Jennifer

    January 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    When I was a child in the 80s, we square danced on Friday nights at a farm/camp group in rural Virginia (about 1-1/2 hours west of DC). My dad was always my partner, and he was great at making me feel like the “best” girl in the room. Good luck finding something!

  80. Michelle

    January 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    McMinnville, OR/Yamhill County/surrounding areas-http://www.oregonbeat.com/calendar/index.php?calendar=19 There are always interesting individuals and personalities roaming around. We are known for our wine country and local art. Should be fun :).

  81. dragon fruit

    January 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    haha I want to learn too! it’s pretty hard, I love this photo ;)

    http://www.dragonnfruit.com

  82. Catherine

    January 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I would also recommend contra dancing-fun, fast paced, usually great, eclectic music (everything from Celt to Klezmer) and often very eclectic dressing as well. When I was doing it regularly and going to dance weekends there was a very cool women selling her own original designs for dresses, skirts, and pants. It originated as line dancing in New England I believe but incorporates lots of motifs including square dancing and is friendly to all ages. If you’re ever in Durham/Chapel Hill there are two very active groups so come visit.

  83. Cambria

    January 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Not exactly square dancing… but Grand Rapids, MI has a large Swing Dance society that meets year-round indoor and out

  84. Danielle

    January 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Come to Salt Lake City!

    Here’s a square dancing directory for SLC: http://www.ceder.net/resources/view.php4?StateId=44

  85. Alida Taylor

    January 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    You need to photograph cajun dancing.
    Cafe des Amis in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana on a Saturday morning. The liveliest
    Randol’s restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana on a Sunday night.
    Fred’s Lounge in Mamou, LA on a Saturday morning.
    McGee’s Landing in Henderson, LA.

    Oh and International Festival in the spring and Festival Acadien in October… You really don’t know what you’re missing. Cajuns know how to dance and party well. Oh and Mardi Gras is coming up soon. ;)
    There’s a lot more, email me if you’re interested.

  86. Veronique

    January 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    In Montreal, there is Les Veillées du Plateau, and there must be plenty of others since it is part of the traditional dances. We call it a «set carré»!
    Here is an interesting website for you to find more info: http://espacetrad.org/

  87. Liya

    January 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    My comment isn’t about square dancing but about Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco dancing – I first saw it at the International Music Festival held in Lafayette, LA at the same time as Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Anyway it offers the same elements that you’ve found in square dancing – camaraderie, “sweetness”, people brought together by the joy of dancing and the chance to observe the organic and “real” ways in which people interact. There’s a place called Mulate’s in New Orleans that has Cajun and Zydeco dancing but it’s very touristy and I don’t recommend it as it doesn’t feel real – however, go to Lafayette or Cajun country in New Orleans and you’ll find the real deal.

  88. Elizabeth

    January 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    You MUST check out http://www.cfootmad.org (Colorado Friends Of Old Time Music And Dance). They mostly meet in Boulder, Colorado…..sometimes in Denver. My husband and I stumbled upon this random underground group while we were attending the University of Colorado. They’re absolutely amazing. Full, live band everytime. The main caller grew up in a square dancing home- his father was a famous caller in the 50s. Always an ecelctic gathering of people of all ages. They mostly do contra dancing- you’ll have a hard time not joining in!

  89. Dominika

    January 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    This photograph is so beautiful!
    <3

    Fashion Philosophy
    http://www.fashionphilosophy.net

  90. Carly

    January 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    There is lots of Contra around here in North and South Carolina. I have been thinking for a while now you should venture down here and check out our unique fashion- especially in the Carrboro area!
    http://www.tcdancers.org/index.shtml

    Love your blog!

  91. alicia

    January 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Flores Country Store outside of San Antonio. It’s not square dancing, but they Texas two-step (?, I’m not Texan) and it’s really incredible. I promised myself that if I ever go back I’ll bring my camera.

  92. Super Interns

    January 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I don’t know any square dancing places except for a school for the blind in California. Did you know that blind people love to square dance? They have the chance to move while being in contact with others through touch. It is the most beautiful thing to see!

    You could contact the American Foundation for the Blind, they should be able to “guide” you to a dance class. Great stuff Scott! I love the REAL people in your blogs, old, new, flawed, regular, but all demonstrating their special style and beauty.

  93. jules

    January 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Ed Howe is a friend and phenomenal fiddler. He seems to headline some of the best contra dance gatherings across the country. His group’s name is Perpetual eMotion. He will be in Chattanooga this weekend. http://www.chattaboogie.com/

  94. Pamela

    January 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

  95. Betty

    January 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I live in southern Louisiana and Lafayette has a great Cajun music and dance scene. There is a great emergence of young musicians revitalizing traditional styles of Cajun and Zydeco and young and old people all seem to hang out in the same places. The best spots to check out are Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge, LA which hosts a Zydeco Brunch every Saturday morning (http://www.cafedesamis.com/zydeco-breakfast-cam.html). The Blue Moon Saloon is great pretty much every weekend, with a good mix of old and young people (http://bluemoonpresents.com/). La Poussiere is my best recommendation for organized Cajun partner dancing, where most of the older Cajun folks go on Sunday afternoons to get together and socialize (http://lapoussiere.com/).

  96. Ashley

    January 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Amazingly, there are a couple good dance halls/ bars of this style in Sonoma County in Northern California (north of SF). My boyfriend’s parents dance at a few places there frequently (his father was raised in Texas), and it certainly has that small community feel you describe. The bf’s parents often know the musicians who perform and have a circle of friends there. His father is also an artist and has done large-scale drawings of these places, check it out and see if this is what you had in mind!

    http://terryholleman.com/

    Hope this helps!

    -AM

  97. Shoshana

    January 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I would try Asheville, NC.

  98. Ria D'Aversa

    January 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    you should check out the contra dancing in vermont. it’s a big deal there.

  99. MĂłnica Mes Voyages Ă  Paris

    January 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    So cute…

  100. Michael

    January 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Their are a few venues in Baltimore, Md. Such neighborhoods as highland town and Canton have high concentration of proud Polish and German immigrants who keep the tradition alive.

  101. Alison

    January 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    http://www.bethanymusicanddance.com/

    BMAD is WONDERFUL.

    It’s a contra dance held in Bethany, CT, near New Haven, once a month. I went a few times when I was a student. You should bring something edible/drinkable to share, and you can bring an instrument!

  102. Martha

    January 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    “Friendship set to music”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ijEiqNZGoU

  103. Cara Meyer

    January 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Oh yes! I am a transplant from Kentucky, now living in Portland, Oregon & I’ve got some good ones for you.

    A whole weekend of Contra in Kentucky (contra is more exciting than square dance in my eyes, but similar – may be better for photography) January 27 & 28th. http://ravitz.us/swingshift/swingshift.pdf The Friday night in Lexington @ ArtsPlace might be the most fun.

    Also, every Sunday here in Portland from 7-9 pm in the Village Ballroom (700 NE Dekum). This Sunday Jan the 8th will be a big one, though & it will be from 4pm-6pm.

  104. Marisa

    January 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    http://www.facebook.com/dcsquaredance?v=info

    DC Square Dance Collective. Held at a local church.

  105. Ashley-Marie

    January 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Hey Scott,

    Surprisingly there is a small community of square dancing and honky tonk-style dance halls in Sonoma County, CA which is north of San Francisco. A friend’s parents go to these places often (in the Glen Ellen area I believe, near Sonoma, Santa Rose and Petaluma). His father is actually from Texas, which I suppose is one of the reasons of how they got into the dancing and music.

    His father is also an artist who has done large-format drawings of scenes from these community halls and gatherings. You can view examples at http://terryholleman.com/ to see if that’s the scene you had in mind.

    Very cool to find a tight-knit group like that in an unexpected place :)

    Best of luck finding locales!

    (Sorry for the potential double-post, but the computer randomly crashed while leaving this comment)

  106. Margaux Brooke

    January 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Hahahaha… I’m originally from GA (now modeling it up in LA) but you will find lots of square dancing there, and beautiful landscapes! Not much fashion though unless you’re in Atlanta or if puka shell necklaces, polo shirts and new balances and baseball caps come in to fashion.

    My Model Life
    http://www.margauxbrooke.com

  107. Lisa Baird

    January 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Check out First Friday Square Dancing at the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library in Berkeley, CA. Average age about 30… youngish people trying to connect to memories, too, I suppose. Strong vibe of community and very intimate. The caller calls out 4-person arrangements mostly, so new friends are made rapidly. BYOB-to-share in communal cooler. Unique personal style abounds. Scratchy old mountain music by a little group called “Squirrelly Stringband”. I tweeted you a photo of the Dec. 2 gathering.

  108. Ptree

    January 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Hi – love your site – Portland, OR has a thriving old time music scene. If you check out the Sunday square dances at the Village Ballroom, you’ll find lots of young people and older folks alike dancing to excellent live music with live callers. I don’t know that you’d find the typical square-dance garb though if that’s what you’re looking for…
    http://www.bubbaguitar.com/squaretoc.html

  109. Amanda

    January 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    What about Salem, Oregon!? My old chemistry professor does/used to do the calling for a folk/square dance group here. Bet you’ve never been here before, either…

  110. Gigi

    January 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Maybe try swing dance venues too. There are quite a few in NYC (though it’s been a while since I lived there and I can’t recall the exact locations) and they draw a wide variety of folks in interesting vintage styles.

  111. Dana Knox

    January 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Central Texas was settled partly by Czechs and Germans, and they’ve kept their polka traditions alive. Some folks still wear traditional costume to dance. There are even polka masses!

    http://www.texascooppower.com/texas-stories/history/sunday-best

    My daughter married into a Czech-American family, and we have really enjoyed getting to know more about polka culture.

    http://web.me.com/polkabeat/Polkabeat/Welcome.html

  112. Erin

    January 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    At the Eagles 34 Lounge in Minneapolis, MN there is some excellent square dancing every first and third monday of the month at 7 pm. The last time I went the crowd was dancing to live Zydeco music and enjoying the hell out of it. They also seem to have a Sunday country dance.

    http://www.minneapoliseagles34.org/

  113. Joh

    January 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Hi there,

    I have lived as an exchange student for one year in a small town in Kansas back in 2000. I lived with an older couple for half the time and they would dress up like thirty years ago for pretty much every event they went to, and there were a lot of events! I’m sure there’s a chance to find line dancers in Kansas!
    Greets from Belgium.

  114. vicky

    January 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/sport/glasgow-club/kelvin-hall/Pages/home.aspx

    This is a sports center in Glasgow,Scotland, where old people meet their friends every Sunday morning. They drink tea and dance, dressed in very unique clothes. Most of the times,you may see Scottish men wearing their kilts. Apart from that, there are often more formal events, where people wear their unique, colourful clothes with the dignity you mentioned above. You should capture these moments and if you do, let us know in advance!

  115. Supal {chevrons and eclairs}

    January 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    This is incredibly cute! HA and honestly no idea where to find a square dance place. This photograph actually reminds me of my grandparents. They, at the age of 70, took ballroom classes and sent us videos [from India]!

  116. Marcy

    January 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    http://www.justin-russell.com/topspinners.html

    just outside Memphis, TN. My great Aunt and Uncle danced here for YEARS…..

  117. Angela

    January 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I just love this post. My grandparents were superb polk dancers. They were so smooth they quite literally floated. They cleared the dance floor and were a joy to watch. And then your comment about clothing. There used to be a show here in the midwest called Big Joe Polka. My brother and I used to watch it and just laugh. Yes they were charming but the clothing was so crazy random that we could never tell what year they filmed the show!

    Good luck in your search!

  118. Luisa

    January 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    My landscape architecture professor is always raving about a Friday night Jamboree, and insists we should try to go before we graduate. The dance is held at a historic country store in the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Floyd, Virginia. The first hour is gospel music with the older locals making their mark. That’s followed by two dance bands with people clogging and square dancing. I haven’t been but my professor says that if we really want to experience Virginia’s Appalachian culture, this is the place to do it!

  119. Mallory

    January 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Every week in New York there is a dance called the Frim Fram Jam on 8th Ave and W 31st. It’s not square dancing, but it’s just as authentic to American culture: swing dancing. Or, more specifically, lindy hop. New York isn’t the only place where you can find it, most major cities in the states, not to mention countries like Sweden, Korea and Australia have strong scenes with weekly events.

    What’s wonderful about these events—and relevant to your interests—is the blend of style that many of these dancers have adopted, mixing vintage and modern wear. Not unlike the photos you’ve taken at the Jazz-Age Lawn/Dance Party on Governor’s Island.

    Good luck!

  120. Leah

    January 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    When I was a camp counselor in Black Mountain, NC, outside Asheville, we used to go to the Old Farmer’s Ball at Warren Wilson college and go contra dancing. It’s like a mixture between square dancing and Celtic folk dance, and it contributed to some of the best memories I had. So many people came out – old, young, hippie, conservative. There were plenty of interesting fashion choices, too, including kilts. You should check it out!
    http://www.oldfarmersball.com/

  121. Robin

    January 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I’ve gone a number of times with friends to Folklore Village, near Dodgeville, WI. They usually have barn dances the first Saturday of every month. There are always traditional square dances, and Irish reels, and some waltzes as well.

    http://folklorevillage.org/t2/calendar

  122. Luigi

    January 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    in Romagna, the italian Region where I live, it’s full of places like this. Square dances Are very popular, like polka or valzer (not the austrian one!) or mazurka…dancing here is a big hobby for most of the peppole and you can find 80 years old and older on the dancefloor.

  123. jen

    January 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Either build a time machine or go to Montana.

  124. Eli

    January 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I would echo Jennifer’s comments about considering western NC, environs in and around Asheville, NC.

    Check out this URL for Western NC & Northern GA square dancing http://highmountainsquares.org/MonthlyActivity.htm

    If you make it to Asheville, you absolutely must stay over for a Friday night to go to the local music hoedown in Old Fort (between Asheville & Montreat, NC). This little music hall is what the Grand Ol Opry may have been like 40 to 50 years ago. Local musicians play 20 minute sets, while locals come to socialize and some times dance. 7 PM on Friday nights only, just about anyone in the little town of Old Fort should be able to give you directions this charming little music hall.

  125. Cristen

    January 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    You can find Contra Dancing in rural New England too. Here in VT there are lots of places that have regular dances, and I went dancing occasionally with friends when growing up in Litchfield County, CT. Maybe consider Quebec as well — likely to find some great places near Montreal or Quebec City, or the Eastern Provinces.

    http://www.contradancelinks.com/schedule_VT.html.

  126. Meg

    January 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Come to DC, you & Garance, we’ll all go contra dancing at Glen Echo on a Friday night: http://fridaynightdance.org/

  127. Diane

    January 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Aurora, Oregon is home to the Chaps and Petticoats Square Dance Club. They wear the real deal outfits!
    Aurora is also a beautiful village to wander through, original homes are lovingly kept since the town was founded as a utopian, religious commune in 1865. It is known for its antique shops now.

  128. Ruci

    January 6, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    How about my high school-Cupertino High? :) Our PE class is on a square dancing unit right now.

  129. Jonathan

    January 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Look for square dance callers and you will find a square dance.

    International Association of Square Dance Callers
    http://www.callerlab.org/

  130. Marcel Da Chump

    January 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I’m loving the outpouring of suggestions and anecdotes; wish I could help, but I’m too urban. I did visit Laramie, Wyoming. Beautiful country to photograph.

  131. Liz

    January 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Quite a few of the older couples in my church growing up in Mississippi used to square dance. Every Halloween, we’d have a harvest festival of some kind and they would try to teach us kids how to dance. The women all had on flouncy dresses with sequins and fringe, and their husbands often wore coordinating outfits. As a kid, I thought those poofy, glittery skirts were the most amazing thing ever.

    I hadn’t thought about that in ages, but I think they danced with this group: http://mssquaredance.com/ The site has a list of clubs around the state and some photos.

    P.S. – If you ever happen to come to Mississippi, be sure to stop by Farish Street. It’s a historic African American neighborhood with some local restaurants (and people) who have been there for decades. Lots of stories there. Shoot me an email and I’ll send you directions! :)

  132. Misplaced Modernist

    January 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    A couple years back when you posted images under the caption “are we ready to discuss appropriate skirt-length for men?” I immediately wanted to link to the Guiding Star Grange’s website http://www.guidingstargrange.org/events . Guiding Star is the epicenter of serious contra dancers in the US, and it is not uncommon to find a sweet japanese man in his 60s wearing a long skirt because “it makes the twirling all the better.” Though some young folk come to the grange, they are usually out-danced by the 60+ set, and sit it out by the end. Worth the weekend trip up to Greenfield, Mass.

  133. Sandra

    January 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    This link will give you some info.
    http://www.discoveret.org/cetsrdc/Square.htm
    And I used to see square dancers come into the Shoney’s restaurant on Hwy. 321 in Lenoir City, TN on Friday nights after their dances! It is really a sight to see all of them in their square dance regalia. Let me know if you need more info. Would love to see you in Tennessee!! {We can be pretty stylish here, too :-)}

  134. Maeve

    January 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Go to Texas. We learn line dancing in school in Texas. Pretty much anywhere in Texas would be fantastic. The Broken Spoke in Austin, TX would be the most fun (http://www.brokenspokeaustintx.com ). Austin has such a fun, laid back style.

  135. talktomyshoes

    January 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Come on up to Alberta! The Calgary Stampede has line and square dancing in the streets every day!

  136. Minty

    January 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    This is such a sweet photo! Square dancing always looks like such fun.

    x Minty
    http://mintyandpeaches.wordpress.com

  137. Pelın

    January 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Oh my, how excited I get when I hear about any kind of dancing! I used to be a member of a semi-professional dance group in Boston, http://www.collageusa.org/ We used to do Eastern European, Balkan, Turkish dances.

    There is a big folk dance festival held every year in Massachusetts, NEFFA (New England Folk Festival Association) http://www.neffa.org/ I have been there, twice, such an amazing experience. All kinds of dances. Must-see. April 20-22. Unfortunately, I live far from Boston now :(

    http://theverythirstyraindrop.com/

  138. Jim Duncan

    January 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Go to this link for links to Great Plains contra dancers. Also investigate contra dancers in Cottonwood Fall, KS in Chase County

  139. Jim Duncan

    January 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Sorry, here’s the missing link from my post about Great Plains contra dancers:
    http://www.contradancelinks.com/greatplains.html

  140. Pam

    January 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Out here in Colorado there are lots of square dancing and country western dancing venues. The Denver Square Dancing website has a list of square dancing clubs and a dance calendar.
    http://www.denversquaredancing.com/

  141. vicki

    January 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    There is square dancing in northern NJ. There is even a website
    http://nnjsda.org/

  142. Jo

    January 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I live in OH and remember square dancing from years ago. My best friend and I trying to learn from an older square-dancin’ gentleman that worked for us. Crazy fun. Here is a site with some contacts:
    http://www.squaredancing.com/ohio/Toledo.htm

    Love your story, your blog. Thank you.

  143. Micol Sabbadini

    January 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    This is beautiful! I live in Milan and I didn’t even now such cool places existed in my city! Nice find!

  144. Jessica

    January 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    You’re describing the scene at Floyd Country Store’s Friday Night Jamborees. It’s in Floyd, VA–nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains–and features folks of all ages “flatfooting.” How can you not smile? http://www.floydcountrystore.com/stage/videos

  145. Susan E

    January 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    There is an authentic rural Czech/polka dancing auditorium west of Oklahoma City called the Yukon Czech Hall. Elderly ladies will grab you and dance with you, teaching you if you don’t do it at all well. Live polka dance band plays on the stage. They sell beer, cola, and some snacks. It’s very family friendly and just awesome and super way back in time-ey.

  146. Veronica

    January 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I know there’s a big square dance hall in Boise, Idaho, on the south side of the city. Boise also has a vibrant salsa dancing scene, which I love!

  147. Lydia Barr

    January 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    My family joined a square dancing club this year with two other families and other then us everyone else are nice fun grand parentish people. We live in Virginia in Norfolk. And the club we dance with is pretty old.

  148. Karen

    January 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I don’t know anything about square dancing, but I started swing dancing last year when I began college. Different places host swing dancing events, called exchanges, and people travel from all over to go to them. It’s really great, because you connect and then recognize people from swing, and there really is a great atmosphere – the last exchange I went to, called Pittstop Lindyhop in Pittsburgh, PA had people of all ages, from college students to one man I talked to that had started dancing at age 12 in the 1940s. It’s really wonderful.

    Another thing that I’ve noticed is the amazing style of swing dancers. Some dances are more casual than others, but even at the fancier ones there is a spectrum of dressiness. Some girls dress up in swing-era styles, but that varies from 20s to 40s, and others just dress in any nice clothes. Skirts and dresses that spin well are very common, of course. There are also a lot of tennis shoes with skirts and dresses fro easy dancing. Some do wear heels, but it’s less common than flats. As for guys, fedoras are pretty prevalent. So are multiple changes of shirts, as the guys especially tend to get very sweaty.

    I realize that this isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s worth looking into.

  149. Mack

    January 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    If you want a fun modern day comparison, with a younger crowd, for the most part, you should visit the Century Ballroom in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood! To add good food to the mix, there’s a great restaurant called the Tin Table across the hall from the dance hall that has some tasty stuff and a pretty good Seattle atmosphere… also, the salted carmel icecream you can get downstairs at Molly Moons is DELICIOUS. Three in one; dancing, dinner, and dessert! (and I always enjoyed the people watching while I was there too!)

  150. Emily

    January 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    we contra dance in new england too!
    http://www.contradancelinks.com/schedule_VT.html

  151. Alex

    January 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    The Oregon coast is pretty far for you, but you get a collection of dancers here- some old, some young- I doubt ANY would have heard of you for better or worse. It’s really really fun so if you want to wait seven months (doubt it) and see a beautiful part of the States, I’d head there!

  152. Kate Heron

    January 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I know exactly what you are looking for. But it will not happen until mid-august.

    My family has a cabin on the top of Bridgewater Hill (mountain) in Bridgewater, New Hampshire. Every summer, in August, they have Old Home Day, at the Town Hall about halfway up the mountain. That is something to see in and of itself, but at night, the Town Hall is filled with people of all ages for a square dance. They have a live four-piece band and traditional caller, and these people know precisely what they are doing.

    The traditional last dance of the night ends with all the dancers joining hands in a long chain, and weaving out the door and off into the night. We have been going since I was a little girl.

    The building is beautiful, and very very old – and it is what truly makes it an experience. The building was photographed during my grandmother’s memorial service, and those images were used in a few blog posts about my associated tattoo: http://neithersnow.squarespace.com/blog/2011/8/18/part-iii-to-the-faithful-reward-is-certain.html

    And an interior shot I took years ago at the dance: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=5526953071&l=d09fc8e474

  153. Gaidig

    January 7, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I do Scottish Country Dance, which is one of the forms of traditional folk dance that Square dancing emerged out of. There are SCD groups in many cities around the world, wich should be generally easy to find from the main Royal Scottish Country Dance Society webpage http://www.rscds.org/ or a quick google. I would also recommend Contra, English Country Dance, Irish Country Dance, and Cajun dance for similar atmospheres. Often, these groups meet in church halls or at halls owned by societies like the Masons because they are reasonable to rent. I don’t know about NYC, but I can tell you about some other places. When I lived in Atlanta, in addition to my SCD group on Thursdays, there was Contra every Friday night at Morningside Baptist, waltz class at a dance studio in the suburb of Decatur on Sundays, cajun at the Knights of Columbus, swing at Georgia Tech and Emory, as well as at certain local bars. Here in the Detroit area, there is SCD almost every night of the week, and in Ann Arbor there is a website that lists many traditional dance events: http://aactmad.org/ In Boston, there’s a wonderful building that the folk dance community from many different styles of dance (including SCD) got together and built, and there are dances there all the time. In Philadelphia, there is dancing almost every night of the week. Where I lived in France, in Brittany, there were frequent Fest Noz, or traditional Breton dances/parties.

  154. Gaidig

    January 7, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Additionally, I should mention that I do think it would be interesting to go to a casual Scottish Country Dance class, because there is often a certain expectation about what people will wear. Because I was first taught in Philadelphia, I learned that women should always wear skirts to dance, and men pretty much always wear kilts (unless they’re new and don’t own one). It’s more common to see people in trousers in other places where I have danced, but people will definitely wear a skirt or kilt just for class — even if it’s very casual, and accompanied by a t-shirt!

    Personally, I always wear a skirt to dance, and that’s partly because it’s more fun that way. Apparently even some male contra dancers agree, as I have seen men at contra dances wearing skirts.

  155. Katie G-S

    January 7, 2012 at 12:21 am

    CONTRA dancing in Asheville, NC. It’s not quite square dancing but it has the same kind of vibe and you’re sure to find some really unusual styles there. A very strong sense of community, lots of joy, some sass, and a pleasant mix of all ages.
    I highly recommend bringing your keen eye there.

  156. Ness

    January 7, 2012 at 12:24 am

    My grandparents, aunt, and uncle go dancing every Friday night in southeast Idaho. My uncle actually used to teach people how to dance there, so he’s a phenomenal square-dancer. I often think of him dancing as a gift for my grandparents on their fiftieth anniversary. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. Considering how rough and tumble he is, to see him dance, you’d think he was a completely different person.

  157. Marie

    January 7, 2012 at 12:24 am

    You are likely to find square dancing everywhere. Colorado for instance: http://www.squaredancing.com/colorado/

  158. Kelsey

    January 7, 2012 at 12:26 am

    This post is great and reminds me of watching many square dances growin up in Colorado. I now live in Edmonton, ALberta and have been keeping my eye on the Edmonton Square Dancers. They seem to be at every festival during the summer and they keep a busy schedule throughout the winter as well. Here’ s a link to their site : http://www.Edsda.org

  159. Fusion Excel

    January 7, 2012 at 12:39 am

    very nice great and romantic couple…

  160. brie

    January 7, 2012 at 12:42 am

    there’s great square dancing in ketchikan alaska- especially good in the winters. i haven’t seen anything like it since. especially great there because its not generation specific and gets a great bunch of people together, who dress the part. and amazing live musicians there too. plus, a great excuse to go to alaska.. let me know if you’re interested, i’ll send you to the right people!

  161. Clara

    January 7, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Floyd, Virginia! So happy to see someone else has put this there as well. The Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store is a beautiful and fun sight, accompanied in the summer by hula hooping kids in the fields. And Dogtown Pizza down the street brings a younger spirit to mix in with the old timers. Definitely worth the trip into the mountains.

  162. Beth

    January 7, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Following up on other Montreal suggestions, The Wheel Club is an long-running institution, members-only most nights, but sometimes they let the young ones in to dance too. http://thewheelclub.wordpress.com/

  163. Martine

    January 7, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I know they do something a lot like that in the Veterans place near me. Also, ther is a Polka night in a restaurant called Nye’s Palaniase and Piano Bar, and some very fun, and distinguished but rather typical midwestern seniors go there. I have not gone myself, as i do not polka, nor am i a senior. But how can it be hard to find such activity? I know there is plenty such in Minneapolis especially in the NorthEast. But I recall such things in Winetka Illinois where I grew up.
    I can not WAIT to se your pictures of this venture! Hurry!

  164. une chatte grise

    January 7, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Chattanooga’s a cool little city–not surprised that it’s got a nifty dance scene.

  165. Mary | ArtOfWore.com

    January 7, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Try out the Westonka Whirlers Square Dance Club in Minnetonka, Minn. It’s about as unpretentious and authentic as you get. http://www.westonkawhirlers.com

  166. darkaly

    January 7, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Seattle (Ballard and Capitol Hill) has a fair amount of square dancing to enjoy.

  167. Vik

    January 7, 2012 at 3:00 am

    The Tractor Tavern in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle! Square Dancing every other Monday, with a great band called “The Tallboys”. It’s always great to see how people dress the part.

  168. laura

    January 7, 2012 at 3:18 am

    There’s a regular square dance at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle!

  169. Michelle

    January 7, 2012 at 3:37 am

    Square dancing at the Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, CA

  170. k

    January 7, 2012 at 3:44 am

    our commercial law professor at UVA always invited us to these: http://www.contracorners.com/dances/1

    College students sometimes go for extra credit, but it is a community thing and I hear they were a good time.

    plus, Charlottesville VA is basically the greatest place on earth.

  171. Katie

    January 7, 2012 at 3:46 am

    In Virginia, Tidewater International Folk Dance Society — when I went as a teen in the late 90s it was like walking into another world. (LPs! I bet they still use them.) It was great fun. The oldest gentlemen were the best dancers.

    http://hrtraditionaldance.webs.com/internationalfolkdance.htm

  172. arielle

    January 7, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Im from Toronto, Canada and when i was younger my family and i would always do road trips to PEI (prince edward island) on the east coast. One of my favorite memories is of going to the ceilidhs (pronounced “KAY-lee”), which are local community dances. Everyone in these small towns shows up, young to old, and have a blast- step dancing and listening to the local music. There is just something so special about the comraderie formed instantly in a country hall full of strangers that has instantly brought a smile to my face as i write this post and remember the times i spent at those dances. If you’re interested in using this location as a focus i would be happy to give you a list of some great town halls to go to and such- just shoot me an email
    goodluck!

  173. Amélie

    January 7, 2012 at 5:00 am

    In Paris suburbs, you must go along the Marne river and of cause in one of the most famous “Guinguette” : “Chez gĂ©gène”
    http://www.chez-gegene.fr/

  174. Solene

    January 7, 2012 at 6:28 am

    If you go to Brussels, you will find some interesting ones near la Place de la Monnaie – I did!
    you can have a look here, if this is something close than what you are looking for: http://soleneleblanc.com/index.php?/dancings/dancings/

  175. FAB

    January 7, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Put a smile on my face. Do get old ;) Have a continously FABulous creative year! How do you find WeightWatchers campaign in France – in times of New Year promises…? No dieting sounds superb ;) Love FAB http://fabs blogg.se

  176. Brannon

    January 7, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Yeah you should come to Virginia, check out the Carter Family Fold http://www.carterfamilyfold.org/, they have music there every Saturday evening in a barn. I’m sure you’ve heard of June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash, it’s her family home place, they used to make visits and play there every once in a while. Most occasions it’s just family and friends playing bluegrass, not so much line dancing but a lot of flat footing. You can stay here if you like http://www.atailorslodging.com/index.php, my family restored this place it used to be the towns tailor shop. I am afraid we would not make great tour guides for the dancing as we are not regulars, there also isn’t that much fashion or even anybody well dressed here for that matter, maybe you shouldn’t come here, I would like to think you would like it here, I don’t know maybe worth a look. Sincerley,

  177. jjosue

    January 7, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Try Joplin, MO.

  178. Jeanne Vunderink

    January 7, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Something that is really not the same but fun too! Every two fridays in the month my mom gives a Milonga (Tango Salon) at our house in Holland. Only people that are invited come so it is called a ‘secret milonga’ it is so much fun that is started to dance Tango my self and even my brother is taking lessons. We as kids from an Argentinian mother have it in our blood and we love it! Just wanted to share this with you!

  179. elsabelle

    January 7, 2012 at 7:36 am

    montpelier, vermont! most energetic contra dances, EVER. slightly different than square dancing, but still people dancing just for the “sheer joy of each others’ company.” (plus, vermonters can have some rad style.)

  180. Rae Rae

    January 7, 2012 at 7:38 am

    For a trip to China, in the mornings, before work, people ballroom dance in outdoor squares, I saw it in many of the cities. It’s beautiful, almost surreal if you take the time to soak in the music, the vibe, etc.–and the personal style is amazing.

  181. CBC

    January 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Public schools in NYC had dance class and one dance was square dancing…..i haven’t thought of this for ever…..A x boyfriend parents went square dancing and they were Italian…..i found that crazy

  182. Frank

    January 7, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Scott,
    A link to square dancing in Water Mill will give you a reason to be in the Hampton;s in the winter.
    http://www.27east.com/hamptons-events-calendar/event.cfm/21476/Water-Mill-TRADITIONAL-NEW-ENGLAND-BARN-DANCE

    Your Milan experience reminds me of the dances held in a bar in Tavernelle, Tuscany – a band hired and almost the whole town turns out on Saturday night to dance outside – little kids, grandparents everyone dances all kinds of dances with the most unlikely pairings. Great fun and the local wine was great too. Enjoy.

  183. Anna

    January 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

    They square dance in New Paltz — called EuroDance but the same thing. Cool crowd.

  184. Lydia

    January 7, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Guys ‘N Dolls has been around as long as I can remember in Texarkana, located in south west Arkansas. It is the real deal and has a loyal following of dancers. Dress Up events are held every 2nd and 4th Friday. Wish I had a photo of them in action!
    Guys ‘N Dolls Square & Round Dance Hall; 4203 Preston Street, Texarkana, Arkansas
    casual dress events:

  185. Emily

    January 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

    We definitely have what you are describing in Knoxville, TN. Th

  186. Emily

    January 7, 2012 at 9:19 am

    We definitely have what you are describing in Knoxville, Tennessee. The tradition and routine of these regular events are what makes them beautiful!

  187. Cari Anne

    January 7, 2012 at 9:20 am

    If you want square dancing culture, I’d suggest

    Post Falls, Idaho, Whenever I went as a youngster, most people wore cowboy boots. Weekly dance classes with open dance afterwards. Also, two -week sessions available.

    I’d recommend a day-trip to Kellogg, Idaho. One ski trip here, when the snow wasn’t good enough for the ski slope to open, we walked around town and happened upon a music circle, where they invited us in. After each person sang or performed, they opened it up to dancing, with all the musicians as live accompaniment. It was just up the street from one of the only cafes in town open at midday. Definitely small-town authentic.

    Then I’d give a shout out for Montana: Missoula, Billings and I’d add in Lewistown. My grandparents are from there and used to go to a square dancing group. They’d have seasonal or yearly performances where everyone would wear fancy dress, but went to regular classes.

    Great idea, looking forward to see the posts.

  188. Ali

    January 7, 2012 at 9:33 am

    When you’re next in London you could try the English Folk Dancing Society – its an amazing building with a monthly ceilidh which attracts a whole range of ages, abilities, and characters – and its great fun! http://www.efdss.org/

  189. Cate

    January 7, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Contra dancing! Like square dancing, but with more Celtic roots–think the scene in 2005′s Pride and Prejudice where people are dancing at the public house, not at a stiff ball (much more fun). Or below decks in Titanic. There are a ton of folk arts centers in New England that hold contra dances, and they are so much fun! Here’s a link to more info: http://www.contradancelinks.com/newengland.html

  190. Tamara

    January 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Hola from Galicia (Spain)!!
    I don´t know if you have visited A Coruña, but you must do it… It´s a beautiful place for find inspiration in their beachs!
    When I saw this photo i remembered the saturdays here in Laracha where old peopleo meeting to dance together (including my grandparents) and I love how the old women walk with thei high heels while the men put well their ties (or suspenders like my grandpa… I really love it)
    Congratulations for your job, it´s amazing!

  191. Laurel

    January 7, 2012 at 9:50 am

    For contra and square dancing right outside of D.C. go to Glen Echo Park in Maryland Friday nights.

  192. Rachel

    January 7, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Pie Ranch, in Pescadero, California! Pie Ranch is an organic farm along the coast that sells to local vendors. On the third Saturday of every month they have a barn dance with a big potluck beforehand. You can get in for a discount if you help out on the farm earlier in the day, and a lot of people come with their families and do that, or spend the day at the beach. It’s a really warm and cozy place and the barn is set up with Christmas lights and straw for sitting.

  193. leigh ann

    January 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

    thank you for bringing back the memories of going with my parents to watch them square dance (with their friends in Nashville in the 70′s on a Saturday night)…i’d forgotten all about it!…i’ll have to ask my Mom where we went then and if it still exists…i can totally visualize the scene now, the caller and the twirling skirts!

  194. Jamie

    January 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

    once or twice a month, the sautee nacoochee community association holds contra dance in an old gym in the middle of a field in the sautee-nacoochee area of northeast georgia. this has been going on for many many years, and the sense of community within the group, whether they have been attending for years or are first time dancers, is very strong and friendly. this contra dance implements squares, lines and contras into its dances. it is a true blast, and the young and old all enjoy themselves. it’s even great for people who don’t believe themselves to be great dancers! hope this sparked your interest!

  195. Nieves

    January 7, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Greenfield Contra in Greenfield Massachusetts does Square dance, contras and waltzes.

  196. Eliza Quanbeck

    January 7, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Contra dancing in Glen Echo, Maryland! The building is gorgeous, it’s set in an old fairgrounds complex (very surreal at night) and it’s a real scene to behold.

  197. K Baergen

    January 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

    there are quite a few places here in Nashville that have square dancing, and often bring in ages across the board, as well as country folk to the hip kids in town.

    an example of something happening tonight with The Hog Slop String Band : http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/square-dancing-with-the-hog-slop-string-band-and-kenny-vaughan-trio/Event?oid=2719510

    I know that Imogene + Willie have also been apart of the square dancing scene a bit, which if you come here you definitely need to check them out http://www.imogeneandwillie.com/

  198. A

    January 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    The best, most beautiful location I can think of for watching someone dance is Glen Echo Park in Glen, Echo, MD, close to Washington, DC. They have square dancing, and many other forms of dancing to watch, and the grounds and ball room are lovely.

    http://www.glenechopark.org/dancing.htm

  199. Kiai Monson

    January 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    In Maine, square dancing is still happening all over the place.. and I know it isn’t just the “older generation” doing it…

    This link, http://www.squaredanceme.us/…. gives you an idea of what is happening in the state (which you should come and visit) and also national competitions… good luck!

  200. Lindsey

    January 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I grew up in Lafayette Louisiana, the heart of Cajun country. Cajun dancing is its own sort of dance with a culture totally isolated to Lafayette and the surrounding areas. There is a place called the Blue Moon Saloon where you can find local Cajun bands playing on most nights of the week. It’s an eclectic mix of people from young to old and it’s always a good time. You might want to check it out even though it’s not exactly square dancing.
    http://bluemoonpresents.com/

  201. Rebecca dietz

    January 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    The Elks Club, Lake City Way, Seattle
    Every Friday night, social dancing. It’s amazing to watch these couples who have been together for 30 or more years dancing…and the clothes, to die for.

  202. Amelia

    January 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Mineral Springs, North Carolina has a large, old barn (and not much else). The barn is used for playing live bluegrass on Tuesday nights (from about 7:30-10:00). Accompanying the musicians, there are some ladies who line up in front of the stage and clog dance.

  203. Michelle

    January 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Try the Fais Do Do every Sunday at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. Great music, great clothes and good dancers.
    http://www.tipitinas.com/calendar.asp

  204. Meredith

    January 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Some other people have mentioned tango. I think you would be very charmed by the atmosphere, the people and the style if you visited some milongas (tango establishments) in South America. Personally I can recommend “Lo de Margot” in Montevideo and “La Milonga de Berny” in Santiago.

  205. Kt

    January 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Suches Georgia

  206. yelenak

    January 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Carol’s Honky-Tonk Bar on Chicago’s far north side. The clientele is adorable and they have a live band.

  207. rebecca

    January 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Ennis, Texas still has a polka dancing Hall and it’s on every weekend, they also have a multiplex drive in movie theater.

  208. Catherine like Deneuve

    January 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    It isn’t square dancing, but it has the intergenerational, old-time good manners of it: Argentine tango. Find it with Danel & Maria (www.danelymaria.com). who are the best tango instructors in NYC (they coached Madonna for “Evita” and I took lessons from them for five years). Once you learn tango, you can check out the underground tango world in cities across the globe. I have been to very interesting clubs in Brussels, London, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Rome, but most of all in Paris, where they tango at the Quai Tino Rossi (stop me from doing an imitation of my husband doing an imitation of Tino Rossi singing) at night on the weekends in summer. Divine. It has been a great pleasure to sniff out tango joints in whatever city I would be visiting. And you would love the clothes. The styles vary by city, but there’s a retro vibe that binds them all. It is interesting because the dancers must be able to move. The women, in particular, must be able to take sometimes big steps backward, and to do kicks. So the clothes represent an interesting mix of ’40s, uptight, restriction along with a certain ease of movement.
    And, personally, I adore the music.

  209. Sarah

    January 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    If you are looking for people who are so caught up in an atmosphere and by looking at their faces you can tell time has stopped and that they are at their most happiest, then you should visit Leon Springs Dance hall in Leon Springs – just north of San Antonio. You’ll see cowboy boots and cowboy hats, and you’ll see a zest for life in the faces of everyone from old men and women to college students who somewhere along the way, picked up how to two-step.

  210. Nikita

    January 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    There’s a fantastic contra dance every other week just outside Montpelier, Vermont, my hometown. People of all ages show up, and there’s a great mix of authentically down-to-earth but carefully chosen clothing.

  211. Gina

    January 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Go to any small community dance hall in Texas. The well known ones like Gruene Hall (45 minutes south of Austin) and Floore’s in Helotes (San Antonio) will certainly provide results, but the smaller lesser known ones will likely give you the shots you are looking for. If you come, you should also consider the day and band playing. Certain nights/afternoons and bands will draw more of the crowd that you seek. Check out the Tejano dances as well. Please post if you’re coming!

    http://www.gruenehall.com/
    http://www.liveatfloores.com/

    Lesser known:

    http://www.orangegroverifleclub.com/
    http://www.schroederdancehall.com/
    http://www.nordheimshootingclub.com/

  212. Julia

    January 7, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    There was an article in today’s Globe and Mail newspaper about contra dancing in Toronto. Coincidence?

  213. virginia

    January 7, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Floyd County, Virginia. Home of Floydfest. Great music scene, lots of contra/square dancing, beautiful setting.

  214. Joe

    January 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I had not thought about Sqare Dancing for years but my homeotown of Fairfield, Iowa had a squaredance club. The Iowa website has a list and schedule of dances throughout the state. http://www.iowasquaredance.org/default.html

  215. Stephanie

    January 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    No need to go very far. Here’s a listing for square dancing in NYC. Next one is January 20, 2012 in the Village.

    http://nycbarndance.com/

  216. nancy

    January 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I know when I lived in Harrisburg there were a lot of square dancers up there. The really funny thing is when I was in college in Bryn Mawr (not exactly the hub of square dancing) I was in charge of running orientation. The one thing I wasn’t in charge of planning was the first dance(all girls school at the time so guys came from all the surrounding schools). You got it, the powers that be planned a square dance! How uncool was it? But the funny thing is it’s where I met my husband! No, he wasn’t square dancing, just hanging out to meet the girls! LOL! He doesn’t dance…at all…let alone square dance!

  217. Charlene

    January 7, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Every summer night on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia…Mabou, Blues Mills, Glendale are the best! www. cbisland.com

  218. Amy

    January 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Come on down to Lafayette in Louisiana for some excellent food, music, and dancing – a little Cajun culture. In the dance halls you see old couples who dance like they’ve been together since their teens… flawless.

  219. caitlin

    January 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    There are a bunch (40ish) of square dance groups in all the small towns just outside of Portland. My Mom just got into it this past year and has been going twice a week and getting really into it. http://www.valleysquares.com/ this is the place she has been going primarily but a lot of the granges will host these different dances an invite other clubs. They don’t have a ton of great pictures on their site if you can believe that but they have a pic of her looking adorable, titled “chris at mismatch dance”. She is definately one of the youngest members from the sound of it. Come here, I would be your free photo assist/tour guide should you need it!

  220. J

    January 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/61986817804/

    you might try right here in new york, as well

    j

  221. Arvolyn Hill

    January 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    This is such a coincidence I work for a very very small town newspaper in Hudson Valley the Millerton News. Last night I had to cover a local square dancing gathering in Pine Plains, NY they are called the Tri Mountain Squares. It was a wonderful experience hearing their stories most of the people participating have been doing it for 20 years. The clothes were amazing to photograph. I would love to send you the link to the article when I am finished! I love your blog and it made me very happy to see this post!

  222. izzy

    January 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    If you’re looking for small neighborhood dances instead of “fancy” :( , try looking for historic churches (with older congregations), any senior-citizen neighborhood group, ethnic/historic associations (Sons of Norway, lodges, etc), and also folk-music aficionados (ask around acoustic-instrument stores) … these are just guesses.
    Anyone who is more into the dancing than the frills, or is lukewarm on country music, might want to try medieval-to-18oo’s dancing, which square-dancing is based on…

  223. izzy

    January 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    P.S. I second Glen Echo!!

    (Used to have a great rundown-carnival atmosphere… unfortunately/fortunately they refurbished it a decade ago…)

  224. Sarah S

    January 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Contra dancing in Tallahassee, FL could be a great option. It draws a beautiful mix of people old and young in this fast version of square dancing. It’s held twice a month at the senior center.
    http://www.tallydancer.com/

  225. ariel greenwood

    January 8, 2012 at 12:04 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58pRQvIPTnA

    the Pinhook in Durham.

    Scott, do that.

  226. lynne robinson

    January 8, 2012 at 12:08 am

    sagebrush inn right here in taos for cowboy two-stepping!

  227. Claire Sheldon

    January 8, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Contra dancing all over New England…particularly Greenfield, MA
    http://www.guidingstargrange.org/events

  228. Charmaine

    January 8, 2012 at 1:59 am

    My husband and I met at an English country dance camp in Mendocino, California. He was a musician and dancer for Colorado’s only Morris dance team, and I was a refugee from Renaissance fairs. Nearly 15 years later, he still plays music and we dance at the contra and English country dances in Colorado. In Colorado, the best place to look for tango dances, tea dances, contra, folk, English country and much more is the website for Colorado Friends of Old Time Music and Dance: http://www.cfootmad.org/ Hope we’ll see you there!

  229. Frida Lundberg

    January 8, 2012 at 3:26 am

    If you visit Sweden you can go to a tiny place called Ă–sthammar where they square dance twice a week in this cute building: http://www.norrskedika.se/. They must really love it since they’ve done this for years and years.

  230. Marla Cook

    January 8, 2012 at 7:40 am

    O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A!
    I’m from the great plains state but currently live in NYC. When I was home for the holidays I saw a sign in someones yard who offers free square dancing lessons! It’s also a great state to check out the historic stockyards and cowboy and cowgirl fashions.

  231. francesca

    January 8, 2012 at 7:53 am

    in Italy there are plenty of them. Some are indoor and open all year long (it’s what we call centro sociali per anziani), some are outdoor, expecialy in summer and expecially in the “Festa dell’UnitĂ ”, something tipical italian, and tipical of some ‘red’ (I mean politically) regions.
    I love them, and every time I go a spend houres to admire this old pepole so proudly dressed in their old-fashion clothes, as you so, and proud in their dancing, too. If you look some of them outside the ballroom dancing you find them unstable in their steps, but on the stage they become different person.
    (sorry for my english, unstable too)

  232. Katie

    January 8, 2012 at 8:33 am

    There’s some really great square dancing in Dallas, Texas, as well. There is this historic building downtown that is turned into a dance hall once or twice a month for square, swing, and line dancing. Lot’s of people show up, of all ages, and everyone has a really great time.

  233. roupas de bebe

    January 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Great dance!

    Beijos
    Ana Paula Neves Dantas
    moda infantil feminina

  234. Susan

    January 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Here is a listing for 2012 in New York State. It should keep you busy for a loooooooooong time!
    http://www.contradancelinks.com/schedule_NY.html

  235. Kendal Ashby

    January 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

    The Riviera Club in Indianapolis, Indiana, is full of people who love to dance! Young and old : )

  236. Tiffany

    January 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I lived in Asheville for the summer (2011) and they have a strong folk culture there. I don’t personally Square dance, but I’m sure you’d find some delightful dancing in those wonderful mountains.

  237. Philippe Philippe

    January 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

    oh they’re so cute =)
    http://www.philippe-girard.blogspot.com

  238. Alena

    January 8, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Definitely check out the contra dancing scene. Folks of all ages get together to enjoy dancing and each other’s company, it is not about showing off it is all about dancing.
    http://nhpr.org/folk-calendar
    Hope to see you in New Hampshire!
    Alena

  239. Brenna Levitin

    January 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I contra dance in Concord, Massachusetts at the Concord Scout House. The community has held dances in various locations in the Eastern Massachusetts area for years, and it’s very multi-generational. We have dancers as old as 80 and as young as 6.

    http://www.neffa.org/Thurs.html

  240. Chris

    January 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Scott,
    I’m sure no doubt you have already found many leads on your search, but someone linked me this blog and i figured it would be a good time for some shameless self promotion. I play with an old-time band in Chicago that over the last summer started hosting square dances in an alley in Rogers Park. The idea was to bring square dancing to a younger audience that may have previously considered too quaint for urban culture. However, since then our dances and gigs have grown and we now hold dances in art galleries private homes, bars or anywhere we can find room. If you are ever in Chicago, get ahold of us and we’ll do some dancing, playing and singing. We are called “Can I Get an Amen”

  241. Michael

    January 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    In Provo, Utah there are several places for country dances, including one place in particular that opens every Wednesday and Saturday, I believe. It’s full of mostly college students.

  242. Robbie

    January 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    North Dakota does have square dancing. In Fargo, there are 4 groups. Don’t know much about them but have always wanted to try. Here’s a link for the ones in Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN
    http://fmsquaredancers.org
    Also found out that the 53rd Annual International Square, Round, and Clogging convention will be held in Jamestown ND later on this year. Good luck!

  243. Amanda

    January 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    My parents square dance with a group in Rockport, Texas called Ocean Waves Square Dance club. I grew up watching them square dance and running around Paws & Taws, the old building where they held dances. There is square dancing all over Texas, though.

  244. Giovanna

    January 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Hi Scott,
    I’m Italian, I’m writing from Florence. I started dancing less than four years ago with the social dance, now I do dance competitions.
    Have you ever seen a dance competition? I think you would love, even for the clothes! I’ll send you a link to a competition of high-level. The couple in the video are my teachers, they are my age, but began as a children! Start to dance … is fantastic!
    “A day spent without dancing is a day wasted!”
    Good Luck
    giò

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BUC9rLNdx60

  245. Cassandra

    January 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    There’s a great group Square Dancers that are definitely “young at heart” if you will, if you feel like visiting Ontario, Canada. They do it for the pure joy of it and I presume they are the type of “culture” you are looking for. Here is their website: http://www.thamesvalleysquares.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=5

  246. Sonja

    January 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    There’s plenty of amazing folk dancing right here!

    Folk dancing in the New York area: http://cdny.org/

    Also, next weekend is the amazing and beautiful Golden Festival (http://www.goldenfest.org/) in Brooklyn.

    Always close to my heart are the Concord Scout House Thursday night dances, Concord MA: http://www.neffa.org/Thurs.html

    Good luck and have fun!

  247. Nancy

    January 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Get thee to the CDNY Web site (Country Dance New York) for info on weekly dances in NYC – been going on since the 1950s.
    Contra/Square on Saturday nights, and English Country Dancing on Monday nights at two separate venues in Manhattan. Live wonderful music, come as you are, broad age range.

  248. teresa garcia

    January 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I live in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Central America, in Guatemala City is a small but strong ongoing Historic Center revival, there is a group of people who meet only once a month, for dancing tropical (cumbia, son, etc.) and the people who go there could be entire families, all social economic classes of the Guatemala society, and here being our history, this is great. Rich and poor, gays and straights, families with babies, children, everyone is happy to dance and see to dance everybody. It is usually held on historic houses with tradition in our history. You could contact the Municipalidad de Guatemala, which is the local government, the mayor is strongly supporting this activities in Guatemala City and you could be invited if you propose a visit to know and present in your blog or exhibit in a great art festival that they created every year. Happy New Year, Tere.

  249. Amber

    January 9, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I highly recommend a trip to Blob’s Park in Jessup, MD. We had a grand time polka dancing there a few years ago. It’s like the world’s largest church basement. http://blobspark.net/

  250. JGibson

    January 9, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Scott, if you haven’t already, you should check out the square dancing in PJ Harvey’s video for “The Words That Maketh Murder”! So dignified and stately; exactly what you’re getting – or so I imagine!

  251. Gregory

    January 9, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Seriously, as these other posts will attest, you can go to basically any town in America and find this. It is very, very, very easy.

  252. Emma

    January 9, 2012 at 4:58 am

    its very out of your normal route, but the Trafford Centre in Manchester, England has a tea dance every Tuesday night, the men and women wear their best outfits, and look so glamourous,dancing around to the brass band playing live. I will try to take a picture and upload it.

  253. Hannah

    January 9, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I have a friend in Montivedeo, Uruguay and every Sunday people dance the tango in the streets there part of the old town. Having seen her photos, to me, it’s the ultimate in a romantic way to spend a Sunday!

  254. Ashlea

    January 9, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Despite this article, there’s still a square dance culture in the Missouri Ozarks, though much of it has moved into dance studios. But I learned square dancing in gym class from 2nd to 6th grade!
    http://ksmu.org/article/old-time-ozarks-square-dancing-could-face-extinction

    Also, outside the states, the Ceili dances of Cape Breton in Canada are still very popular in small communities. Some of North America’s best Celtic fiddlers are coming out of the maritime provinces.

  255. Kerry

    January 9, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I have to second Arielle from Toronto about heading to the east coast of Canada. She mentions Prince Edward Island but may I also suggest Nova Scotia, particularly Cape Breton. Folks young and old gather for Scottish dancing at ceilidhs, everyone is welcome, the veterans will teach you on the fly, and the music is amazing. You’ll leave sweaty and with a smile on your face!

  256. Micah

    January 9, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Here are some people who are also documenting small square dances, but in a more ethnographic way. They are focusing on several small dances that have been around for generations.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/415675370/mountain-dance-trail

    The dances are all in West Virginia, in Henderson, Glenville, Elkins, Helvetia, Dunmore, Franklin, Sutton, Ireland, Harmon, and Riverton.

    Hope this helps.

  257. Charmaine King

    January 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

    There is no suqare dancing in France per se, but you can still find guingette by the Seine just outside of Paris you will find great outfits and couples that dance the Javanese. Ask Garance, I am almost certain that she knows… I am sure that you will fin the feeling that you are looking for.

  258. Alexandra

    January 9, 2012 at 10:10 am

    There is a dedicated square dancing group in my hometown, Tucson, AZ. Actually, there’s even a square dancing festival the 19-22nd of Jan. Here’s the website http://www.sardasa.com

  259. Emily

    January 9, 2012 at 10:17 am

    My mom lives in Asheville North Carolina and goes Contra dancing quite often. I went once with her to “Old Farmer’s Ball” at Warren Wilson College. The joy that was expressed in everyone’s face was contagious. Surprised by the stylish excess of youngsters and older folk alike I would say it’s definitely a place to check out.

  260. Sarah M Bruce

    January 9, 2012 at 10:36 am

    You’ve got plenty of responses, but I’ll chime in anyway. (1) Regular contra dances at the town hall in Milford, NH: http://www.contradancelinks.com/schedule_NH.html. (2) Square dances every Friday night in the summer at Pocono Lake Preserve, PA. They hire the bands from somewhere, so they can’t be the only dance around…

  261. julia

    January 9, 2012 at 11:25 am

    as i child, i went to square dances with my two great aunts. haven’t thought about it recently, and your post conjures up great memories of the dress, the music, the atmosphere. love this.

    hendersonville, NC:
    http://www.southernlights.org/SL_Calendar.htm

    (asheville, nc has a big contra dancing scene and i would imagine, might also have some square dancing options. hendersonville, above, is about 30 minutes from asheville. beautiful mountain towns.)

  262. kim

    January 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

    like robbie alluded to up above, square dancing is alive and well in north dakota! now would be the time to go check out the kitsch in my home state, as the temps are high enough for north dakotans to wear their springtime clothes! no snow on the ground. it might be an ideal time to visit the state, as it’s unlikely to have another “warm winter” like this in a long time…

    http://www.fmsquaredancers.org
    http://www.squaredancenorthdakota.org
    http://www.ceder.net/resources/view.php4?StateId=34

  263. jules

    January 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Square dancing and polka nights are alive and well for older generations in the upper midwest

    square dancing all over Minnesota
    http://www.squaredanceminnesota.com/

    Wisconsin:

    Marshfield Eagles Club
    Friday, February 10, 2012 through Saturday, February 11, 2012. Call 800-422-4541 for more information. Marshfield Eagles Club, 1104 S. Oak Ave, Marshfield, Wood County. Call 715-384-4314 or 800-422-4541.

  264. Sam

    January 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I have never been square dancing here, but have driven by many times and have heard that it is truly old-fashioned square dancing. Outside Lolo, MT. http://lolocampndance.com/

  265. Dee

    January 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Come to Portland, Oregon!

  266. Jessica

    January 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

  267. antique engagement rings

    January 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Simply wonderful!

  268. ray

    January 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Square dance is ingrained in the fabric of Calgary, Alberta, Canada as much as anywhere in the world! I think that if you follow the first link below, you’ll get a glimpse of what you’re looking for!

    Action shot
    http://www.squaredancecalgary.com/SquareDance.html

    Events just about every week
    http://www.squaredancecalgary.com/specialDances.html

  269. Stephanie

    January 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Louisville KY has wonderful contra dancing. You can have seven year olds all the way to seventy year olds dancing together in the same room. it’s quite beautiful…and fun!

  270. Anna

    January 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Strange as it may sound – The Empty Bottle, a bar in Chicago, has “Honky-Tonk Friday”, where there is a very mixed crowd that two-steps during happy hour time, beginning at 5:30. I haven’t been enough times to give more insight, but it was really interesting to see that mix of people in one place in the Windy City.

  271. Gillian

    January 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I agree, Calgary, Alberta. I used to live across from the Wild Rose United Church and loved watching the delightful older ladies and gents dresssed to the nines in traditional square dance garb. I believe it’s the “Dots and Dashes Square Dance Club.”

  272. Luigi

    January 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Dancing ” Vivi ” in San Pietro in Casale near Bologna, Italy, you can find exacly that mood. Every Saturady night, enjoy!!

  273. Anna

    January 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Well, in Cracow, Poland we have such place. It’s called Feniks and every weekend there is something which here calls “dansing”. Joung and old people just dance in old fashion.

  274. Maggie

    January 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    My grandmother was a “Bootjack Stomper” in Mariposa, CA (just outside Yosemite) for a long time. She always had the most amazing square-dancing dresses and skirts! She and her husband would coordinate their outfits to match and complement each other. Here’s their URL:http://bootjackstompers.vasdcentralcal.org/

  275. Colleen

    January 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I have to agree with the Asheville/WNC recommendations. Check out the John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown NC for contra & square dancing classes!

  276. chris g

    January 9, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Portland, Oregon! There is square dancing once a week. Come see the Northwest.

  277. Brennan

    January 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    My grandparents were also avid square dancers in their retirement. I used to love to borrow my grandmothers petticoats, skirts, and ruffly tops and go with them when I was little! I haven’t been back to this place in a long time, so I am not sure if people still get dressed in the full get ups, but when my grandparents went, they coordinated outfits- red gingham skirts were matched with red pans and gingham bandanas on my grandfather, etc. They also wore bolero ties and the appropriate shoes for dancing- the whole thing. My favorite outfit of my grandmother’s had a silver lame skirt. Thank you for posting this, I will have to track down those outfits to keepsake. I highly recommend Allemande Hall in Chattanooga, TN http://www.allemandehall.com/index.html
    Also, Chattanooga is a fabulously charming town!

  278. brennan

    January 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Had to add a second comment! I lived in Nashville for a long time as well- some of the spots people are mentioning, like the Station Inn are amazing places to hear some of the most talented recording artists in the country, but there isn’t much dancing. However, I would recommend a combined Nashville/Chattanooga trip if you’re interested in venture to TN. They are an easy-less-than-two-hour drive apart!

  279. Kismet

    January 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Dudley Laufman is a “National Heritage Fellow” He is also a fantastic fiddler, and great contra-dance caller. While contra-dance isn’t exactly square dance, it is very close and a lot of fun. My family and I actually attended one of his contra-dances on New Years Eve this year up in Tamworth, NH, and it was just lovely. In fact my family tries and goes to at least one dance a year, and they are always a pleasure. If you are ever in NH for a dance, Dudley and his wife Jacqueline are the best.

    http://www.laufman.org/Schedule.htm

  280. Haleigh

    January 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Lincoln, NE
    The Pla Mor Ballroom in Lincoln fills with country swing dancers and line dancers every Sunday evening. From high schoolers to those who’ve been around the dance floor quite a few times, the entire building is crammed each weekend. I know it’s not square dancing, but it sounds like it offers the same culture that your grandparents had…people getting together for the pure joy of being together. No pomp or frivolity, just getting together and doing something you love to do.

  281. Sarah

    January 10, 2012 at 1:23 am

    I grew up attending Jr. Grange camp every summer. Granges are the place for square dancing. Callers and everything. I found the following article.

    http://videos.oregonlive.com/oregonian/2011/01/square_dancing_at_the_aloha_gr.html

    “It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”

  282. Florence

    January 10, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Bonjour,
    De passage Ă  Paris, vous pouvez aller au Retrodancing, 23 rue du faubourg du temple dans le 10ème arrondissement…

  283. Name*

    January 10, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Hmmm..well you obviously aren’t looking for costumes, like they wear in salsa or contra dancing. It seems you are looking for a mature crowd that has “dressed up” for an evening out. So…only square dancing, waltz/ballroom, or polka. There was a very quaint place in Bolder Colorado when i was there, it was a restaurant, but they had a live band and did ballroom. I will ask my cousin the name. Dang.

  284. Laura

    January 10, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Maybe some ‘porteña’ has already commented, but in Buenos Aires we still have some ‘milongas’ to dance tango, or ‘peñas’ for folklore….
    My grandparents used to go to this clubs when they were younger. There were a lot! Each neighbourhood had it own!
    Cheers from warm Buenos Aires!

  285. Ruth

    January 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

    New England has actual square dancing. Check out the Great Plain Squares at http://greatplainsquares.org/ in Needham, Massachusetts. I remember square dancing with a caller on the town tennis courts as a child and it was lots of fun.

  286. Mirela

    January 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Hi!

    If you search for a social dance as special communication and connection between people you should definitely search for a milonga – a place, a party where people of all ages dance argentinian tango. Good luck!
    Mirela

  287. scooter

    January 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I’ve done a ton of square dancing, and there’s a giant divide between the fluffy-dress-and-matching-bolo crowd (“club” squares) and the rest! Not sure which you’re looking for.

    There’s traditional dancing to be had all over the US, as your commenters are indicating–the post probably isn’t enough information, really, about what you’re looking for. Contra (at least outside new england) tends to be more stately and cerebral, and attract a crowd dominant in the 35-65 age range and heavy on computer programmers who need a place to wear their utilikilt. Squares, depending on where you are, will be either much older or much younger, and may be hip and “hot” or…not. My local dances are a weird (and entertaining) mix of 20-something hipsters, homeschoolers, and older dancers who have a strong tradition.

    One recommendation I can give is absolutely find someplace where they’re dancing to a live band, and a good one! You can’t replace the excitement that goes back and forth between band and dancers, and the excitement will show in pictures.

  288. Manuela

    January 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

    SEATTLE!

    swing and latin: Century Ballroom

    community-oriented honky tonk country partner dancing: Little Red Hen

    other social country dancing (depends on the night): the Tractor, Hattie’s Hat, Daryl’s, Le Bon Ton Roule, Slim’s Last Chance

  289. Elaine

    January 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I can easily say the best square dancing goes on in the Ozark mountains of northwest Arkansas. There is a small town called Prairie Grove which is right outside of Fayetteville and Bentonville. The home of the University of Arkansas and Walmart as well as Crystal bridges. It’s held once a year at a small town festival called “the Clothesline Fair” which takes place on confederate battle field. They have groups of 8 people and proper dresses to match which are made locally. They practice all summer around town and perform. There are usually around 70 different groups with different dresses, music, caller, dancers and everything. It’s such a beautiful area and interesting thing to see.
    http://www.arkansas.com/anniversaries/prairie-grove-clothesline.aspx
    There are also tons of videos online.
    as well as this amazing museum.
    http://crystalbridges.org/

  290. Doreen

    January 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I’m an avid square dancer in Vancouver BC and invite you to visit my YouTube Channel:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ZorunaFox
    I upload videos taken mainly at local clubs or events like parades & demos.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/musicjamvideo#p/u/102/k0miyuimgKo

  291. bill myers

    January 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I have some neighbors in Santa Monica who go square dancing every Friday night.

  292. Doreen

    January 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Just wanted to add to my previous comment that the videos uploaded onto either YouTube channel mentioned are mainly about square dancing.
    Square dancing has been a passion of mine since high school but unfortunately is decreasing in dancers.
    We welcome any awareness to the activity. Thanks for the interest! It is truly appreciated.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/ZorunaFox

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Xylog5apher

  293. Marika

    January 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I agree that contra dancing would be the best place to look. There are NYC dances, but Greenfield, MA, is known as one of the best places in the country to contra dance. Ralph Sweet, one of the oldest Square Dance callers in the country, occasionally calls square dances in Greenfield and can be found contra dancing there most weeks. For more information, check out http://www.guidingstargrange.org/

  294. Emily

    January 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    My husband and I participate in a square dancing club at a place called “The Hayloft” in northeastern Indiana. Square dancing is infectious, so much so that the whole dance floor was filled with participants (most of whom had never do-se-doed a day in their life) at our wedding in October. I love seeing this tradition picked up by younger generations, it’s too fun to fade away.

  295. Doreen

    January 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I read a couple of comments left regarding a camp ground called Square Dance Center & Campground, Inc. in Lolo Montana.
    Here’s a YouTube link that I think captures what you’re looking for:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0miyuimgKo&list=LLT_7e6WQtfmr6HBfBQlfcWA&feature=mh_lolz
    (I was neither the videographer nor the woman featured, but I’m seen dancing in the video)

  296. Jen

    January 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Gruene Hall in Gruene, TX. The oldest dance hall in texas…it’s amazing!!!!

  297. Judith

    January 10, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    The Hula halau (groups) here in Hawaii are pretty amazing….not like Square dancing, but you might enjoy them anyway!

  298. dc dancers

    January 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    You’ll find that square dancing has largely been replaced by contra dancing over the past 30 years, but it’s starting to make a comeback. There are two kinds of square dance: modern western and traditional. Modern western is probably the kind your grandparents did – mostly older folks doing it these days, it’s a club activity, almost always in couples, (i.e. you can’t show up single), and usually in frilly costumes. There are also some younger folks doing this, most notably the MIT Tech Squares club!

    Traditional square dance is the more informal kind, without costumes, which had basically shrunk to a few Appalachian holdouts until recently – it’s now rapidly regaining popularity amongst young people and there are new, young dances popping up around the country. There are great ones in DC, Portland OR, Seattle, Nashville and Durham, to name a few.

    If you’re looking for real old-timers, I suggest west virginia esp. the Glenville festival.

    here’s a directory of (most) of the trad. style dances in the US.
    http://www.cdss.org/sd-trad-groups.html

    you might also wanna get in touch with these folks:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/415675370/mountain-dance-trail?ref=live

  299. KEN

    January 11, 2012 at 3:55 am

    NY has Big Apple Ranch in Chelsea for weekly two-stepping and line-dance parties every Saturday night. It’s communal, social and very intimate. A must visit for me whenever I am in NY.

    http://www.bigappleranch.com/

  300. Elise

    January 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    The state dance of Washington State is the square dance. Elementary schools through Jr. High have square dancing lessons in PE. A man known as Dancing Dave comes around once a year to each of the schools in the Northshore School District.

  301. Dan

    January 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    The living tradition is a non-profit in Southern California that hosts fantastic monthly contra dances in Anaheim, California. They also host music jams and concerts.

    http://www.thelivingtradition.org/index.htm

    They’re held on the 4th Saturday of everything month.
    “Unless otherwise noted, our 4th Saturdays have the following schedule of activities:

    5 to 7 PM Jam – Bring your instruments & join in!
    6:30 PM Potluck
    7:30 PM Contra dance introduction lesson
    8 to 11 PM Contra dance”

    Here’s a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7R5Prx-rkc

  302. thetravelingheart

    January 12, 2012 at 9:22 am

    oh how precious!

  303. Heather

    January 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Short’s Brewery in Bellaire, MI has contra/square dancing weekly. Men in breads and overalls, women, and children…On top of that there is good beer!

  304. L Armond

    January 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Well I see you have a lot of comments, but I think you will enjoy viewing this youtube video of the Igor Moiseyev National Ballet, that preserved folk dance all over the former Soviet Union, and you will find the Wikepedia entry on him great, too. But watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQFGmW3AoE4

    And you will find a lot of folk dancing in upstate New York, Vermont, anywhere that borders Montreal. Check out French Folk Dance videos.

  305. L Armond

    January 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I hope I get this posted correctly. (Vision problems with MS) Sorry
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQFGmW3AoE4
    I hope this is a link to Igor Moiseyev Folk Ballet Troup in Russia. They saved Folk Dances of every territory of former Soviet Union. Also, lots of folk dancing anywhere in US that borders Montreal.

  306. Audrey

    January 13, 2012 at 3:12 am

    There are monthly Contra dances in Carrboro, NC and Asheville, NC. You can find square dances at local firehouses in the spring and in church gathering rooms just about every other town you go to in North Carolina as well.

  307. Kate

    January 13, 2012 at 10:29 am

    A lot of people have mentioned contra dancing, which would be a GREAT lead for you. Asheville (like Audrey just mentioned) has an advanced dance on Monday nights, and there’s always a great mix of ages all literally swirling and twirling together. You could get some really great shots there.

  308. Hillary

    January 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Tulsa, Oklahoma!!

  309. Name*

    January 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    My friend sent me your comment on square dancing. I take a square dance calling class, and I’m on a the DC Square Dance Collective in Washington, DC. We have a square dance that’s full of young bucks and lasses. The next one is Jan 21 at St Stephen’s Church from 8-midnight. The space is very progressive and the participants can BYOB. It’s really fun. If you need photos, I can take some photos for you. Also, there’s an older rivivalist square dance group in Blacksburg, VA that has been doing square dances for about 35 years now. You should google them. Surprisingly, they don’t get as many square dancers as we do. We have sometimes 12 squares going!! I play banjo and love square dancing.. One of the best square dances is at Clifftop.. during the first week of August, usually in WV during the Old time Music festival.. where the band winners from last year’s contest play for the square dance and there are excellent callers from around the nation. Our square dance in DC also has great callers and musicians. It’s really great! The next one after this one is in March. Email me!

  310. Joseph

    January 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    This makes me think about that Jonathan Richman song, “They’re Not Tryin’ On The Dance Floor.”

  311. Emily

    January 14, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I live in Austin, TX and have become somewhat of a regular at an old converted train station to bar, called Donn’s Depot. Donn and the Station Masters play every Tues. and Fri.night at 9pm, and the dance floor is packed with Texas Two Steppers, mainly in the 70 plus age group. Not only are they in traditional Two Step gear, but their rhythm and chemistry is flawless. The couple that dances together, stays together. Donn’s Depot, West 5th St., Austin, Texas. Ask for Tammy – she’ll take care of you!

  312. Brennan

    January 14, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    DC has a homegrown form of jitterburg called DC Hand Dancing. If you ever do make it down 95, you can find their events here: http://www.dchanddanceclub.com/schedule.htm. They used to have a show on public access cable, and I could never take my eyes off it when it was on. The men are dapper, the women are elegant, and everyone looks terribly happy to be there!

  313. Nikki

    January 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    http://www.squaredancene.org/clubs/chix/

    They’re adorable and have big full skirts if they’re the club I’m thinking of…

  314. @thorfi

    January 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    There’s also Swing Dancing (and a variety of umbrella/related partner dancing styles) that goes on all over the world (the scene got revived in the ’80s, and has been growing ever since), including NYC. Some of the participants are also into vintage fashion, but not the majority.

    https://thisweekinswingnyc.wordpress.com/ has NYC events.

    To get some idea of it, video of comps and instructors from the bigger group swing dancing events on youtube would be findable by searching for “Lindy Focus”, “ILHC”, “ESDC”.

    Despite the youtube footage, swing dancing is not mainly a competition event – the primary point is to gather in groups and partner dance to vintage or vintage style jazz. :-)

  315. Amber

    January 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Contra dancing is a staple of weekends in the Shenandoah Valley! Beautiful dancing, in old school gyms and farms. Also notable that Shenandoah still has a sizable Mennonite and Brethren community, which keeps the dances packed.

  316. Marcie Crim

    January 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Carcassone Community Center in Letcher County, Kentucky (in the Appalachian coalfields), the longest continuous community square dance in Kentucky. Built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, this former one-room school now hosts an old-fashioned square dance on the second Saturday of each month. Musicians include nationally known banjo master Lee Sexton, a regular at the square dance which has operated continuously for more than 50 years. Dancers from Carcassonne have been featured at the Kentucky Folk Life Festival and at the Smithsonian Institution.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carcassonne-Community-Center/148147188566236?v=info

  317. Adria

    January 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Gruene, Texas or Schroeder Hall in Goliad, Texas. I’ve been going to dances here since I was 11 years old, Texas born and bred. xo

  318. Amber McPherson

    January 18, 2012 at 11:15 am

    The String Bean in Galax, VA, Friday nights I believe. Also check out: http://crookedroad.org/

  319. Viki

    January 18, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of susnihne.

  320. Emily

    January 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    When I read this it remembered me of two things.. the first was when I used to do marketing and went and visited Bavarian Waste Company (Located in Walton, Ky). The guy I met with there had 12 children- all of them square dancers! It was really interesting to learn about how they got into it, and how they traveled and followed it.
    Another amazing place is Hoe-Down Island at Red River Gorge in Kentucky as well. It is outdoor line and square dancing in a beautiful, lush location. This would make some fantastic pictures. I went there on a date with my husband, and as we were night hiking, we heard Amazing Grace echoing through the mountains… followed by the Macarena. It was incredible.
    Hope this helps you get inspired!

  321. yates

    January 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    You need to go to Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Every week in a barn they do contra-dancing, which is more of an Appalachian version of square dancing. All ages, all kinds of people, all dancing together.

  322. SES

    January 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Reminds me of an Arbus. Really beautiful!

  323. Allison

    January 24, 2012 at 11:11 am

    If it’s not too late, you should also consider visiting the northwestern part of South Carolina. There is a place in the middle of nowhere, called River Falls Lodge, that people (anywhere from high schoolers to 80-year olds) will flock to go contra-dancing about once a month.

    The setting is a rustic barnyard in the middle of the countryside. It is really an eclectic place that has really caught the attention of college students at the nearby universities. Many men will come dressed in bow-ties and suspenders, and often the ladies are bedecked in flowing skirts or vintage apparel (the best part are the hats many of the men wear!). The dancing is exciting, but I find that the most fun is people-watching. It has the most unique vibe I’ve seen in the South.

  324. Becca

    January 25, 2012 at 11:03 am

    There is a small neighborhood in Baltimore, MD that is mostly older couples that are of Polish decent that you would be able to stumble upon some line dancing. The neighborhood is really small and they all know each other.

  325. Tina

    January 27, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Every Friday night, there’s swing dancing in the SOB (Save Our Barn) Barn at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. It’s an interesting environment – I mean, it’s an old barn! Plywood floors, sloping ceilings with rafters exposed… and every week, it’s packed. Everyone – skilled or unskilled – is welcome.

  326. Emily

    January 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I know that here in Maine contra dances are quite popular; on March 30 and 31 there is a huge festival (a few hundred people attend) called the DownEast Country Dance Festival, a festival of dancing, music, and general folk/DownEast Maine culture. This website has more info:
    http://www.deffa.org/festival/

  327. David

    February 5, 2012 at 3:11 am

    We hold a regular “barn dance” about thirty miles west of Chicago in a real peg and post barn that dates from the early 1900′s (or maybe even 1890′s). It’s the second Sunday evening of each month from September through June and the third Sunday afternoon each month November through April. Depending on the caller and the dancers who show up it may be more squares or more contras, but its usually a mix of those with perhaps a Kentucky running set and a circle mixer dance or two. Low key, casual, family-friendly. There’s even a small herd of buffalo on the site. For details on the location, times, band names, and callers, see our web site: http://www.fnal.gov/orgs/folkclub/ You’ll also find photos and videos there.

  328. Shay

    February 11, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Okay, so telling you this puts me on the spot, but square dancing is so fun I cannot go without telling you about it. I was born in 1980 so as a kid I remember watching my Grandparents square dance on the weekends. So strong was the Nostalgia that I began having square dances again this summer and you would not believe how fun it is, if you have the right “caller”. Just so happens that and old family friend, who is in his 80′s, is literally of the best in the country. In fact the square dancing might be fun just because of him. So if you decide to come dancing with us you will find people dancing together from age 20-80. That is also the magic of this entire thing. Where in the world does that type of thing happen? We have a dance every three weeks in Nyssa, OR. In fact we have one coming up this Friday the 17th if you would like to join the generations for a good time!!

  329. Allison

    February 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I know this is over a month old but I have literally the perfect place, Clarke’s Olde Time Music Center in Raphine, Virginia. We went once in college and were the only people there under 60. They loved us. It was great. Here’s the description on the website I found:
    Clark’s Lumber Company is an operating sawmill that produces the components of prefabricated log houses, however, on most Friday nights the company’s Planer Building becomes a haven for old-time music and mountain dance! Musicians from the surrounding communities get together and are joined by over 100 dancers and listeners.
    Inside an adjacent kitchen, a table is laden with complimentary slices of fresh pound cake, cookies, other home-baked treats, soft drinks and hot coffee. Join Bruce Clark and the gang for a real down-home good time and help keep this Appalachian mountain music tradition alive.
    Here’s the website: http://www.virginia.org/Listings/TheArts/ClarksOleTimeMusicCenter/

  330. Jani Cho

    April 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    The guidelines you provided here are quite priceless. Rrt had been such an enjoyable surprise to have that waiting for me when I woke up today. They are always to the point and easy to interpret. Warm regards for the valuable ideas you’ve got shared here.

  331. Morgan

    December 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    My husband and I used to go dancing every Saturday night at the Kelly Ingram VFW in Birmingham, Alabama. We are always, by decades, the youngest people there. The Archers are the house band and a family band, playing old standards and country songs. Couples between 70 and 100 years old go dancing, some in glorious ballroom clothes (with that Southern flair) and some literally swaying with their seeing eye dogs. For $5 you can get “The Set Up,” a plastic bucket of ice, two cokes, and a pint of Jim Beam. For free, you can sit in the 1960s era wood paneled and red naugahyde lounge. As long as you don’t sit at the small two top with a tablecloth and two place settings for the nameless soldiers. As a 28 year old woman, I’ve never felt so beautiful as when I go there. The men line up for a dance with a young lady and the women fawn over your youth in bathrooms. And we can all sit together in the lounge, have a cigarette, and talk about the good old days.

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