It has nothing whatsoever to do with the Nicaraguan contras. It is, instead, English country dancing. English country dancing has nothing to do with country line dancing.
Contradance is something like square dancing because the dance is made up of a series of figures or moves that are repeated with different partners, and the dances are taught and called by a caller.
It's even more like the Virginia reel that you may have learned when you were very young. You have a partner who stands across from you in a line of dancers, and dancers advance up the line as the dance progresses. It is done to reels and jigs played by a live band. A nice thing about contradancing is that you ask a different person to be your partner for each new dance and even in mixed company it is considered perfectly OK for women to have women partners and men to have male partners. In fact, in most contradances even if you have a partner of the opposite sex you end up dancing with a person of your own sex for some of the figures.
Music is usually pretty snappy and often has roots in the British Isles. Waltzes and polkas often are a part of a contradance evening as well.
More on contradance from the Internet
Last updated February 29, 2012
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