Monthly contra dances accompanied by live traditional music are held in Lincoln, Nebraska, usually on the first Saturday of each month.  This web site provides details and links to related folk dancing events in the area.


“Down the hall, four in line.”



– the first Saturday of each month from 7:30 – 10:00 p.m.    Dance schedule for 2008:

January 5

February 2

March 1

                                (Look out for the March Irish Ceili!) (see photo of 2000 Ceili below!)

April 5

May 3

June 7

July 5

August 2

Sepember 6

October 4

November 1

December 6

          Et cetera . . .



Auld Recreation Center in Antelope Park, 3130 Sumner (off A Street).  The Auld Recreation center is a beautiful, climate-controlled hall with a wooden floor (see the photos on this page).  Family-friendly environment (smoke and alcohol free).  The park can be accessed by turning onto Memorial drive from A street, South Street, or Garfield when coming from 27th street.  Watch for signs.  Here are maps and detailed directions.


How much does it cost?

          It does cost money to put on contra dances, so we suggest donations of $6 for adults and $3 for students.  Children under 12 are always FREE! (adult supervision required).  Suggested special family donation of $15.


Contra dancing is fun for kids too!


What is contra dancing?

          Contra dancing is one of the traditional North American dance forms.  A contra dance is danced with couples in long parallel lines called “sets”.  Each couple moves up and down the hall during the dance so that during the course of each dance you will get to dance with everyone in your set.  Contra dancing originated in New England where it descended from English Country dancing and other Western European folk dancing.  If you’ve ever done any folk dances from the British Isles, or Scandinavia, you’ll be comfortable with contra dancing straight away.  Many of the figures in contra dancing are the same as those in square dancing, so if you’ve ever been square dancing you’ll recognize the calls immediately.  For some additional definitions and explanations of contra dancing click here.


“Ladies chain across”


What if I’ve never danced before?

          Contra dancing is one of the easiest types of dancing.  All you need is energy and enthusiasm!  Almost everybody picks up contra dancing the very first dance they try. Your feet are never asked to do more than walk to the music.  Children as young as six or seven can contra dance.  Dances are always taught before hand and walked through at least once.  During the dance the caller prompts you what to do next.  During a dance the steps repeat many times so you soon learn what to do.  If you’re new to contra dancing it is helpful to come at 7:30 for the free beginner’s class because all the basic figures will be carefully explained for the first few dances.


Calling a dance.


Do I need to bring a partner?

No.  In fact, in contra dancing it is normal to dance with a new partner each dance.  It is also definitely OK for women to ask men to dance.  Since each couple dances with every other couple in their set each dance, by the end of the evening you will probably have danced with everyone in the hall!


Do I need to wear anything special?

Nope.  Just wear comfortable light clothing.  The Auld recreation center is air-conditioned in summer and heated in winter.


Some members of Lincoln’s “Hot Rosin” band playing for a contra dance.


What is the music like?

We have live music played on fiddles, banjos, mandolins, guitars, and other instruments by groups such as Little Brown Jug and members of Lincoln’s own contra dance band – “Hot Rosin”.  The music is from the Celtic/American folk tradition.  Click here for an audio sample by the band Stringdancer.


For more information on the Lincoln Contra Dances


For further Information call or e-mail Chip (402-325-9450), Gene (402-560-0108), Jon Brt 402-826-2480 (, or Judy Duerr 402-476-2441 (  For another web page about Lincoln contras see


“Swing your partners”


Other contra dances near Lincoln

There is also a third Saturday contra dance in Omaha. Dances are from 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm. The location is changing so check here  for the location.  Cost is $5.00 / adults, $2.50 / students and teens. Children 12 and under are free (if accompanied by a parent).  Live Music is provided by various local Omaha bands.  For more information:

Omaha Contra Dance Web Site

(402) 551-5275, (402) 334-0678, or (402) 391-4765

E-mail: or

People usually car-pool to the Omaha contra dance from Lincoln.  Call (402) 742-7959  if you’d like a ride from Lincoln.


Additional contra dance information on the web.

A Contra Dance Primer


Other Folk Dancing in Lincoln

International Folk Dancing - The Lincoln International Folk Dancers meet on Friday evenings in room 310, Mabel Lee Hall on the University of Nebraska City Campus – call (402) 421-6627 or (402) 423-1261 for information.

Irish Folk Dancing - Lincoln Irish Dancers – for additional information call LuAnne at (402) 475-8674; e-mail:

Scottish Country Dancing – for information call Nick or Jennifer at (402) 483-9009


March 2000 Irish Ceili


Folk Music in Lincoln

          Lincoln Association for Traditional Arts (LAFTA) – a non-profit corporation of approximately 150 members. P.O. Box 30561, Lincoln, NE 68503-0561; Tel. (402) 580-8656 or e-mail


Other Folk Dancing in Omaha

          International Folk Dancing (Omaha) – Omaha International Folk Dancers – Sunday evenings – for information, contact Carol at (402) 391-4765 or at

Morris Dancing (Omaha)Prairie Waves Morris Dancing – Tuesday evenings – for information call David Nichols, (402) 280-2986 (work), or (402) 553-2562 (home).

Scandinavian Dancing (Omaha)Scandinavian Folk Dance – every Wednesday – call Poul V. Steffensen  (402) 331-6413 for more information.

Scottish Dancing (Omaha)Omaha Scottish Dancing.


Other Traditional Music and Dance in Omahaweb page


Folk Dancing in Nebraska - click here


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[updated: Sunday February. 3, 2008]