Covid has stopped most dancing.
Please check the local websites, stay safe and look after each other.

Contra Dances in New Zealand

There are dances in Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington and Auckland.


Contra dancing began in Dunedin in 1996. Bernadette Berry had experienced contra at the Canberra folk festival and Sue Galvin danced it while at university in the USA. The other contra dances in New Zealand came from contact with Ron and Cathy Arp's touring contra groups from the USA which started coming in 2002. Wellington was first followed by Christchurch, Auckland and Nelson. Irregular dances have been held in Hokitika. See Contra Seeds


If you want to get a contra dance organized in your town, contact Bill Baritompa.

A Short Description of Contra dancing (some videos here)

Check out the Chattahoochee Country Dancers web page for a detailed description and some instructional videos links.

The video The Contra Dance by Doug Plummer shows the joy and excitement you will experience at this type of dance.

The following is extracted from a web article: "What is Contra Dance?" by Gary Shapiro.

A caller, usually working with a group of live musicians, guides new and experienced alike through a variety of dances.

A dancer and his or her partner dance a series of figures, or moves, with each other and with another couple for a short time. They then repeat the same figures with another couple, and so on. The figures are similar to those in a barn dance. The figures are combined in different ways for each different dance.

The caller teaches each dance before it is actually done to the music. This gives everyone an idea of what to expect so the movements can be easily executed. The caller leads the dances while they are being done to music, so dancers are able to perform each movement to the music. Once the dancers appear to have mastered a particular dance, the caller may stop calling, leaving the dancers to enjoy the movement with music alone.