College Hill Contra Dance

New Website:

(formerly known as the 'Brown Dance')

The College Hill Contra Dance is the continuation of the Brown University contra dance.  It is held first and third Fridays in the Community Church of Providence at the corner of Wayland and Lloyd Avenues on the East Side.

Contra dancing is traditional New England dancing that originated with the colonists.  Over the course of the centuries, what began as English and French country dances evolved into something American and distincly New England.  Like much of New England traditional folk life, the popularity of contra dancing (also called barn dancing, country dancing, or simply dancing by the old New Englanders) suffered in the twentieth century, and was in fact lost in Southern New England.  Thankfully, the tradition survived in the North, and with a renewed interest in folk music in the seventies, contra dancing crept back into Rhode Island.  Dancing in Rehoboth and Cranston (the now defunct Greater Providence dance) revived in the eighties and our dance, the younger brother, was born about a decade later.  Our twentieth birthday is approaching!

Unlike the old days, our dances are always lead by a caller.  Once upon a time, a caller would have been pointless since people knew the dances, but the repertoire had been so enriched since then that a little leading (at least to get started) makes things much smoother.  Abeautiful tradition that has remained, however, is that dances are done to LIVE fiddle music.  There is always a band at the CHCD, never a recording!  At a dance, you will hear a traditional repertoire of Yankee tunes (known as "chestnuts") often heavily suplemented with Southern and Celtic tunes.  Contra dancing culture tends to achieve an equisite balance of the old and the new.

All are heartily welcome as the dance is an excellent mix of students and community members.  No need to come with a partner; one can come alone, but people do tend to have a great time when they come with a group of friends.  Don't worry if you're a beginner either, its easy and it will be a ton o' fun.  The price varies between $8 and $12 depending on the scope of entertainment for the evening.

The dance is just blocks away from either Thayer Street, Elmgrove Avenue, or Wayland Square which all have lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, and other interesting pieces of East Side life.  So come early for dinner or go for a drink afterward - make it a contra dance evening on the town!

For more dance info, contact Nick. For musician and caller info, contact Andy.

2012-2013 Schedule

September 7th

French Connection
Linda Leslie

September 21st

Michelle Kaminsky & Andy Grover (fiddles), Mark Wholley (guitar)
Steve Zakon-Anderson

October 5th
Wild Asparagus

George Marshall
$12/$8 tonite
October 19th
Larry Unger and Friends

Beth Parkes

November 2nd

Lucia Watson

November 16th

White Squall
Dan Pearl

December 7th

Emily Troll (fiddle) and Josh Van Vliet (guitar)
Tony Parkes

December 21st
Stuart Kenney and Friends

Past Season Schedules: 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, Summer 2009
, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012