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Download the schedule and pre-event schedule as pdf files.

Legend:  Events for everyone  Events for callers and musicians   Events for students at local schools 

Sunday, 27 September 2015Afternoon & Evening at First Baptist Church
562 Ketch Harbour Road, Portuguese Cove:
9:30-11:00 Meet, Greet and Music
Seats reserved for first 40 Gold Supporter buyers.
Welcome our American guests and kick off the festival at a beautiful home in Portuguese Cove: Introductions, mini concert, mingle over lunch.
(Attendance by invitation to Gold Supporters.)
11:15-1:15 Callers -- Teaching and TransitionsWorkshop at Portuguese Cove for callers on teaching and understanding transitions from call to call.
First Baptist Church
1300 Oxford Street, Halifax:
2:30-5:00 Contra Roots and Relatives
Workshop for dancers on traditional squares, classic contras, and some circle dances.
3:00-5:00 Musicians -- MedleysWorkshop for musicians on medley creation and smooth transitions between tunes.
5:30-7:00 Potluck SupperAll welcome! Bring a dish to share and please list ingredients to inform those with food sensitivities.
7:30-8:00 New Dancer IntroWe encourage new contra dancers to arrive early in order to learn some basic contra calls and concepts.
8:00-10:30 Contras and Cousins Dance
A variety-filled evening with selections from the wider world of contra-related dances.
Explore contra's place within the broader folk dance scene: you will learn classic contras, and sample related dance forms such as traditional squares, mixers, round waltzes, and even a polka or two!

Monday, 28 September 2015Afternoon & Evening in Hatchet Lake
Dartmouth High School, 95 Victoria Road:
10:00-11:10 Workshop for Music Students
Workshop on playing contra music for Dartmouth High School music students.
Prospect Road Community Centre
2141 Prospect Road, Hatchet Lake:
4:00-5:00 Guided Hike: (Meet at Centre) High Head Trail in Prospect to coast.
Or drive down to picturesque Prospect.

Enjoy the spectacular coast southwest of Halifax.
Meet at 3:45 at the Prospect Road Community Centre to take part in a beautiful local hike. High Head is a rugged coastal hike about 12 km beyond the Community Centre. Wear sturdy, grippy footwear, and dress warmly for coast. *
5:30-6:30 Prospect Road Community Centre Supper (seafood chowder or veggie chili)
(Centre is 10 km on Rte 333 from Exit 2 off Rte 103)
Join us for a locally prepared, affordable, community supper. Choice of seafood chowder ($12) or vegetarian chili ($8)
6:30-8:00 Family-friendly Community Dance (with open band)A fun-focused and family-friendly community dance. Share the joy in simple circle and contra dances. Musicians welcome to play along with the staff.
8:00-9:00 Workshop for Musicians and Callers -- School and Community DancesLearn about appropriate music and dances for family-friendly community dances.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015Evening Community Dance
Sacred Heart Upper Elementary Students
5820 Spring Garden Road, Halifax:

10:30-11:45 Contras at Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart School is a coeducational independent Catholic day school. Two contra dancing sessions for the Upper Elementary students (boys and girls).
Le Marchant Elementary School
6141 Watt Street, Halifax:

1:00-3:00 Contras at Le Marchant
Le Marchant - St. Thomas Elementary is a central Halifax public school with some French immersion classes. Two one-hour sessions for grade 3-4 students.
All Nations Christian Reformed Church,
2535 Robie Street, Halifax:
3:00-5:00 Callers - Stage and Microphone
Workshop for callers on stage presence and microphone craft. Also practice for Friday evening.
5:00-6:15 Organizers SupperDiscussion about CDSS support for dance groups
Dartmouth High School, 95 Victoria Road:
7:30-10:00 Dartmouth High Contra Dance
        Fund Raiser (gym floor shoes required)
Join us at Dartmouth High for a fun-filled community dance -- all proceeds go towards the school's Fine Arts programs.
(Contra Fest package-holders enter for free.)

Wednesday, 30 September 2015Wolfville Day
Wolfville Elementary, 19 Acadia Street
1:00-2:40 Contras at Wolfville Elementary
Introduction to contras for the grade 7 and 8 students at Wolfville Elementary School (1:05-1:50 & 1:50-2:35)
Wolfville Lions Club Hall, 36 Elm Avenue: MAP
3:30-5:30 Musicians -- Tunes and Use
Workshop for musicians on good contra dance tunes, creating medleys and contra dance structure.
3:30-5:30 Callers -- Calling for New DancersWorkshop for callers on calling for new dancers -- teaching and appropriate choreography.
Wolfville Farmers’ Market, 24 Elm Avenue: MAP
5:30-7:00 Farmers’ Market Supper
All are welcome to a $12 community supper at the market before the dance. Here is a chance to check out the local food and artisan crafts.
7:30-8:00 New Dancer IntroWe encourage new contra dancers to arrive early in order to learn some basic contra calls and concepts.
8:00-10:30 Valley Harvest Contra Dance
Join us in the beautiful Annapolis Valley for a Contra Dance at the Wolfville Farmers' Market.
Contras are spreading into the Annapolis Valley as evidenced by an enthusiastic new group in Wolfville. ‘Share the Joy’ at our community contra dance.

Thursday, 1 October 2015Afternoon & Evening at All Nations Church
Shambhala School,
5450 Russell Street, Halifax:

11:00-12:30 Contras at Shambhala School
Shambhala is a non-denominational private school with creative curriculum, integrating academics and art.
Contra dancing for grades 3 - 8.
All Nations Christian Reformed Church,
2535 Robie Street, Halifax:
2-4 Callers and Musicians work together
4:00-5:00 Jam Session
Workshop for callers on selecting and using various music styles. Also discussing other aspects of working with musicians. Joint session for callers and musicians. Followed by a short Jam Session.
5:30-6:30 Communal SupperCasual question and discussion time.
7:30-8:00 New Dancer IntroWe encourage new contra dancers to arrive early in order to learn some basic contra calls and concepts.
8:00-10:30 MUC-ky Dance
MUC = Modern Urban Contra -- a high energy evening of contemporary dances, and some electronic music!
Contemporary dances -- "zesty" choreo maximizing activity level and swings, alternative music dances flowing to electronic dance beats.

Friday, 2 October 2015All events at All Nations Church
All Nations Christian Reformed Church,
2535 Robie Street, Halifax:
10:00-12:00 Callers -- More Advanced Figures
Workshop for callers on understanding and managing degrees of choreographic difficulty. The discussion will assume some calling experience, but all callers are welcome to attend.
2:00-4:00 Callers and Musicians Practice
New Skills for Evening Dance
Practice session for Friday evening callers with staff and local musicians.
2:00-4:00 Alternate Workshop for Calling
at Weddings & Social Gatherings
Ideas and practice time for those interested in calling for friends and family, and other social events.
5:00 Restaurant Supper by reservationLimited space. For reservations contact Kat at (902) 880-1318 or by email at
7:30-10:30 Dress Up and Dance Party
We encourage everyone to dress "creatively" for this multi-caller event. Wear whatever fashion you like -- full-on costume, a fancy outfit, or a colourful shirt.
This dance will feature callers who have been learning from our American guests as well as a sampling of Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and Square dances lead by local callers.

Saturday, 3 October 2015All events at St. Andrew's United Church
St. Andrew’s United Church
6036 Coburg Road, Halifax:
10:00-12:00 Contra Styling Workshop
Workshop for dancers on styling, leading and following, giving weight, transitions, and injury-free dancing.
10:00-12:00 Musicians -- ComponentsWorkshop for musicians that will explore the components of good contra dance music.
2:00-4:00 More Challenging Contras
2:00-4:00 Quirky Moves, Odd Forms
Workshop for dancers focusing on exploring some more challenging or quirky choreography. Two rooms in action to accommodate various experience levels.
5:30-7:00 Potluck SupperAll welcome! Bring a dish to share and please list ingredients to inform those with food senstivities.
7:30-8:00 New Dancer IntroWe encourage new contra dancers to arrive early in order to learn some basic contra calls and concepts.
8:00-10:30 Grand Finale Contra Dance
With Open Band - all musicians welcome
A huge community dance celebration to wrap up our Centennial Tour Contra Fest!
This is our final evening to enjoy the talent and passion of our visiting CDSS staff. Whoop it up!
Open Band: local musicians welcome to play along our visiting guest musicians.

Notes for Dancers:
  • Wear comfortable clothing, layers are best.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Bring a bottle of water,
  • No experience necessary, no need to come with a partner.
  • All dances are taught by our visiting American Contra Callers with support from our local team.     

* Hikers will meet at the Prospect Road Community Centre at 3:45 pm to drive to the hike location together. Directions if needed: From the Community Centre follow NS-333 about 6 km and then turn left turn onto Prospect Bay Road. After 4.4 km, turn right on Seligs Road, then left on Jamils Road and right on Hages Lane. Follow it to the end and park there. There is an ocean view from the parking lot. The trail continues ahead through the woods. It takes just a few minutes to reach a spectacular viewing area. There is a linear trail along the coast to the left going about 4 km to Indian Point Road in Prospect. Wear appropriate hiking shoes.


Saturday, 12 September 2015Sackville Landing, Halifax Waterfront
Sackville Landing, Halifax Waterfront:
(At the foot of Sackville Street by "The Wave")

7:00-9:00 Contras at Sackville Landing
Dancing outside on the waterfront.
Live music by Joe Pratt and Skip Holmes with a variety of favourite local prompters.
Admission to this event is by donation - we suggest $5. In case of rain, we will dance 7:00-8:30 at All Nations Church. After that you are invited to join a beginner-friendly Irish Ceilidh at the same location, lead by a special-guest dance teacher from Ireland. Admission to the Contra & Ceilidh together is $20.
Saturday, 26 September 2015Mahone Bay
Mahone Bay Centre:
45 School Street, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0
Take Exit 10 off Rte 103 and follow Rte 3 into Mahone Bay. Just beyond the junction with Rte 325 turn right onto Pleasant Street, then right onto School Street.

7:00-9:30 pm Summer Barn Dance
Squares intermixed with Contra dance forms. Callers/Prompters Palma Heming and Alan Parker.
$6 per person, casual attire, non-alcoholic.


Contra Fest 2015 Overview