Welcome to Ottawa Contra Dance!

Contra dancing is a joyful, energetic community dance for all ages. We dance to live music – fiddles, guitar, accordions, and more – and talented callers guide us through dance formations.

Come early for the introductory lesson – check out our Schedule or subscribe to our email newsletter for upcoming dances.

Beginners are very welcome – all dances are taught and no partner or previous experience needed – just bring your smile! First-time dancers receive a second dance free card.

“It was [a] very friendly atmosphere. The instructions were good. The music was fantastic!” “Very welcoming.”

COVID-19 Update

October 26, 2021

This week, the Ontario government announced a gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions over the next 5 months or so. Some types of social dancing are now happening in Ottawa. With limited capacity and masks, dancing such as salsa, ballroom, and international folk dancing (IFDO) are back indoors. Although contra remains paused for now, your Board continues to meet and prepare for a safe and gradual return. 

Julie Bishop
President, Old Sod Folk Music Society / Ottawa Contra Dance
On behalf of your volunteer Board
 for 2021-22
Catherine, Stephen, Lynne, Jane, Peter, Neville, Val and Ken

May 27, 2021

Ottawa contra dances remain suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dear Contra Dance friends,

You may be wondering when contra dancing might resume in Ottawa. The answer is, we don’t know yet! The City of Ottawa rents us the main hall at the Churchill Recreation Centre and we have to wait for them to allow us to hold a dance there. We also need to re-activate our insurance. The plan is to wait until it’s safe to dance (as determined by the Province of Ontario and Ottawa Public Health), we are allowed to rent the hall for a dance, and have obtained insurance. Due to these preconditions, we are not ready to think about a specific start date for dances yet. Rather, as we get closer to holding our first dance, we’ll let you all know!

In the meantime, I encourage everyone to be vaccinated when you are able. We need Community Immunity (herd immunity) to protect one another and those who are medically unable to undergo vaccination.

Your volunteer Board has continued to meet regularly via Zoom and we are committed to contra dancing again, when it’s safe to do so.  We intend to hold an outdoor Annual General Meeting and Social some time in the summer, when permitted by Provincial rules, and we hope to see you then.

Julie Bishop
President, Old Sod Folk Music Society / Ottawa Contra Dance
On behalf of your volunteer Board
 for 2020-21
Catherine, Stephen, Maura, Lynne, Jane, Peter, Dawn, and Neville

April 24, 2020

2020-21 Season Suspension, Hey Fever Cancellation

The Ottawa Contra board has made the decision to suspend plans for our 2020-21 dance season until we know that it is safe to dance again. We have also decided to cancel Hey Fever this year, due to health, financial, and other considerations. At this time, we do not know when dances will resume. The board will continue to meet occasionally to assess the situation. We expect that, once restrictions are gradually lifted, we will need to proceed cautiously, since contra dancing is one of the higher risk activities for virus transmission.

Our board acknowledges and sincerely thanks the bands and callers who have donated their performance fees for the dances we had to cancel this season, and the dancers who donated their season’s pass refunds. Your support is much appreciated.