Ottawa Contra Dance

Kids and Families: Come dance with us!

Parents of teens, elementary school-aged kids, and wee ones ... Ottawa Contra Dance offers a range of super welcoming, safe, intergenerational, and fun dancing opportunities for your kids and you!

Our dances are described below but first: If you want to stay connected...

1. Subscribe to our mailing list:

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2. Join our community & family dance facebook group HERE!

3. Follow our community & family dance facebook page HERE!

Our contra dances:

Our contra dances are great for anyone around ages 12 and up, but we've seen kids as young as 7 or 8 catch on and join the fun. Compared to family dances, contra dances are faster paced and require dancers to follow the caller's instructions independently.

Some teenagers come on their own, although parents are definitely welcome! Ages 15 and under free. Students $10 (includes HST). Check out the rest of our website for information on our contra dance series.

For families with kids ages 0-12:

We have two series geared more specifically towards families. Both involve:

  • Parents/adults dancing with kids!
  • Fantastic LIVE celtic/quebecois music.
  • Dances that are easy, fun, and all taught by a caller.
  • Absolutely no experience necessary.
  • A BIG focus on fun!
  • Both are a great way to get your body moving to fantastic rhythms and feel community connections in ways we don't always get in our daily lives in a big city.


Our family dances are great for young families, especially those ages 0-7! Even babies can participate in carriers. Note that while we do have kids as old as 10yrs who attend these dances, it's mostly younger kids that come.

  • Dates: Dec 7 2019
  • Time: 3:30-5pm
  • Cost: $20 for a family (max 2 adults) OR $10 for anyone 16 yrs and above, $5 for 3-15 yrs old, free 0-2 yrs old. These prices include HST.
  • Potluck: There is an optional potluck right after each dance. These are fun, easy, and great way to mingle with other families. So bring a dish to share as well as plates, cups and cutlery to save on disposable plastic.


Our community dances are new. We've developed this series especially with families of school-aged children in mind. However, we anticipate that the community dances will be truly intergenerational with folks of all ages - a great community dance party! (Young children and babies are very welcome at these dances.)

  • Dates: Jan 18, Mar 21, May 16 - all in 2020
  • Time: 6:30-7:30pm
  • Cost: By donation, with a suggestion of $5
  • Potluck: There is an optional potluck starting at 5:30pm before each community dance. The potlucks are fun, easy, and a great way to mingle with other families. So bring a dish to share as well as plates, cups and cutlery to save on disposable plastic.
  • OPTION - stay and try contra for free! There is a contra dance after every community dance. Families are welcome to stay to participate in the contra beginner/intro lesson at 730pm. You are also welcome to stay for the first two dances of the contra dance. If you would like to stay beyond that please pay for the dance. We'll have a special comfy kids space set up if parents want to dance but their kids are tuckered out from the community dance. Note that you will need to provide appropriate supervision as Ottawa Contra does not provide supervision.
  • OPTION - join the 'all comers' band! The community dances will have an open band that ANYONE can join. We will have two experienced musicians leading the jigs/reels/marches. You and your kids are welcome to join the host musicians and play along. No practicing required, just bring your instruments! Note: We'll likely jam a bit during the potluck before the dance starts. A small set of tunes are posted here in case musicians want to learn the tunes ahead of time. Musicians get into the community dance for free.

Tips for coming out:

  1. Bring indoor shoes
  2. Bring a water bottle, AND...
  3. Everyone, be ready for a great time!


Location: In Westboro at the Churchill Recreation Centre - 345 Richmond Road, Ottawa. Enter through the main door on the side of the building.

Parking: There's a parking lot - come get a free parking pass from the front desk. If full, there is street parking just north of the hall.

Bus: #11 stops RIGHT outside the dance hall. IT's an 8min walk from Westboro Station.


We don't have any photos/videos of community dances yet as they are new this year. However, check out an article about our family dances in the The Kitchissippi Times-NewsWest HERE!! And check out a youtube video below of one of our family below.