March 22, 2020
Dear contra dance friends,
This message is to let you know that the Ottawa Contra Dance committee has decided to cancel the rest of the current dance season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this extraordinary time, we think this is the right decision to make, based on the information that we have now and on reasonable projections for the next weeks and months. At some point, the restrictions on public gatherings and requirements to practice physical isolation will be removed, but this may have to be done gradually to avoid further outbreaks. While contra dancing is unlikely to be one of the earlier activities to resume, in the event that we might be in a position to put together a local dance in a few months, we will do so.
We are committed to holding a fundraising event once it becomes feasible. To our members who supported us financially at the beginning of the year, your membership money will go towards paying the bands and callers who were scheduled for the remainder of the season. To those with season's passes, we will be having a meeting next month to talk about whether refunds for the cancelled dances will be possible.
While some may think we have taken this decision too early, we want to remove uncertainty and release the performers so that they can look for any available work.
We are sad to make this decision but confident that Ottawa Contra dances will be back!
President, Old Sod Folk Music Society / Ottawa Contra Dance
On behalf of your volunteer Board
Come try contra dancing in Ottawa!
Dances feature fabulous live music and calling from the Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, the New England states, and beyond.
Whether you are in your 20s or in your 60s, travelling solo or bringing your partner/family - come out for a great evening of big smiles and community fun.
Beginners are super welcome
& dances are taught!
We have lots of visitors from out of town. If you need billeting, join our Facebook group and post your request in the group, ideally a couple weeks ahead of time. Usually our dancers can help visiting folks out if enough time is allowed.
Contra dancing doesn't require fancy footwork - all you need is to be able to walk forward and feel a beat. There's lots of room to grow as a dancer, naturally picking up flourishes and groove from other dancers.
If you're into traditional-groove style of Irish, Quebecois, or Appalachian music,
you would probably enjoy attending a dance to hear the wonderful live music! We
hire top bands!
From Michael (who started contra dancing in 2014):
"I was fine... really... I was. I was content with where things were at. THEN I came to this 'thing' called Contra Dance and it turned out to be really fun and all the people are really nice... and if that wasn't enough... the music is amazing. In fact, the music was so good I started want more from life... I wanted to learn to play. Specifically the small pipes. Every time the Old Sod band graces us with their playing I am mesmerized by their talent. Because of this, and I blame them all for this, I now own a chanter and have committed to learning the small pipes. This is all your fault and my dogs and my neighbors would like a word (lol)!"