Heritage

The Famous Brasstown Forward and Back

creepy guy

Normally I only have to see this creepy guy one day a week-but lately it seems I’m seeing him more often. While Chatter and Chitter are still loving the The Hyder Mountain Stomp,  they’ve fallen in love with the famous Brasstown Forward and Back. Better known as Contra Dancing.

Contra Dancing is a community affair-with dancers of all ages. The music is live and there’s a caller who calls out the dance steps. They go through the steps before each dance starts so even beginners can catch on pretty fast-as beginners-we’ve found it’s much easier if you have an experienced partner.

Contra dancing is kinda like square dancing as in you have partners and do figures. You form long parallel lines with your partner across from you. Then 2 couples form a set together and switch partners while doing the figure called out and then the couple moves on down the line to another couple and so on. I think the constant change in partners makes it exciting, fast paced, and fun.

Contra dancing is derived from The English Country style of dancing which came over with the first English colonists. During the 1800’s Contra dancing was very popular but soon fell out of fashion, surviving mostly in New England and Appalachia.

Chatter and Chitter have had no problem catching on to the concept of Contra Dancing. For me-it’s a little different. Near the end of each dance I think I’ve almost got it-then the dance ends-and it’s time to start a brand new dance.

My biggest problem is getting dizzy when my partner swings me. More than one person shared the secret to prevent dizziness with me- You have to look into your partners eyes each time they swing you. I’m a shy person by nature and find it very difficult to look into someone’s eyes I’ve never met before! When I sit on the sidelines and watch the dancers, I think the girls look so graceful while they’re gazing into their parters eyes and simultaneously spinning-but once it’s me that’s required to do the gazing-I just can’t seem to manage it.

J.D., a great contra dancer and musician, summed it up best for me. He said “if you look into my eyes it really will help with the dizziness. You might feel aggrieved but you won’t feel dizzy.”

Have you ever been Contra Dancing?

Tipper

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 16, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Never done Contra dancing, but it sure looks like fun.
    I like making eye contact, it really is the window to the soul and I happen to know that you have a beautiful soul!!!

  • Reply
    brit
    August 14, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    It’s so fun how these kids show us up..isn’t it. My guys are just so outgoing.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    August 14, 2008 at 1:59 am

    Nope! But I did square dance in elementary school – why do they make kids do that stuff anyway!?

  • Reply
    Mary
    August 13, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Tipper,
    I square danced a lot in my youth but have never been contra dancing. It sounds like a lot of fun.
    I wish that I could still dance but had to give it up after my accident because my hip and back just wouldn’t keep up with the rest of me. LOL
    Take care. I’ve enjoyed visiting with you, as always.
    Blessings,
    Mary

  • Reply
    twosquaremeals
    August 13, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I used to go contra dancing every month in college. It was at this little rambling barn in the foothills in SC. There were college students, mountain folk, hippies from Asheville, and some professors. It was apparently the best contra dance in the area, according to the folks who traveled around to dances. I had so much fun on those nights! Such a great mix of people all enjoying old-fashioned fun.

  • Reply
    Egghead
    August 13, 2008 at 1:36 am

    I have never heard of Contra Dancing but it sounds like a lot of fun.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    August 12, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    That guy would give me nightmares!
    You get involved with such fun unique activities!

  • Reply
    GaFarmWoman Pam
    August 12, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Hey Tipper. That looks like so much fun. I haven’t ever went Contra Dancing but I sure would like to. I wonder how much gas and time will take to get me up there to the next one? lol…
    Have a good day!
    Pam

  • Reply
    trisha too
    August 12, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    that sounds like so much fun!!

  • Reply
    dana
    August 12, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I’ve never been but it sure looks fun!

  • Reply
    Applie
    August 12, 2008 at 11:50 am

    That sounds like a fun dance. I couldn’t gaze into someone else’s eyes either. I remember my grandmother taking me to square dances, but I was never any good at it. LOL

  • Reply
    Applie
    August 12, 2008 at 11:48 am

    That looks like a lot of fun. I would have trouble gazing into someone else’s eyes. LOL I remember my grandmother taking me to square dances. I was never any good at it. LOL

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    August 12, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Awesome! How great that you have this community place where folks can gather for good old time fun!! Really, what a blessing!
    I loved JD’s comment –“You may be aggrieved, but at least you won’t be dizzy.” what a hoot!
    Looks like some of those guys worked up quite a sweat, I hope there was good ventilation in the place. 😉
    On your post below, I couldn’t get comments to open, but I loved your photography/art work, and I like “I’m so lonesome I could cry.” That photo of the girls in boots is excellent.

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    August 12, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Morning Tipper! Contra dancing sounds like much fun! And what a great way for the neighbors to enjoy each other, or for the young ones to meet their peers! I’m wondering if contra is available around here? Would make a great night out! Petra p.s. Understand the feeling when you think you’ve got it down, and still scratching one’s head!

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson
    August 12, 2008 at 9:34 am

    This post inspires me to give dancing a try! I love it. I remember the patterns of Irish dancing, which I loved because it was everybody together. It’s a wonderful thing.

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paula
    August 12, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Dancing is a spectator sport for me… I have two very large left feet.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    August 12, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Tipper: Never even heard of contra dancing, but the girls look like they are having a fun time.

  • Reply
    MizFit
    August 12, 2008 at 7:32 am

    So interesting
    And SO love that I always learn something new at BP& the A!

  • Reply
    Stefani
    August 12, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Oh my goodness! That looks like the best kind of fun!

  • Reply
    Cowboys, Kids, and Sunsets
    August 11, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    BTW that rubber band guy is SCARY!! eek!

  • Reply
    Cowboys, Kids, and Sunsets
    August 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    How fun! We have no real entertainment around here! Movie theater,that’s about it! We went to a couple places while I was in Texas that played live music, it was great! I wish we had fun things to do around here.
    I know what you mean about “twirling” My fella can half time like no other! Me? I do ok as long as I have at least one drink in me (with acholol!) It help relax me! You should try it! he! he! Don’t drink so many you end up ON the bar though!! LOL!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    August 11, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    A friend of mine used to go contra dancing all the time but I never had the nerve. It always sounded like a great time though!

  • Reply
    nicole
    August 11, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    i’ve never heard of this before , it sounds like a blast! and that dude is so creepy!! i’d close my eyes going past him! LOL

  • Reply
    Debbie
    August 11, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    I’ve square danced, not very well, but have never heard of Contra dancing…I’ll have to check it out!

  • Reply
    Marlene
    August 11, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    I’ve never been contra dancing but it sure looks fun! If it’s being done around here I don’t know about it. Blessings, marlene

  • Reply
    Christina
    August 11, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Wow! I’ve never even heard of Contra dancing! I suppose it doesn’t help that I come from the desert where the only dancing you do is in a club or along the hot sidewalk when you go out to get mail!

  • Reply
    Dejoni
    August 11, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    I have never heard of this. Is this common in your area? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this in Kentucky.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    August 11, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Been square dancing, even learned it in gym at school. Ours was mostly “Swing your partner, dosy-do. Then promenade.” We didn’t get into too much fancy footwork, or Miss Stumblefoot here would end up in a heap with everyone falling over her. 🙂
    Chitter and Chatter must have had a ball there. Keep at it, Tipper, as long as you don’t have two left feet like me it’ll get easier. I promise. xxoo

  • Reply
    Jan
    August 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    That looks like so much fun! Never heard of it, probably couldn’t do it but I would love to give it a try.

  • Reply
    noble pig
    August 11, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    How fun that you have somewhere to do all that dancing. I bet the girls just love. You all live such a beautiful life there!

  • Reply
    Beckynsc
    August 11, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Never been to a Contra Dance. Sounds like a lot of fun. It’s a good self-confidence builder. I used to dance a lot in my younger days.

  • Reply
    City Mouse
    August 11, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Indeed I have been to a Contra Dance! We have them
    here and there and at the Grange Halls up in rural Northern NY State! (And we also see an English Country dance or two each season for the more sedate, LOL) Those are usually held outside.

  • Reply
    The Texican
    August 11, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    No, but it sounds like fun. Pappy

  • Reply
    Louise
    August 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I’ve never done Contra Dancing, but in a local parade once there was a group of Contra Dancers. I loved it. Every year I hope they return, but they never have.
    I would be the same about the eyes! I’m dizzy thinking about it!

  • Reply
    renae du jour
    August 11, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    I’d never heard of contra dancing and it sounds fun– to watch. Maybe after watching for a long, long time I’d try it out. I’ve never done well in those line dances– I’m usually the one turned the wrong direction.

  • Reply
    Carletta
    August 11, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    I never have Tipper; but you make it sound like fun!

  • Reply
    Mark Salinas
    August 11, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Very cool…that guy was kinda creepy! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve not heard of Contra dancing but am going to check out the link you provided. You are too shy to look into your partner’s eyes … I doubt I’d have even gotten to the dance floor! :oD

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