Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Life's Ultimate Passion

Contra dancing is the thing in life that I am most passionate about. I don't know if I have ever loved a thing so much. Last night Brandon and I drove up to Montpelier for their regular contra dance. The caller was Nils Fredlund (who is possibly one of the best callers ever and sometimes plays his trombone with the band) and the band was Atlantic Crossing (who played phenomenally). Apparently Atlantic Crossing got their name because one of the fiddle players lived in New England, and one of the fiddle players lived in England, so when they played together one of them had to cross the Atlantic. Then they got married, and he moved here, so the name is not quite so accurate anymore.

In comparison to the Norwich contra dances, the Montpelier dance is in a smaller hall and has more people show up. Also, I think the average age is much younger, and they are more lively and energetic and not as much about traditional New England folk dance, like Norwich can tend to be. Don't get me wrong, I love my local Norwich dance, but I just love the Montpelier dance in a different way. It is fun to see a lot of the same faces in both places too. And despite the fact that I have not been sleeping enough lately, my tiredness will never keep me from dancing every dance. Contra makes me feel alive to the point of keeping me awake for hours after the dance has ended. Perhaps it has something to do with the sense of community established in a contra dance.

Plus the other highlight of the Montpelier dance was seeing some of my old favorites who I hadn't yet run into since my return from the North. One is Miss Bailey, who is my 5 year old little contra buddy. At the break we sat on the floor and talked about Pirate Booty and this pirate movie she really likes. When we were sitting there chatting this other little girl came up and started chatting with us too. Her name was Maya and she is 9, but she will be turning 10 soon. We share the same birthday. Also her skirt was from Bangladesh, where her stepfather has built homes for poor children where they can get food, shelter, clothing, and education. He has built homes in Nepal and two other places also, and Maya has visited each of the places once, except for Bangladesh where she went twice. Also, she is home schooled, so missing school to travel to these places is not even an issue. Even the kids I meet at contra are some of the most fascinating people around.

Then I danced a dance with Bailey, which was a little challenging, but tons of fun. She has been contra dancing for longer than I have, so she knows what all the moves mean, but she just needs you to remind her what to do and when, and to make sure she is in the right place. The great thing about contra is that it just repeats, so by the end of it I would say, "it's your turn to do a star!" and she would come back and say "now its YOUR turn to do a star!" which was really cute. Plus most people get a kick out of dancing with her, so she inspires a lot of smiles. Unfortunately, I think some people thought she was my daughter because she usually only dances with her dad (who is one of the men who prefers dancing in a skirt). It was worth it though, because I just never see any kids these days, so it was good to get my kid-fix and my contra-fix all at the same time.

All-in-all it was a spectacular time, and I don't know why but I always manage to have way more fun than I ever thought was possible. Plus on the way home I learned about the musical highway which I think is amazing.


  1. This is awesome.

  2. The next time you are in Madison we should go to a Contra dance. It sounds like so much fun!