Contra Dance with Northern Spy
Note: The Northern Spy dance ended with its 35th anniversary, on November 14, 2015. The information below is there for the historical record.
Since 1980, Northern Spy has been keeping New England dance traditions alive, spreading the joy of contra and square dancing across the generations.
Hosting a monthly contra dance in the Upper Connecticut River Valley on the NH/VT border, Spy dances attract crowds from students to senior citizens. Known for its energetic blend of diverse traditional instruments (fiddles, flute, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and piano), the band draws its repertoire from the richness of New England, French Canadian, Southern and Irish traditions and plays everything from classic "Chestnuts" to more recently composed tunes. Here's a video of the band's 31st anniversary party (November, 2011), with some 250 dancers crowding the hall.
The Northern Spy dance is the subject of a documentary video, "What's Not To Like? A Community Contra Dance." The band also has several tracks on a Smithsonian Folkways CD, "Choose Your Partners," an anthology of New Hampshire contra and square dance music. In addition to appearances at the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA), Spy has also been a featured performer on several occasions at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend.
Dances are second Saturdays, September through June, at Tracy Hall in Norwich, VT. (The hall is at the corner of Church and Main Streets in Norwich, to the left of the white-steepled Congregational Church.) No partner or experience required - everything you need to know will be taught! Bring a pair of shoes to change into, to avoid tracking grit or scuffing the dance floor. Dances begin at 8 PM, preceded by a short introductory session for newcomers.