Contra Dancing

Contra Dancing

Regular CFS contra dance evenings in Corvallis have resumed their usual schedule on the first and third Saturdays of each month!

UPDATE: We will be dropping our COVID-19 requirements for masking and proof of vaccination for all regular Saturday dances until mid-October, with the possibility of reinstating them at any time in response to public health recommendations and other contra dance communities’ policies. We will reassess this temporary policy in mid-October before deciding upon a policy for the rest of fall and winter. An email address for COVID exposure notifications and waivers for CFS and Gatton Hall will continue to be required at this time, just once at the start of the 2023-24 dance season.

Though not currently required at regular Saturday dances, face masks and up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination are strongly encouraged. Thank you for helping to keep our dance community safely dancing!

Required reading

  • Please review the current Corvallis Contra Dance COVID-19 Policy, to be further updated soon. In order to attend a dance at this time, you must understand and agree to follow these practices.
  • All dancers will be required to review and sign the CFS Contra Dance Waiver of Liability and a waiver for the use of Gatton Hall Waiver, one time only, before their first Corvallis contra dance of the 2023-24 season.

The church no longer requires a waiver at each dance.

Please check the Calendar of Contra dances for individual dance details.

As we resume dancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, dance timing, admission cost, and other details may vary from the information below. Please check event descriptions for the most up-to-date information.

  • Our dances always have a caller and live music, usually a band with 3 or more members who play a lively mix of instruments that might include fiddle, guitar, mandolin, piano, banjo, (bag) pipes, or a variety of other instruments from around the world.
  • We begin with a “newcomer’s session” of dance instruction at 7:00 pm.
  • Dances will typically use genderless role calls; Larks and Robins is common for the format of contra dances, but positional calling may also be instructed at the dance and will depend on the caller.
  • The “main” dance is from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm with an intermission.
  • Beginners are always welcome, even if you don’t make it to the instruction session.
  • We draw dancers from every age and ability from teens to retirees; from “first dance ever” to “been a dancer for decades.”
  • Each dance set starts with a “walk through” to teach the dance sequence and moves, and the dance is called during the dance. Each set lasts about 15 minutes including the walk-through.
  • The price is now a sliding scale of $12 to $20 at the door. CFS members get a $2 discount, as do people who arrive by bike or foot. People 18 and under get in free. College students with ID are half-price, $6. There are occasional special dances with visiting special and nationwide bands at different prices.
  • We suggest that dancers wear “cool, comfortable, casual clothes.” “Swirly” skirts are common, as are shorts, kilts, and dresses (contra is aerobic!). Many people bring extra changes of clothes in order to manage the aerobic “experience.”
  • We suggest flat shoes with clean soft non-marking soles. Tennis or gym shoes are usually fine. Jazz-style dance shoes are recommended.
  • Please refrain from wearing fragrances, perfumes, and colognes. Some of our dancers have chemical sensitivities.

Occasionally, a CFS member will host a potluck before the evening dance. Currently, no potlucks are planned. Often, several dancers will get together at a local bar or restaurant after the dance to talk and wind down (often 3rd St. McMenamins outdoors, if they’re open).

For more information contact Shell Stowell: at and/or Contras @

Here is the fall/winter 2023/2024 dance line-up thus far 

(all dates may be subject to changes and such for a variety of reasons. )

9/16/23 Coriolis with Shell Stowell

10/2/23 Countercurrent with Michael Karcher

10/7/23 The Overtones with Rich Goss

11/4/23 Penk, Pinney, Lindsay with Laurel Thomas

11/18/23 Loose Flagstone with Kelsey Hartman

12/2/23 Cucunandy with Gordy Euler

12/16/23 Countercurrent with TBD


1/6/24 Rhubarb Runaround with Eric Curl

1/20/24 Joyride with Kelly Tabor

2/3/24 Bandwidth with Karen Olsen

3/2/24 Northwest Stomp with Shell Stowell

3/16/24 Loose Flagstone with William Watson

4/6/24 The Hat Band with Rich Goss

4/20/24 The Overtones with caller TBA

5/4/24 The Euphemists with Laurel Thomas

5/18/24 The Stage Crew with caller TBA

6/1/24 Pringle Creek Band with Koren Wake

6/15/24 Cucunandy with Isaac Banner

 Corvallis Contradance Weekend

Each Presidents day weekend, we host the Corvallis Contradance Weekend, a full weekend of contra dance, music, and community.

Pacific Northwest Contra Dance Callers and Bands

Information for Callers and Bands

Corvallis Dance Locations:

FCC Gatton Hall (First Congregational Church)
4515 West Hills Road, Corvallis, Oregon

FUMC Community Center (First United Methodist Church)
1166 NW Jackson Avenue. We use the community center, on the southwest corner of 11th and Jackson. It has a parking lot.

Oregon State University Memorial Union 2501 NW Jefferson Way


Other dance/Music Events

Salem Folklore’s Westwind Weekend, May 4-6, 2018 at Camp Westwind near Lincoln City, OR.

Where else can I dance?