No gender? No problem! This folk dance class was made with the LGBTQ+ community in mind.
Once a month, fans of the American folk dance, Contra, gather at Queer Contra Chicago to do-si-do with any gender partner they please. Instead of traditional male and female roles, dancers take to the floor as “Larks,” (dancers on the left) or “Robins,” (dancers on the right). The result is a hands-clapping, gender-neutral, good ole fashion time.
Contra is a centuries-old New England style folk dance set to live fiddle music. It’s kind of like the English country dancing you see in Jane Austen movies but with a rowdy twist. Dancers follow instructions called out by the appropriately named caller and move around the room, dancing with multiple people at a time. It’s a fun way to get some exercise and socialize with like-minded folks.
Queer Contra grew out of a need in the folk dancing community for gender inclusivity on the dance floor. For people in the LGBTQ+ community, not having to take a “gentleman” or “lady” role allows for same-sex partners and transgender/nonbinary people to enjoy contra without fear of judgment.
For those new to contra dancing, Queer Contra holds lessons at 6:30 p.m. in the Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, 30 mins before the big dance starts. It’s an easy dance to learn, especially since the moves are demonstrated and called out before each song. Even if you have two left feet, Queer Contra is a friendly place for people to learn and meet new people.
Queer Contra Chicago meets once a month on the top floor of the Second Unitarian Church of Chicago. Exact dates are posted on the dance group’s Facebook page. Admission is a suggested donation of $10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Time: Lesson at 6:30 p.m. Dance at 7 p.m.
Where: Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, 656 W Barry Ave, Chicago
Street parking available. (Sorry, there’s nowhere to tie up your horse)
Feature photo courtesy of Queer Contra Chicago.