On Friday, March 18th, the Parrish Art Museum is presenting another evening of traditional American contra dance (AKA barn dance).
“The atmosphere [at contra dances] encourages community and welcomes new dancers, be they youngster or seniors,” said professional caller Chart Guthrie, who will lead the experience. He suggests that even if you come with someone special, you show off your contra skills by mixing it up. “I encourage people to dance with different partners throughout the evening, including both beginner and experienced dancers, in all of the dances,” Guthrie added.
The celebration will feature sounds by East End Bluegrass group, Dunegrass, and for those unfamiliar with contra dance, this is the perfect time to learn, as attendees will be introduced to the steps and have the chance to practice before the full participatory dance begins. The folk dance is similar to a square dance, but instead of a square formation, it is danced in lines of couples.
For over 30 years, Guthrie has been “calling” steps at contra dances, which are derived from Anglo, Irish, and Scottish traditions. The festivities always attract dancers of all ages and all skill levels. As the musicians start up, Guthrie will guide attendees through steps that may include do-si-do, allemande right, circle left, and promenade. Parrish encourages dancers of all levels to come move their feet to the beats.
This marks the museum’s second evening of contra dance and is a follow-up to last summer’s successful happening on the Museum’s Mildred C. Brinn Terrace. The inaugural occasion was held during the Sounds of Summer series, as part of a commemoration to Southampton Town’s 375th anniversary.
The program will take place in the Museum’s Lichtenstein Theater from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is $10, but free for members, children, and students.
Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call 631-283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.