This page tries to keep track of all contra dances in Iowa including dance camps and weekends along with other events in Iowa which include contra dancing. Because most of the information is gathered from web sites and the listings are not updated as frequently as the web sites, dancers should visit the web sites for up-to-date information. If you are aware of any dances, dance series or other events that should be included on this list, please e-mail me.
As of August 1, 2020, the dance listings should be fairly up to date including whether dances are canceled. Some dances series have not posted new information about dance cancellations since April or even March but if a dance series has not indicated that a dance is canceled, I strongly recommend that you contact the dance organizers to confirm that the dance is happening. For those series that have posted that dances are canceled for the "foreseeable future" or the equivalent, I've put a cancelation notice for dances up to and including August 31, 2020. In mid-August, I'll follow up for the September dates. You'll notice that, in many cases, information about evening/afternoon dances is getting "thin". Many dance groups post dates a few months ahead and dances have been canceled for much of the last three months. Organizations are not posting new dates until they confirm that they will start holding dances so you may not see the usual dates for dance series because they have not been posted, even with cancelations.
Conversations and cancelations are happening every day in connection with dances as part of regular series and also weekends, festivals, etc. I'll try to keep current as much as possible, but please check the individual web sites, Facebook groups/pages, e-mail lists, etc. for the most up-to-date information about a dance or other event that you may want to attend.
Ames - Central Iowa: The Central Iowa Barn Dance Association sponsors dances on the 4th Saturday of the month at the Collegiate-Wesley Annex, 130 S Sheldon, Ames from 7:30pm to 10:30 PM. Admission is $7 / $5 student. Info: (515) 292-5587. You don't need to bring a partner or wear a special costume - just wear comfortable clothes. If it's your first time, we'll make you feel welcome. No lessons necessary! Dances are walked through and called. No street shoes on the dance floor. Please bring a pair of clean, smooth-soled shoes to change into. Socks or bare feet are OK too. Web site: http://www.cibd.org.
Ames - Prairie Moon Winery: Stop out for a dancing lesson and don't forget your boots! We're having an old-fashioned hoedown $4 admission (21+). 3pm to 6pm. Web site: http://www.prairiemoonwinery.com.
Ames (Des Moines): The Des Moines dance holds dances at the Collegiate-Wesley Annex, 130 S Sheldon, Ames. Music for dancing with a refresher/lesson starts about 7, Calling dances starts at 7:30. Experienced dancers arrive in time for welcoming new friends. Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/desmoinescontradance/.
Ames - ADMCDF: The Ames-Des Moines Contra Dance Friends sponsor dances at the Collegiate-Wesley Annex, 130 S Sheldon, Ames from January through June and September to December. Lesson 7pm. Waltz workshop 7:15 (sometimes). Dancing 7:30pm. Donation: $5-$8/dancer, $20-$30/group up to 6 max. Please give what you can for dance expenses. Contras, circles, squares, and waltzes with lively music and calling. Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/desmoinescontradance/home or https://www.facebook.com/Ames-Des-Moines-Contra-Dance-Friends-198569640201183/.
Ames - Onion Creek Cloggers Community Potluck and Barn Dance: Location: Collegiate Wesley Annex, 130 S. Sheldon Ave, Ames. Potluck at 6pm, dance 7pm-10pm. All ages are welcome. Partners are provided. Experience is optional. The band is open. Play off mic if you like. Donations appreciated for hall rental. For info call Von and Mary, 515-280-5827; or Nancy and Merlin, 515-232-3319. Hope we see you there. Web site: https://www.facebook.com/Ames-Des-Moines-Contra-Dance-Friends-198569640201183/.
Davenport: Folk Dance with Live Dance Music at the Baxter Fellowship Hall at Edwards Church, 3420 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport from 7pm to 10pm. Singles, couples, families, . . . ALL ARE WELCOME! No need to know how to dance! Any Monetary Good Will Donation for admission accepted. Web site: None.
Decorah: Dances at the The Lingonberry, 218 W. Water Street, Decorah, IA. Dancing from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Admission $7. Kids 12 and under free. Info: (563) 419-5396. Web site: https://www.facebook.com/DecorahContra/.
Decorah - Family Dance: Family dances at the Congregational Church on 209 W. Broadway, Decorah. Dance is from 2pm to 3:30pm. Admission is $5, with a maximum of $10 per family. Info: Kate Narveson (563) 382-3898; Erik Sessions (563) 387-0837. Web site: None.
Decorah - Marty's Cafe: Luther College Wellness will host a Family Dance with live music and an experienced dance leader from 2:30-4 p.m. in Marty's Café, in Centennial Union at Luther College, Decorah, IA. The dance is open to the public with no charge for admission. No experience is necessary. Beginners are welcome! Questions? contact Rachel Sandhorst, firstname.lastname@example.org - Web site: None.
Decorah - Water Street Music Series: Event at the Trout Head Trailhead at the west end of Main Street at 7:00pm. Dance lesson at 6:30pm. Donations welcome. Bring your own chair and enjoy. Web site: http://www.wsmsdecorah.org.
Des Moines: Dances at the South Gate Masonic Lodge, 1111 Randolph Street, Des Moines, IA. 2nd Saturday of the month, 7-10pm. Potluck supper at 6pm usually precedes a dance. Admission is $5-$10 (give what you can); 12 and under free. Long time dancers show new dancers the moves. Enjoy easier dances early and more challenging dances later. Partners and experience provided. Indoor shoes, breathable clothes, and refillable water bottle recommended. Bring snacks for sharing. Info: Reid Miller, 608-852-4524, email@example.com - Web site: http://contra-indications.org/.
Des Moines - Dance at the Lake: It doesn't matter if you've got two left feet or can shake your groove thing with the best of them, the new summer social dance series at Gray's Lake Park called "Dancing at the Lake" has a little something for everyone. Every Thursday night during the summer, come out and learn to dance social dances like salsa, swing, line dancing or contra dancing. Lessons start on the Overlook Terrace at 7:30 and the dancing begins at 8:00. Each week (June – August ) will feature a different kind of dancing and music. Web site: http://www.dmgov.org/Departments/Parks/Pages/DancingAtTheLake.aspx.
Des Moines - National Square Dance Convention: Annual Convention with a little contra dancing. Register in advance for a discount. There may or may not be a separate contra dance track with live music and special registration. Web site: http://www.nsdcnec.com/.
Des Moines - Java Joe's: Old-Time Music and Dance Jam Workshop from 2:00 to 4:00 pm Java Joe's 4th Street Theatre, 214 4th Street, Des Moines. Admission $7, musicians and audience. For further information, please contact Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo at 515.689.1434 or firstname.lastname@example.org - Web site: None.
Des Moines - New Year's Eve: Make Plans Now To Escape the Cold and Dance In The New Year! Location: St Lukes Episcopal Church, 3424 Forest Ave, Des Moines (3 blocks from Drake U) from 7pm to 10pm. $10 donation (or what you can afford); Come and Enjoy! Web site: https://www.facebook.com/Des-Moines-Contra-Dance-Connection-198569640201183/.
Des Moines - St. Lukes: Dances at St Lukes Episcopal Church, 3424 Forest Ave, Des Moines, IA. Suggested donation $8-adults, $5-students. 7:30pm to 10:30pm. FREE instruction. Brief walk-through before each dance (if needed). Partner optional. Snacks and beverages to share, and indoor shoes to protect the floor, requested. Please refrain from using fragrances and alcohol (til after the dance....lol). Ample parking behind the church. Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/desmoinescontradance/home.
Des Moines - Onstage: The Ames-Des Moines Contra Dance Friends sponsor dances on 3rd Saturdays from January to June and September through December at Des Moines Onstage, starting at 7:30pm. Lesson 7pm. Waltz workshop (sometimes) 7:15pm. Contras, circles, squares, and waltzes. Experience optional. Partners provided. Snacks welcome. $8 ($5-students). Warm up the new year with old and new friends. Comfy clothes and shoes, and water bottle recommended. Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/desmoinescontradance/home or https://www.facebook.com/Ames-Des-Moines-Contra-Dance-Friends-198569640201183/.
Des Moines - World Food and Music Festival: A contra dance on Saturday is one of the activities at this weekend festival. See site for details. Web site: https://www.dsmpartnership.com/worldfoodandmusicfestival/ or https://www.facebook.com/events/389556558242122/.
Fairfield: The Fairfield Folk Arts and Dance Co-Op hosts Community Contra Dances at Fellowship of the Holy Spirit, 51 N Court Street (with caller and usually with live music) usually 1st Saturday following 1st Friday of the month, 8-11 pm -- check website for dates and featured bands. ≤12years.old free; ≥13years-old: $5 minimum donation, and more if you'd like to support contra dance in Fairfield, beginners' lesson at 7:30 pm. All dances taught and called. No partner or experience necessary. Singles, couples, families, veterans and newcomers welcome. Questions? Call Jack at (641) 469-5243 or email Fairfolk3 "at" SomaStream "dot" net \ Web site: http://www.Fairfolk.org.
Fairfield - Morning Star: Everyone is invited to a special contra dance at the Morning Star Studio Ballroom in Fairfield Iowa, at 51 South Court. Please tell your friends. Beginner Lesson/Brush Up 7 pm, dancing starts at 7:30 pm! All are welcome; no partner or experience necessary. There is no fancy footwork to dancing. If you can walk you can dance contra dance! Lively tunes get you on your feet -- and inspired calling gets you twirling and smiling. It's great fun! Admission: To keep up with rising costs (and to make sure our musicians get paid!) entry per person is $10 for everyone. Feel free to bring yummy snacks to share. Experienced dancers: Please be sure to dance with beginners, especially for the first few dances. Please bring a pair of soft soled shoes to dance in, to protect the beautiful wood floor of the ballroom. Questions: Contact April at email@example.com, 641/472-8072. Web site: http://fairfolk.org/.
Fairfield - Morningstar Studio - New Year's Eve: Family dance from 7:30pm to 8:30pm; $15 per family; sliding scale, individuals pay what you can. Contra dancing from 8:30pm to midnight, $10. Music and other dancing happening in other parts of the Studio. Web site: http://fairfolk.org/.
Fairfield - English Country Dance Weekend: Event in early November at the The Morning Star Studio, 51 1/2 S. Court St. Fairfield, Iowa. Register in advance. Space is limited. Web site: http://fairfolk.org/.
Grinnell: Dance at the Grinnell Area Arts Council, 926 Broad St, Grinnell, Iowa 50112 from 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM CST. Web site: https://www.facebook.com/events/1659829000982316/.
Highlandville: Dances at the The Highlandville Schoolhouse. We recommend you keep in mind the fact that there is no running water at the schoolhouse, and that the restroom facilities consist of outhouses. There is a working refrigerator (ancient) at the schoolhouse for keeping beverages cool. Admission to all Highlandville Dances (held at the old two-room schoolhouse in Highlandville, north of Decorah from 8-11 p.m.) is $5.00 for adults, children 12 and under free. Web site: http://www.footnotesdance.com/page4.html.
Highlandville (2)Contra Dance at 8:00pm at the Highlandville School. Never taken part in this American folk tradition? Not a problem - all are welcome! No partner or experience is necessary - we teach basic steps at 7:30, with dancing to begin at 8:00. Cost: $7, children 12 and under free. Questions or directions? contact Erik Sessions, 387-0837 or (firstname.lastname@example.org). Web site: None.
Iowa City: The Ralston Creek Country Dancers hold dances from 7:30-10:30 pm at "The Center," 28 South Linn Street (corner of Linn and Washington), normally on the 4th Saturday of the month. Fee: sliding scale $5-15; pay what you can at the door. Beginners' lesson at 7:30. 8:00-10:30 PM dance contra, squares, circles, and waltzes. All dances taught and called. No partner necessary. Singles, couples, families, veterans and newcomers welcome. Web site: http://www.icgov.org/default/?id=1215.
Johnston - Contra Dance: Dances at Saint Paul Presbyterian Church, 1229, 6426 Merle Hay Rd, Johnston, IA 50131. Contras, squares and waltzes. Come and enjoy lively music. Event is from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Experience optional. Partners provided. Snacks welcome. Please Share and Invite Friends. Donation: $5-$10/dancer, babies and toddlers free, $20-$30/family max. Please give what you can for dance expenses. Thanks for your generosity. FREE PARKING. Comfy clothes and shoes, and water bottle recommended. This is everyone's dance. Come and share the fun. For more info contact: (608) 852-4524, email@example.com, Ames-Des Moines Contra Dance on Facebook. Hope we see you dancing. Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/desmoinescontradance/.
Johnston - Family Dance: Family dances at Saint Paul Presbyterian Church, 1229, 6426 Merle Hay Rd, Johnston, IA 50131. Contras, squares and waltzes. 5:30pm-7pm. Potluck after the family dance and before the regular evening contra dance. FREE PARKING. Comfy clothes and shoes, and water bottle recommended. This is everyone's dance. Come and share the fun. For more info contact: (608) 852-4524, firstname.lastname@example.org, Ames-Des Moines Contra Dance on Facebook. Hope we see you dancing. Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/desmoinescontradance/.
Nevada: Dance location: The community building (it's gray and looks like an old barn because it is) on the Story County Fairground, south end of W. 1st Street, Nevada, Iowa. Guest callers and musicians (open band) welcome. Note: Great wooden floor. Potluck 6pm, dance 7-10pm. All ages welcome. No need to bring a partner or to have dance experience. No admission fee; donations will be accepted to pay for the hall. Good food, music, dancing…what could be better? Information: email@example.com - Web site: http://www.gunderfriend.com/oc/about-oc.htm.
Newton: Dance at the Jasper County Community Center, 2401 First Ave East, Newton, IA from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM.. Keep the Old-Fashioned Community Barn Dance Groove Going! Dance Squares, Circles, and Contras! Awesome live music. Family friendly event. Everyone welcome. Experienced dancers quicken the learning curve by showing new dancers how the figures go. All dances are taught. No partner or experience are needed. Bring re-fillable water bottle. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Admission: $5-$10* ~ Babies and Toddlers Free. Family Maximum: $20-$30 * please pay what you can so we can cover hall rental and show our appreciation for the live music and calling. No alcohol. Info: 641-275-1204, or firstname.lastname@example.org - Web site: https://www.facebook.com/events/1722319051385781/.
Newton - Sugar Groves Vineyards: Barn dance with contras at the Sugar Groves Vineyards and Gathering Place, 6602 Ginger Ave, Newton, IA 50208. Newton Barn Dance. Donation: $5-$10/dancer, babies & toddlers free, family max. $20-$30. Please give what you can for dance expenses. 7pm to 10pm. Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/desmoinescontradance/.
Newton - Woodland Park: Barn dance from 7:00-10:00 p.m. at Woodland Park (100 block of North 19th Avenue East in Newton). Old-Time Squares, Circles, Contras, Reels. Admission $5-$10 * ~ Babies and Toddlers Free. Family Maximum $20-$30. Please pay what you can so we can pay our rent and still show our appreciation to our caller and musicians. Family-friendly event. Everyone welcome. Bring friends. All dances taught. No experience or partner required. Acoustic musicians welcome to join the band off-mic. No alcohol. Please refrain from wearing fragrances. Information: (641) 792-3682 or (641) 275-1204 or email@example.com - Web site: None.
Oskaloosa: Dances at the Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum, 2211 Nelson Lane, Oskaloosa, Iowa, 641-672-2989. Families are welcome. No experience is necessary and a partner is not needed. Dances will be taught. Dance is from 7pm to 9pm and includes squares, rounds and contras. Free admission, donations welcome. Web site: http://www.nelsonpioneer.org/.
Pella: Dances at the Pella Memorial Building, 829 Broad St, Pella, IA. Schedule: 7pm-10pm. Lesson, 7pm. Dances, 730-10pm. Fun circles, squares, reels and contras for everyone. Experience optional. Partners provided. All dances taught. Donation: $5-$10/dancer, babies and toddlers free, $20-$30/family max. Please give what you can for dance expenses. Thanks for your generosity. Please share this with and invite friends, and come and bring friends. Snacks for sharing welcome. For more info: Micah Garrison, 641-895-9130, firstname.lastname@example.org - Web site: https://www.facebook.com/Ames-Des-Moines-Contra-Dance-Friends-198569640201183/.
Urbandale - Living History Farms: Dance at the Church of the Land for an old fashioned holiday social with dancing and music by the Barn Owl Band from 6-8 pm as part of a "Flynn Family Christmas" (entire event is at two locations and goes from 4pm to 6pm). Tickets $6 ($5 for LHF members). Web site: http://www.lhf.org.
Waukon - Thunder in the Park: A dance is part of the Civil War Reenactment weekend. Period dress not required. Web site: http://www.cityofwaukon.com.
This page is part of the Contrdancelinks.com web site. For more information about contra dancing, visit these other site pages:
*The Colorado link will bring you to Dancing on the Web. The Maine link will bring you to the Downeast Friends of the Folk Arts. The New Mexico link will bring you to the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. The Utah link will bring you to Utah Contradance Information. These fine organizations and individuals already have complete listings for these states and there is no reason for me to duplicate their efforts.
**As far as I know, there are no regular dances or events in Mississippi, South Dakota or Wyoming, but I have created pages if something changes in the future.