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From the community center’s tall windows, light and live fiddle spill into a cool night. People fill the hall in long lines, spinning in each other’s arms. Contradancing is friendly by nature. It’s a folk dance tradition that has lived and evolved in New England for more than 300 years, and in Lenox for more than a generation.

The crowd here come in all ages, and so do the musicians — you may find young mandolinist and electric fiddler who met at a Maine fiddle camp (and swap in on didgeridoo) or veteran string players and an accordionist known and loved all through maritime Canada.

Fiddle bridge. Fiddle bridge. Courtesy photo by Sam Whited

The Lenox dance has evolved from community gatherings with a local house band into a regional monthly gala — on Third Saturdays year-round — with bands from across the country and sometimes beyond.

Along with live musicians, each dance has a live caller or teacher too. They guide dancers and teach the dances, and people change partners freely after each dance. So you don’t need to come with a partner or experience, though you’re welcome to bring both.