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North Berkshire Community Dance

Contra and square dancing is a living New England tradition, as casual as dancing barefoot in the kitchen on a summer night. Have you ever held someone’s hands and spun — faster — faster — until you fell into the grass, laughing? Contradance can feel like that. You don’t need a partner or experience, though you’re welcome to bring both.

The Berkshires has had a local dance scene for generations … square dancing at summer fairs, contradances in college halls and students playing music in their dorms on warm nights. Now the North Berkshire Community Dance has formed to bring that tradition up to the top of the county.

Live bands always play for these dances. Musicians hand on the tradition by ear, and new bands are constantly forming, writing their own music and improvising. Callers teach the dances, and you’ll often wind up dancing with every other dancer in the room.

North Berkshire Community Dance holds a monthly dance on second Saturdays at the Williamstown Community Preschool (the former Methodist Church on the corner of Route 2 and Route 43.)

Fiddler Annika Amstutz (left) and caller Quena Crain (right) enlivened the North Berkshire community dance on Sept. 14.
Annika Amstutz and Quena Crain

Contradancing in the Berkshires

Contradancing is alive and well across the country, and here in New England we're at the heart of it. In the Berkshires, Sheffield has had an active contradance band (Mountain Laurel) for decades and holds a monthly dance at Dewey Hall. And monthly dances in Lenox, and Chatham, N.Y., fill the halls to overflowing.