About

The Lawrence Barn Dance Association (LBDA) hosts regular contra dances featuring live music and lively dancing on the 3rd Saturday of each month, all year round. September is the one exception due to the Walnut Valley Music Festival, which many of our community (and most musicians) attend. Always check our calendar for exact event details.

Dances

Our dances are social, fun, and beginner friendly! You don’t need to bring a partner.

All dances are taught and prompted, and feature live music. The evening begins with easier dances. Contra dancing is fun and vigorous. Wear comfortable clothes. No black heels and no powder allowed on the floor.

Most LBDA dances are held at Community Building, 11th & Vermont, one block west of Massachusetts Street at the south end of downtown Lawrence, KS. Adult admission: Pay what you can in the range $8 to $15, to help support our dances. Students: $4. Children under 16: $2. We accept payment by cash or check.

Typically, an evening will look like this:
7:00pm Beginners’ lesson 
7:30pm Dance begins with easier dances
8:45ish Break
8:55ish Dance resumes with somewhat more challenging dances
10:00pm Dance ends

In May and October we host a potluck and dance at a barn in rural Douglas County. The suggested donation for this special venue is $10.

Each November we host our Pilgrims Progression Dance Weekend in place of our regular monthly dance. Pilgrims Progression includes a weekend of nightly dances, workshops, and concerts as well as a Sunday brunch.

History

Contra dance is a rediscovered form of folk dance deriving from 17th century English country dancing in which partnered couples arrange themselves in two facing lines, then exchange and return partners according to a called pattern. It is easier than many dance styles current today in that there are no steps to learn or cues to know in advance.

In Lawrence, contra dance began among friends living in and around Hashinger Hall at the University of Kansas. These dances continue in the local community today, more than thirty years later, through the efforts of the Lawrence Barn Dance Association.

In 2015 Lawrence proudly hosted the Country Dance & Song Society Centennial Tour. Chosen as one of only six stops on the CDSS tour, the Lawrence Barn Dance Association hosted a week of workshops, dances, parties, and more! Read more about the event here.

Non-profit

The Lawrence Barn Dance Association is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization and an affiliate of the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS).