Bristol Contra Dance is a communal-style folk dance very similar to a Ceilidh. No partner or experience is necessary. A caller leads the dancers through a series of moves. All calling is gender free.

Beginners and experienced dancers are welcome at any time. We have a beginners workshop at the start and the community is welcoming and happy to help.

Upcoming Events

During these weird times we have moved online with the aim of showcasing the Artists.

Online events

Spring Programme TBC Jan-jun

The dates can also be found via google calendar and on Facebook.

Past events can be found here.


Contra dance does not lend itself particually well to social distancing. To limit the risk Bristol Contra ask everyone to:
– Take a Lateral Flow test on the day of the contra, whether vaccinated or not.
– Not to attend whilst having any symptoms.
– Be mindful of others’ choices to wear masks or swing at a distance.
– Bring a coat to allow the doors to be open throughout the event as ventilation.
– Bring your own interval drinks and snacks. You can fill up your own glass or mug with water (Hot or Cold), but we won’t be using any of the communal mugs.

Whilst we will not be checking tests or checking people in, we urge people to look after the community in any way they can by following the above.

Although the above does not entirely eliminate the risk, it will do quite a lot to reduce the chance of a positive case. We will still be here in the future if the time isn’t quite right for you as an individual to return to dancing yet.


Faithspace, Redcliffe Methodist Church, Bristol, BS1 6PB

There is plenty of parking around the back and within walking distance from Bristol Temple Meads.


Suggested prices:

  • £15 – Supporters Ticket
  • £10 – Adult
  • £6 – Student
  • Free – under 16’s

Bristol Contra is committed to not having the cost of a dance be a hindrance to anyone attending. However, we also need to be able to cover costs. To do this we have introducing a pricing system aimed at providing a fairer fee for the Callers and Bands and keeping Bristol Contra afloat for the future.

The supporters ticket is a better representation of what the contra costs to put on each month but is entirely voluntary. It is aimed at those who feel they can contribute slightly more and will help to provide a fairer fee for the Band and Caller each month. Anyone is welcome to pay as much or as little as they feel they can on a month by month basis. We would love to see your smiling faces each and every dance.


Typical timings for all our events are as follows:

  • 7.15 – Doors Open
  • 7.30-8.00 – Workshop: Introduction and technique.
  • 8.00-11.00 – Dance with interval around 9pm.

New to Contra?

Newcomers to contra dancing are very welcome and wanted. Dancing is done with a partner in company with many other couples to form longways sets. However, there is no need to come with a partner as you can always find people to dance with on the night.

This can be a bit scary due to the fear of mucking it up for the other dancers. It’s OK, every dancer in the room was once new to Contra as well and will understand. There is a lot of repetition with the dance with each time through lasting about 30 seconds, you go through the dance many times though, so you will have plenty of time to pick it up.

All dances are walked through beforehand and the caller will prompt you during the dance as well.

If you are new and a bit nervous, feel free to let an organiser know. They may inform the caller so the caller can keep an eye out for you. It is also best to get up near the band end if you can, this makes it easier for the caller.

A quick note on roles: Bristol Contra uses Gender free calling, usually in the form of Larks and Ravens. You are welcome to dance which ever role you feel like and change which role you are dancing with in the evening if you want to.

Code of Conduct

Everyone coming to Bristol Contra should be safe enough to express themselves and enjoy their evening. There are a few guidelines that we ask all dancers to follow. More details can be found here.

Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you, if you have any questions, ponderings, suggestions, comments or obscure facts about tea, drop us a message via Facebook, email at or below.

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Through these weird times, there are obvious gaps in the income for artists. Any donations will be split between the performers at the virtual events.

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