“Even Dudley Laufman’s Canterbury Contra Dance Orchestra recorded with electric guitar in the 1970s! The most recent manifestation of our vibrant and evolving history is integrating electronic music into contra dancing, often referred to as ‘techno contra,’ ” writes Alex Krogh-Grabbe in a post on Country Dance and Song Society’s website.
“Other terms include ‘alternative music contra’ and ‘crossover contra,’ ” Krogh-Grabbe continues, though he prefers “crossover contra” as more accurately descriptive. Here are excerpts from Krogh-Grabbe’s post:
The movement quickly dubbed “techno contra” seems to have begun at the Whipperstompers Weekend in South Carolina in June 2008, a dance weekend organized by Able Allen [a young blacksmith from Brasstown] catering to young dancers. At the end of the weekend, after many attendees had already left, an impromptu dance was called by Taija Tevia-Clark to techno music from someone’s iPod. A brief video from the end of this dance was posted on YouTube, and has been viewed more than 5,000 times:
In attendance at the Whipperstompers techno contra were two dancers who went on to be influential in the early spread of crossover contra. Forrest Oliphant of [Brasstown,] North Carolina was inspired by the Whipperstompers video to create something similar, but with more planning. He got his opportunity at the inaugural Youth Dance Weekend (YDW) in late September 2008. He organized a techno contra after the scheduled dances were over, and shot two takes of two sets dancing to Adam Tensta’s “My Cool”.
Also in attendance at both Whipperstompers and YDW was Jordy Williams of Asheville, NC. Seeing the potential in the dances at those two weekends, Jordy was inspired to organize similar events of his own. He has put on invitational techno contras in Asheville every few months since the first one in June 2009. While most crossover contra dances up to that point had been in the traditional 10-15 minute per dance format, Jordy structured his differently, with techno tracks strung together in 90-minute medleys. At the second YDW, in September 2009, a late-night techno medley was coordinated by Jordy. He continues to organize periodic techno contra dances in Asheville, including the first fully public one on New Year’s Day, 2011.
Read Alex Krogh-Grabbe post here.