My husband and I went to the fourth annual Roanoke Railroader, a contra dance weekend in Salem, Virginia. There were fourteen two-hour dance sessions between Thursday night and Sunday afternoon, with a potluck, roller skating (and contra dancing on roller skates!), hiking, mountain biking, and laser tag mixed in between.
There were three or four bands, and a DJ spinning pop music. Where our local dance may have thirty people dancing in one line, the Railroader in Salem had two hundred people dancing in four or five. There was often a "chaos line", where the "lady" and "gent" are really "lead" and "follow". Who's dancing which role changes often and shenanigans ensue, leading to a great t-shirt slogan: "Dance with who's comin' at ya!"
It's a good motto because everyone makes mistakes while dancing. They take the wrong step, get off the rhythm--my husband spun someone from the wrong line!--and you just have to keep going. All of this amid a whirl of skirts filling the room with color, cheers from the dancers for good music, the stomp of two hundred feet, and sooooo much laughter.
When my feet needed a rest, I sat down and enjoyed the music, while learning a couple of new board games with new friends and old. The majority of people came from within a couple of hours north or south--between Philadelphia and Wilmington, NC--but there were some from Oregon, and one couple from Australia.
We have to wait until next year for the fifth Railroader, but my husband and I are already looking forward to it, and to the Winter Dream in Dayton this January!
Our Ragtime Staff