Elise Newcomer has been bitten by the contra bug – and now, she'd like to spread her passion for the dance form with her community.
This year's Miss Farmington has reached an agreement with American Legion Groves-Walker Post #346 in Farmington to hold monthly dances that will benefit local charities. Newcomer, a sophomore at Farmington High, explained that contra is a form of folk dancing.
"It's similar to square dancing," she said, "with a little more of a swing tinge to it."
Newcomer is also among the teens who swing dance on Thursday nights at the Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion, when the weather cooperates. She said she feels bad that adults who show up have to just sit there and watch. Contra is inter-generational, and anyone can have fun with it.
"You could be dancing with a 10-year-old, and then with someone who's 70," she said. She hit on the idea of holding the dances at the American Legion after discovering the club has a dance floor that's rarely used.
No partner is necessary, and for those who are new to the form, a beginner session is held half an hour before the start of each dance.
Newcomer said friends of her family who have been contra dancing since the 1970s invited her to a week-long event in Kentucky, "and I was bitten by the contra bug ... I think it's a really great event that the community can participate in," she said.
Dancers should bring clean, smooth-soled shoes for dancing – no street shoes. The dances will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (12:30 p.m. for beginners) on the following dates:
Sunday, Dec. 18
Sunday, Jan. 22
Sunday, Feb. 19
Sunday, Mar. 25
Sunday, April 22
Sunday, May 6
Sunday, June 3
Admission donation requested is $10 per person, and $5 per student, with all funds going to local charities including Sweet Dreamzzz, Joy Southfield Development Authority, and American Legion veterans.
For more information, contact Janet Newcomer at 248-478-5196.
Correction: The date for the first contra dance at the American Legion in Farmington is Dec. 18. The date was incorrectly reported in the original version of this story.