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September 12, 2013

Dancing is alive in Cooperstown

It’s that time of year, where some are digging out their dancing shoes.

The Otsego Dance Society began its fall season on Friday with a contra dance at the Presbyterian Church in Cooperstown. There were more than 50 people in attendance ranging in age from teenagers to retirees.

Jo Salo, one of the board members of the Otsego Dance Society, said she participates in contra dance for the enjoyment.

“It’s social. It’s fun. It’s great exercise. You just come here and forget your worries,” she said.

“Anyone can do it. It’s for young kids to 80-year-olds,” Salo continued.

Contra dance is a variation of old English dance, according to Salo.

“A lot of the moves are like square dance. It’s an English country dance, but it’s not so formal,” she said.

Barbara Duffy, the publicity person for the Otsego Dance Society said she does contradance because “it’s loads of fun.”

“I’m a widow and I can go because I can dance all night and I don’t need a partner,” she said.

Duffy said that everyone ends up dancing with everyone else in the line, so coming to the dance without a partner is perfectly fine.

Some of the moves for contra dance consist of the dosado and a figure-eight where everyone snakes across the floor in the shape of an eight.

Each contra dance sponsored by the Otsego Dance Society has a “caller” who calls out the moves and a live band.

“There’s all these great musicians and callers around and they all have their own specialties,” Salo said.

The callers control the flow of the night and introduce each dance move, according to Salo. In the beginning of the night, the dance moves are easier with more instruction given. Then, as the night progresses, the moves get a little more challenging, Salo said.

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