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Change in Dance Weekends

October 20th, 2017
weekends, contra  [html]

I've been hearing people saying there are fewer contra dance weekends than there were, with several long-time weekends recently coming to the end of their run. I've been tracking dance weekends for the past few years, so I thought I'd just look at what I'd seen there.

There are a few problems with just comparing the list of dance weekends one year with the list the next:

  • It's hard to tell the difference between incomplete data and a real change: did this weekend start in 2016, or is that just the first year I had heard about it?
  • Events sometimes change their names, and if you don't account for this you'll think there's more year-to-year change than their really is. [1]
  • Events sometimes skip a year, often due to organizational issues. [2]

So, making good use of the Wayback Machine, here's what I see:

(I'm probably missing some, so let me know if you have information I don't!)

There are ~135 of these events in total, and this is six seven ending and five four starting over the course of ~4 years. This doesn't seem like a large change to me?

Update 2017-10-20: removed ContraCopia, which I erroneously had as starting in 2015.

Update 2017-10-29: added BACDS Spring Fever. At this point I see seven stopping and four starting, which does look less like a steady state.

Update 2018-02-12: added that Danceable Feast has ended with 2017. It's not clear from their website, but Lindsey Dono forwarded me an email from their organizers that does clarify that this is the end. Also added Dancing Fool (2x) ending with 2017, and Supersonic starting in 2018. That makes ten stopping and five starting.


[1] It can be hard to tell when these are name changes vs the same dance community ending one weekend and starting a new one in its place. For example, I'm pretty sure Gypsy Moon Ball → Hoosier Partner for 2017 is just a name change, while Butterfly Whirl and Catapult trading off is two very different sorts of dance weekends. I think Cville Fall Festival → Dancing Leaves (2017) and Kimmswick → Meet Me in St Louis (2016) may have been about location changes? Summer CDH isn't the same as the shorter events it replaced (ContraBlossom: Appalachian Spring / Cool Mountain Contra / Mountain Color Contra / etc) but I think they filled a similar role?

[2] In the data I have I saw Mad Robin Romp skipping 2015 and Spring Thaw skipping 2016.

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