Helena Contra Dancers

Let's Dance!!

February 8, 2020!

Derek Gallagher, from Helena will be calling some livlely tunes. Derek has a DG_Biopassion for old-time music and dance, and began calling dances as a way to help preserve those traditions. Derek has called for dances throughout Montana and is an experienced teacher of contra and community style dances. He has participated in Montana's contra dance and folk communities for 14 years, and when not calling, you can most likely find him on the dance floor.

The Homegrown String Band, is comprised of Amy and Bill Letson from Billings and they will provide some foot stomping tunes to dance to. Amy Letson has long been interested in old-time fiddle music, but that interest has always had to take a back seat to her classical music vocation. She received a performance degree in viola from Indiana University, and then stayed in Bloomington, IN and witnessed the fantastic fiddling that was endemic in the area with the very active Bloomington Old Time Music and Dance Group. She learned enough tunes to play occasionally for the weekly contradance, and then put the fiddle away as Bill’s work took the family away from that hotbed of folk culture. In recent years, stints at Montana Fiddle Camp and jams at Bear Hug have been islands in the classical stream of Billings Symphony, Yellowstone Chamber Players, and String Orchestra of the Rockies. Finally, a weekly old-time jam session held at home has brought fiddling to the fore and has led to playing for the Billings and Bozeman dances, and most recently for an open-mic session at a local bar. Amy is a contradance organizer and caller, principal violist in the Billings Symphony, and avid knitter.

Bill Letson has been involved in traditional music and dance all his life, and has been playing old-time music on guitar and mandolin since he was in high school. When in Bloomington, IN, where Amy and Bill met, he sometimes played for the weekly dance. In recent years he has enjoyed being able to play occasionally for contra dances around the state of Montana, with Skippin' a Groove from Missoula, and as Homegrown String Band.; Since retiring a couple years ago, he has been happy to spend more time playing and learning more tunes.

Please note that emails about upcoming dances will be coming from a different email address:  Helena Contra Dancers.  So keep an eye for them.  Sandra Miken will be in charge of sending those out.

Dance Details

New dancer workshop starts at 7:30 pm.  The main dance will be from 8:00-10:30 as usual.   

2019-20 Dance ScheduleHelena Contra Dancers

The Helena Contra Dancers generally meets on the second Saturday of each month beginning in October going through April.  Dances begin at 7:30 pm with workshop for new dancers and dancing begins at 8 pm and continues until 10:30 pm.

Date Band Caller Notes
No Sept 2019 Dance scheduled      
No October 2019 Dance scheduled     TBD
No November  2019 Dance scheduled     TBD
December 14, 2019 Balled 'n Burlap Robyn Lauster, Bozeman Celebrate the Season!!
January 11, 2020 Helena Handbasket, helena Julia Kahl, Missoula No family dance
February 8, 2020 Homegrown String Band/Amy & Bill Letson, Billings Derek Gallagher Family dance followed by the main dance
March 14, 2020 WMD, Helena Amy Letson, Billings Let's Wear Green!
April 11, 2020 Skippin' A Grove, Missoula Bev Young, Missoula Family dance followed by the main dance
May 9, 2020   Roy Curet, Missoula TBD

We all enjoy treats during the breaks and between contras, so if you would like to bring something to share, that would be great.  Also to save on paper cups, please bring your own water bottle that you can fill up from the sink.  Please avoid wearing shoes with black rubber soles or hard soles (no  cowboy boots or hard soles please) that will leave scuff marks on the beautiful wooden floor at our new location. Also some people are sensitive to perfumes, so avoid or go light on wearing scented products.


The Helena Contra Dancers are dancing at a location with a wood floor and great acoustics this year.  We will be meeting at the Cottonwood School at 322 Fuller St.  Parking is located along Fuller Street, nearby bank parking lots and the school's parking lot behind the building. 


The price at the door per dance is $10 or $20 per family.  Family dances are $15 per family (includes at least one parent with 2 or more children); price does not include regular contra dance later that evening. Students (middle school through college w/ID are $7).

For more contra dance information contact Kathy Johnson at 459-7984 or lastchancesquares@gmail.com.

LinksContra Swing

Here are some links to other websites or videos about contra and folk dancing.


 Contra Dancers Contact Information

If you need information about the Helena Contra Dancers, please contract  Kathy Johnson at lastchancesquares@gmail.com or 406-459-7984.