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  • Benjamin Stein

    Benjamin Stein Oct. 3, 2001, 2:48 p.m. (Message 27693)

    Re: Contra dancing

    Patricia Ruggiero wrote:
    > Adam wrote:
    > "Contra dance is Eastern US longways set dancing.  The word Contra is a
    > corruption of Country."
    > There are two theories about the word.  One is as you suggest, and comes
    > from the French who liked "country" dancing so much that they adopted it and
    > called it by its cognate "contre"danse.  The other theory, seeming to be
    > fading from favor, is that it refers to lines opposite, or contra, one
    > another.
    > Pat
    The version of this that I read someplace (the History of Dance?) was that Mr.
    Isaac (English court Dance Master and the one for whom the dance Mr. Isaac's
    Maggot was named) went to France to teach the French Court "Country Dances".
    Since they were mostly in opposing lines (Longways for as many as will) and thus
    "opposite lines" they misunderstood his pronounciation and thought he was saying
    Contre rather than Country and thus started giving them the name of
    ContreDanse. This of course became Kontra in Germany and Contra here is the US.
    Ben Stein

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