The quiet town of Nelson New Hampshire reportedly possesses a Guinness World Record
for the longest-running public contra-dance. A similar, but possibly not always record-breaking event, is held in Nelson New Hampshire’s town hall each Monday night. A word of caution: the only place where I’ve found this so-called world record is on Wikipedia.
The Official Guinness World Records web site does not show any mention of Nelson New Hampshire’s reported world record, and instead shows that the “Largest Country Line Dance” was a total of 12,168 people took part in a line dance at the Happy Valley Recreation Ground, Hong Kong on 29 December 2002, dancing to ‘Baby likes to Rock it’ for 7 min 40 sec. The attempt was organized by The Community Chest of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Dance Federation, the Home Affairs Department, Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Television Broadcasts Limited.
Those of you who are “contradance-challenged,” may want to know exactly what a contradance is. Answer: a contra dance (sometimes called a folk dance) is a traditional New England social dance where couples are arranged in long paired lines, running the length of the hall. Music is most often supplied by a live band, however in a rarer instances prepared electronic music is used. Every contradance has a “caller,” a person designated to call, cue or prompt the type of dance “figures” that will be performed. This type of dancing was all the rage in the 1800s in New Hampshire. In some locations, such as Nelson NH, the dancing never stopped. This type of dancing usually gives each person a chance to meet, and dance with, each of the other dancers before the end of the evening.
If you are interested in contra dance, New Hampshire is the perfect place to live (since there are frequent dances).
–Choose Your Partners! Contra and Square Dance Music of New Hampshire-