The Bay Area Country Dance Society Website

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Regularly-Scheduled Dance Series

BACDS operates many regularly-scheduled dance series on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday afternoons. If you live in the greater San Francisco bay area, one of our regular dances is close to you. See the individual series page for start and end times, prices, and maps, or our directions page for an overall area map.

Online Virtual Events

While in-person events are canceled due to the Coronavirus, BACDS and our sister organizations are hosting many online “virtual” contra dances, English Country dances, concerts, and other events, using Zoom, FaceBook Live, and other online meeting resources.

Check our schedule for online events sponsored by BACDS and our sister organizations in Northern California. Also see the CDSS online schedule.

In-Person Events

We are slowly and carefully resuming some of our in-person events. Please check the Online Calendar and the BACDS COVID Dance Safety Guidelines for details.

In the meantime, here is information about those dances that have returned from the pandemic shutdown:

Contra and Square Dances

Contra dancing is a simple yet lively social dance form that originated in New England during Revolutionary times. All of our dances are accompanied by top-notch musicians performing music from Irish, English, and American folk traditions and led by dance callers with local and national followings. Contra dances can be found in the following bay area communities:

  • Berkeley on the first, third, and fifth Thursday evenings of each month.
  • Palo Alto Starting in 2024, Palo Alto Contra takes place mostly on second, fourth and fifth Saturdays, with occasional Mondays to make use of out of town talent.
  • Hayward broke off on its own during the pandemic and is no longer a BACDS dance. The link goes to their website; they're typically on 2nd and 4th Sunday afternoons.

A thirty-minute newcomer's welcome and intro class precedes each of our contra dances, although the welcome and intro may be cancelled if there aren't any newcomers at the scheduled start time, so if you want the lesson, be on time!

English Country Dances

If you've ever been to a Renaissance Pleasure Faire or seen one of the film or TV adaptations of Jane Austen's works, you've probably seen English country dance. English country dances are social dances that range from the elegant and graceful to the raucous and exuberant. We're proud to feature some of the nation's finest dance leaders and musicians at our dances. English country dances can be found in these communities:

  • The Peninsula (Palo Alto, previously San Jose, then Mountain View) on the first, third, and fifth Tuesday evenings of each month (with a break from late June through Labor Day). The dance runs from 7:30–9:30 pm.
  • Berkeley on the second and fourth Thursday and fourth Saturday evenings of each month.
  • Palo Alto on the first Friday of each month. Fifth Fridays (approximately 4 times a year) are Advanced ECD.
  • Palo Alto English Regency dance In a series coproduced with the Bay Area English Regency Society we focus on very accessible dances with some connection to Jane Austen's lifetime although sometimes go farther afield. Casual dress. Second Friday of the month (except August and December), doors 7:30, dance 7:45-10:00.
  • San Francisco on the second Saturday evening of the month from 7:00–10:00 pm.
  • San Jose on second Sunday afternoons of the month, September through June, 2:30–5:00.

With the exception of the fourth Saturday dance in Berkeley and the fifth Friday dance in Palo Alto (which are geared towards the experienced dancer), all of our English dances are appropriate for folks of all dance levels.

Other Community Dances

BACDS supports a variety of special community dances, including influences from English, Contra, Ceilidh, and related styles, as well as experimental sessions for developing or testing out new dance material.

  • The Los Altos "Woodshed" series on the second Monday of the month (except when rescheduled for conflicts) from 7:30–9:30pm, a "new material" workshop. All get in FREE!
  • We have hosted English Ceilidh dances in the past but currently have no volunteers to run them and therefore no active plans. We're open to proposals from prospective volunteers!

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