Balls - 1 day events

Playford Ball

BACDS's Playford Ball, started in 1980 by Brad Foster, is one of BACDS's earliest and most popular activities. While some communities have Playford Balls that limit themselves exclusively to dances that were published in John Playford and his descendents between 1650 and the late 1700s, ours covers dances written from 1650 to today. Starting in 2010, the Ball has been held at the historic San Jose Women's Club building. The Playford Ball takes place in late March or early April.

The Playford Ball, as well as the rehearsal dance the evening beforehand (starting in 2010, held at the Hill and Valley Club in Hayward) and additional practice dances in the east bay, Peninsula, and Sierra Foothills, are organized by a large committee that devotes a great deal of effort to making the Ball a splendid event. As a result, Ball attendees are treated to marvelous decorations, excellent food, and exquisite music. Very little dance instruction is required at the Ball, in large part because the Ball program and dance directions are distributed to west coast callers the November prior to the Ball.

Formal or festive attire is encouraged among ball attendees, with many attendees choosing to wear period costume (although hoops and panniers are discouraged due to space considerations) or outfits relating to the year's theme. Attendance has been between 100-150 for the past several years; sizable contingents from southern California and the Pacific northwest, as well as attendees from New York, Boston, and Alaska, have been in regular attendance.

Halloween Ball

Held on the last Saturday in October, the Halloween contra is a special edition of the Palo Alto contradance, with calling by Special Ghosts. Door and costume prizes add to the festivity; costumes display the amazing creativity of the dance community.

Potluck contributions are welcome to supplement the provided refreshments — your chance to show off!

Fall Ball

Started in 1995 as a less-formal complement to the Playford Ball, the Fall Ball is an English country dance ball with a workshop during the afternoon of the event. The program has usually had a theme, featuring (for example) a preponderance of dances by Pat Shaw, Gary Roodman, or bay area choreographers, or showing the influence of Playford in the New World.

Callers have included David Newitt, Alisa Dodson, Bob Fraley, Lise Dyckman, Jenny Beer, James Hutson, Jody McGeen, Bruce Hamilton, Sharon Green, Robin Hayden, Gary Roodman, Kalia Kliban, Brooke Friendly, Ric Goldman, Nicolas Broadbridge, Melissa Running, Scott Higgs. The event usually occurs on the third Saturday in November.

The 2016 Fall Ball is on November 19, with dance leader Gene Murrow and music by Persons of Quality (Jon Berger, Rebecca King, and Jim Oakden). Registration opens September 1, 2016.

No-Snow Ball

Some east coast communities have Snow Balls, festive contra balls and cotillions that take place in the midst of snowy winter. The No-Snow Ball, so-named because of the dearth of the white powder in coastal northern California, is a holiday contradance party (modeled after the Concord, MA, Christmas Cotillion) that takes place the first weekend in December.

The 29th Annual BACDS No Snow Ball will take place Sunday, December 6, 2015, 6-10pm. at a wonderful location—the Lake Merritt Dance Center, located at 200 Grand Ave in Oakland, CA (near the north end of Lake Merritt) (See map.)

This year we are very excited to have two fabulous bands: Maivish (Jaige Trudel and Adam Broome) from Quebec, and Tunestone (Edward Wallace, Christopher Jacoby, Josh Van Vliet) from Chicago.

Calling will be by Rachel Wallace and Jean Gorrindo.

New this year: Dancing in two ballrooms; Contra in the main hall and simultaneous waltzing across the hall in the break room.

There will be a scrumptious dessert feast!

Admission is $25 for members, $30 for non-members, $20 for full-time students (with student ID). Children age 5 and under are FREE with a paying adult.

Festive attire is admired (but not required).

Please bring a potluck contribution to share; "special diet" items are especially welcome!

A limited number of work exchange discounts are available for those willing to assist with decorations, food preparation, setup, cleanup, etc.; mail for information.

New Year's Eve at the Palo Alto Contra

Ring out the old year and waltz in the new with a special contra dance at a special time. THURSDAY night, December 31 2015, 8pm - 12:15 am, at First United Methodist Church, on Hamilton (between Webster and Byron) in Palo Alto, the regular hall for the Palo Alto Contra. Caller Lynn Ackerson presides over the festivities, while StringFire (Erik Ievins, Patti Cobb, James MacQueen) bring the sizzling contra tunes and sweet waltzes, with originals and chestnuts. Admission $20 general public, $16 for members, $10 for students (or what you can). Please bring a potluck contribution to supplement the provided refreshments

More information on our flyer, the Palo Alto Contra web page or our Facebook group

Happy New Year!