Contra is a form of American folk dance made up of long lines of couples. Throughout each dance, couples progress up and down these lines, dancing with every other couple in the line. After each dance, everyone finds a new partner, then new lines of couples form for the next dance.
The dance is led by a caller, who teaches the series of steps called “figures” in the dance before the music starts – each dance includes 6–12 figures which are repeated as couples progress up and down the lines. Almost all contra dances are danced to live music. Contra music includes influences from Irish, Scottish, old-time, bluegrass and French-Canadian folk tunes.