Swingin' Tern Dances


Swingin' Tern is permanently changing its start time from 8pm to 7:30pm starting with the April 6th dance.   The beginners' lesson will be at 7pm followed by the dance from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.
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LOCATION: The First Presbyterian Church Parish House, 14 Hanover Road, East Hanover, NJ, a smoke & alcohol free environment

ADMISSION: $12 per adult, $5 per student with Student ID.
NOTE NEW START TIME: Beginner's workshop at 7:00 PM. Dance follows, 7:30 PM - 10:30 PM (unless otherwise indicated). Please carry in clean, soft-soled shoes for dancing. Non-dancing children must be supervised at all times. Dance at your own risk.

INFORMATION: (973) 535-3274 or send email to E-mail

What, you may be asking, is Contra Dancing? Watch the video at right and see our About page for a video and an explanation.


October 19: Click here for more info
Melanie Axel-Lute
Jaybird: Jack Devereux – fiddle; Jody Kruskal – Anglo concertina; Jason Borisoff – guitar; Marty Confurious – bass

Melodious Melanie macaws high flying contras to make you screech owl night and leave you puffin. When the stool pigeon sings like a canary, Jaybird gets a bum raptor for robin and fowl play, so they use a crowbar to duck out of prison. After using your spoonbill to swallow some kiwi and magpie at the break, cormorant and raven from heron in or you’ll egret it. If you don’t budgie, you’ll be bittern. Dress lightly but don’t come naked as a Jaybird!

November 2: Alex Deis-LaubyCalled to Larks & Ravens
Cake Jam: Minda Cowen – fiddle; Matthew Christian – fiddle; Max Carmichael – guitar

Swingin’ Tern will be trying out different terms at the November 2nd dance. The caller Alex Deis-Lauby will be using the terms “Larks and Ravens” rather than “Gents and Ladies”. An increasing number of dancers have come to prefer that dances use role terms that don't indicate gender, to make it clearer that anyone can dance any role. Larks and Ravens have become the most popular non-gendered dance role terms for contra dancing. This is just a test flight to see if this terminology works for our crowd.

Why are you doing this? What’s wrong with Gents and Ladies?

There are some in the dance community that are not comfortable with gendered dance role terms and would prefer to go to a dance that doesn’t use them. For transgender and gender non-conforming dancers, gendered role terms can be exclusive or hurtful.

We feel that the new terminology makes it clearer that roles in contra are dance roles, not gender roles, and so it better encourages people to try dancing both roles and dance with people regardless of their gender. This also could make it easier to find partners when there is a gender imbalance.

Why the birds? Is there a reason?

The “Lark” starts the dance and ends swings on the Left, and the “Raven” starts the dance and ends the swing on the Right. Also, “Larks” and “Ravens” have the same syllables and accents as “Gents” and “Ladies,” to keep the calling patter the same.

This is just a test to see if Larks and Ravens are a good fit for the Terns. Same dances, same people, new syllables. Come out and give it a try on November 2nd!

November 16: Ridge Kennedy
Live Wire: Tom Krumm – fiddle; Ben Kennedy – keyboard; Bill Quern – mandolin, banjo, melodeon; Sarah Gowan – guitar, concertina
December 7: DOUBLE DANCE
Peter Stix
Dead Sea Squirrels: Cathy Mason – fiddle; Craig Edwards – fiddle, banjo, mando; Henry Yoshimura – guitar

4pm - 6pm Advanced Contras 7:30pm - Beginners’ Lesson 8 - 11pm - All-Level Evening Dance note later start time to allow for dinner break

December 21: Sue Gola
Wry Bred: Julie Sorcek – flute, saxophone; Mickey Koth – fiddle; Robert Messore – guitar
Tuesday, December 31: NEW YEAR'S EVE DANCE
Donna Hunt
Atlantic Crossing: Viveka Fox - fiddle, bodhran, djembe; Peter Macfarlane - fiddle, low whistles, mandolin, feet, vocals; Rick Klein - guitars, vocals