UM, Missoula Folklore Societies to Host Town and Gown Dance

October 05, 2017

Community members participate in a past Town and Gown Contra dance. MISSOULA – The University of Montana Folklore Society will host its annual Town and Gown Dance from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, in the University Center Ballroom. An optional beginners’ workshop starts at 7:30 p.m. 

The event is free, but donations are accepted. The event features Irish and Appalachian fiddle music from the Idaho-based band Out of the Wood.

The Town and Gown Dance features Contra dance, which is an Americanized European country dance. Two long lines of people dance a series of simple figures and continually move along the lines until each person has danced with everyone else. Organizers said the dance figures are easy to learn and are called out during the dance. Mark Matthews will call the Town and Gown Dance.

“If you can walk and smile at the same time, you can Contra dance,” said Vicki Watson, UM Folklore Society adviser.

To watch an example of the type of dancing featured at this event, go to

For more information call Watson at 406-243-5153, email or visit

Contact: Vicki Watson, UM Folklore Society adviser, 406-243-5153,