Welcome What is Contra Dance? Our Schedule Special Events Jan Jam More Info on UCD Email List Useful Files More Info on Contra Dance

Welcome to the Urbana Country Dancers

Welcome to the web site for the Urbana Country Dancers (UCD). The UCD is a community of people in Champaign-Urbana and east central Illinois who support and promote the history, artistry and enjoyment of contra dancing. The Urbana Country Dancers host dance events mostly on the first and third Fridays of each month and occasionally on Saturdays. Our primary dance venue is the Phillips Recreation Center, (217-367-1544), located at 505 West Stoughton Street (off Springfield Avenue) in Urbana, Illinois. We also hold some special dances during the course of the year. One that we have been doing each year for a long time is our annual January Jam.

What is Contra Dance?

Contra dance is a traditional American dance. It is similar to square dance, is derived from English Country dance and has been done in this country since the 1700's. The phrase can also refer to an evening of traditional dancing which can include square, circle and couple dances as well as contra dances. We contra dance to live fiddle and string band music with featured callers in an atmosphere friendly to singles, couples, groups, and families. All dances are taught (walked-through) prior to dancing. We ask dancers to wear clean, soft soled shoes to protect the lovely sprung-wood dance floor. Comfortable clothes are also recommended. Dances are generally from 8 to 11 P.M., though we occasionally offer pre-dance workshops. Admission for most dances is on a sliding scale from $5 to $10, pay what you feel is right. A higher fee may be charged for special events.

Our Current Schedule

Special Notice

Special Notice
We are holding monthly dances. Many of the dances will be held in an alternate location. Be sure to check the schedule in order to go to the correct location. We will try to keep the web site up-to-date on this, but if you have any doubts contact

We generally hold dances on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month. There are occasional exceptions to this rule with dances on other Fridays or Saturdays. The specific dates may depend on the scheduling of holidays and other events. All dances start at 8 P.M. and go to 11 P.M. unless otherwise noted. Most dances are held at the Phillips Recreation Center, 505 W.Stoughton, Urbana. Admission for most dances is on a sliding scale from $5 to $10, pay what you feel is right. A higher fee may be charged for special events.

Special Events

Directions to the dances

Weather and Road Conditions

Further Information on the Urbana Country Dancers

UCD History

UCD Bylaws (PDF - 50 KB)

Contact the UCD
Please communicate to us your ideas and suggestions to make our organization and dances better for you.

The Urbana Country Dancers have dedicated the book entitled Midwest Folklore and Other Dances to Orace E. Johnson in appreciation of his many contributions to the contra dance community in Central Illinois. This book is a collection of 112 contras, squares and other dances arranged by composer (with cute titles such as Dean's Delight, Merle's Magic, Shake, Rattle and Stroll etc.) and indexed by difficulty, title and type. The dances were compiled and edited by our very own prolific contra dance writer Michael Fuerst. Copies may be purchased by sending $15 per book plus $3 for shipping to:

Orace E. Johnson Memorial Trust
C/O Laura Sleade
1601 West Park
Champaign, Illinois 61821
United States of America

UCD Email List

We have a Groups.io email list for announcing upcoming events and discussing aspects of contra dance and our local group. Visit the group web site or subscribe below. Contact ucd-list-owner@urbana-contra.org if you have any trouble with the list or if you wish to be invited to join the list.

If you wish to get only announcements of upcoming dances and related events set your Email Delivery mode to Special Notices Only.

Urbana Country Dancers on Facebook


Join us on our Facebook group

Links to more information on contra dance

If you want to learn more about contra dancing, visit our list of links to more contra dance information. We have links to pages where you can find resources about contra dance history, information about dances held in communities all over the United States, dates and details for special dance weekends and camps, and links to other Web pages devoted to contra dance.

You might also want to check out the Usenet group rec.folk-dancing to follow discussions about contra and other traditional dance forms.

We also invite you to join the Central Illinois English Country Dancers for another type of dance event. English Country Dancing was the precursor of contra and square dancing and was popular in England and America in the 1600's, 1700's and early 1800's. If you've seen any of the recent Jane Austen movies you've seen this form of dance. It's similar enough to contra dance to be familiar, but different enough to be interesting.

Send any inquiries or suggestions to

The Urbana Country Dancers is affiliated with the Urbana Park District and the

CDSS logo
Country Dance and Song Society

The Urbana Country Dancers' web pages are maintained by webmaster@urbana-contra.org, last update October 18, 2023