Contra dancing wouldn’t seem to interest today’s teen-ager raised on booty-shakin’ rap music.

But at least 20 teens – some driving from as far as one hour away – showed up at the Y in Grove City on Saturday eager to do swings, promenades and do-si-dos.

And their waltzes were just fabulous.

It was my first time contra dancing. The style appeared similar to square dancing, but with music that sounded more like folk and less like a hoe-down.

An excellent group of musicians, called “Magic Feet,” came from the Akron-Youngstown-Cleveland area to help us get our footing.

And, as square dancing often attracts the elderly, contra dancing attracted everyone: children to elderly, 30-somethings to 50-somethings.

But it was the teens that really impressed me.

You would have thought it was the best party going on in Grove City. Much of the clothing was casual, but nearly all the girls wore skirts – so their rims would swirl with the swings.

And they were enthusiastic contra dancers, which involved moving to various floor patterns.

The patterns begin with two lines of people facing each other, and break into groups of four people doing rounds of movements that traveled in, out, up and down the lines.

As I pondered the evening, I could understand what appeal contra dance would have for adults. The flashy, club dancing world tends to lose its luster as you mature.

What I couldn’t understand was why contra dancing so appealed to the teenagers, when they could be thumping to something more modern.

Asking one 16-year-old boy, he just beamed from ear to ear: “It’s the fun. It’s just so much fun,” he said.

Its floor patterns ensure that everyone goes through a least one round of dancing with everyone else. No one is ever left out – unless someone sits out on the bleachers.

In that case, Ruth Anne Lachendro, who organizes the dance every month, is sure to encourage that person back to the dance floor and offers herself as a dance partner.

Contra dance may seem a bit “square” at first, and learning the floor patterns may feel daunting.

I mean, the group is counting on you to get it right – although they’re very helpful when you don’t.

And there’s a caller, too, who helps you through the dances and give you mini-lessons before to each set. Last Saturday’s caller was Kenny Wilson from Cleveland.

He taught the basic movements. He taught the floor patterns. Both are repeated a lot. And dancing with everyone over and over – while looking at them square in the eyeballs – forces you to relax, connect and contra dance.

It really is fun.

And it’s a no-pressure situation for teens.

Without fear of being turned down, they can meet, look eye-to-eye and dance all night, even if they don’t have the coolest do-si-do.

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