Welcome to the Friday Night Dance at Glen Echo Park for contras, squares, and fun!

About the Dance

Dance Schedule

Directions and Maps

Photo Gallery


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Dance Etiquette

Other Contra Dances and Camps

More on Contra, Its History, and the Park

Contra dancers in the Spanish Ballroom
Artwork by Richard Winston, 1999


About the Dance

The Friday night dances are brought to you by the Friday Night Dancers, Inc (a nonprofit, community-based organization) in cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, the National Park Service, and Montgomery County, MD. Dances are held every Friday evening from 8:30 to 11:30 in the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland. Admission is $9.

Contra dance is a type of folk dance for all ages and a social dance in the most literal sense. It is a great way to meet lots of new people and potentially many new friends. You do not need to bring a partner. Dance all evening to top quality live music in a smoke- and alcohol-free environment. The Spanish Ballroom is neither heated nor air-conditioned, so be prepared. Fans relieve the heat in summer. Dress casually and in layers. Soft-soled, low-heeled shoes are recommended. We also recommend that you bring a bottle of water with you. Music may be traditional or modern inspired by folk tunes. For examples of what Contra dance music sounds like, visit Robert Cox's contra podcast page.

Beginners are always welcome! There is a beginner's lesson every Friday from 7:30 pm - 8:15 pm which is included in the price of admission. Beginners learn faster and have a better time when they dance with experienced dancers, rather than other beginners. We encourage beginners to ask Dance Buddies to be their dance partner. Dance Buddies are experienced dancers who enjoy dancing with beginners and who volunteer to help beginners have a fun experience. They are identified by the name tag with a happy face sticker or a button that says “Dance Buddy.” Dancers who wish to be Dance Buddies should inquire at the admission desk.

There is always a Dance Manager on hand every Friday to answer questions and solve problems that arise during the evening. If you have a question or problem and need to speak with the manager on duty, ask the person at the admission table to locate the manager or another Board member.

Open Band

On the second Friday of each month, the "Fabulous Glen Echo Open Band" provides the music for the dance. Both amateur and professional musicians are welcome to sit in and are admitted free. One of our Open Band members, penny-whistler Jim Stahler, has compiled an 18-year list of tunes played by the Glen Echo Open Band and how many times they were played. Newer members are encouraged to download the shorter list of recently played tunes so they can practice the most frequently played tunes. Both lists are Word .doc files. Here is a podcast that offers the sets of songs along with the page info in some of the popular books such as the Portland Collection and Fiddlers Fakebook. For more information regarding the open band, check out the Open Band FAQ or send email to Jim Stahler: jstahler at earthlink dot net.

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The Friday Night Dancers are accepting applications for volunteers to help out at dance activities and with behind-the-scenes tasks. Applications are available at the desk by the door at every dance or send an email to FND at info at FridayNightDance.org. Also, if you have taken photographs at a recent dance and would like them to be posted on our website, please send us an email to coordinate this.

We need your help! Help expand the contra dance community in the Washington, DC area. Download, print and distribute the Friday Night Dancers (FND) contra dance flyer. The continued growth and success of the Friday Night Dance is dependent on the growth of our dance community. Post the flyer in your office, health club, local coffee shops, bookstore, school, grocery store, library, etc. Note: Many establishments have rules regarding the posting of materials. Please ask permission from management before posting.


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Subscribe to FNDWeekly. Now you can get weekly announcements about upcoming dances and other news for the Friday Night Dance Community sent to you automatically by email. Currently, there are over 500 subscribers to this list. More information/Subscribe

The Friday Night Dancers are: Harley Frazis (president), Jay Wells (treasurer), Jerry Stein, Lynette Fullerton (secretary), Rod Rowan, Michael Barraclough, Steve Kaufman, Jim Faruki, Mame Templeton, Jackie Hoglund, Dominique Dancourt and Victoria North.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the Friday Night Dance at Glen Echo or this web site, or any general questions about contra dancing,please send email to the FND Board at info at FridayNightDance.org.

In case of severe weather, if Glen Echo Park is closed then the dance is cancelled. Call the Glen Echo Park hotline at 301-320-2330 after 3pm for more information.

If you would like to play or call for a Friday Night Dance, send email to FND Booking at:


Last modified: Dec31, 2011

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