The Third Occasional Bad Contra Choreography Contest

It has been 23 years since the last bad contra contest, and in that time we have seen the rise of a number of new figures, a new generation of choreographers experimenting in unique ways with existing figures, emphasis on smooth flow dancing, dance and music crossovers, mandatory partner swings (in the US) and a new level of comfort with gender-fluid dancing.

Yet, one thing remains constant: it is still pretty easy to inadvertently (or purposely) write a clunker. A dance can have a smooth flow, progress properly, provide an interesting sequence of figures, and still leave dancers unsatisfied, dizzy, confused, or worse. Through it all, the dance community generally manages to laugh it off and move on to new and better things. It is in that spirit of amusement that we offer this contest.


  1. Only one entry per choreographer. Anonymous entries are not acceptable. If multiple entries are submitted, we will use the latest one submitted before the deadline.
  2. Submitted dances must be a 64 count, two couple minor set, progressing contra dance (improper, indecent, Becket, etc.), with a partner swing at some point.
  3. Dance instructions must be clear, concise, unambiguous, and easy to read, with no abbreviations or acronyms.
  4. Judging will be based on elegance, creativity, and badness.
  5. The goal is to present a modern contra dance that appears to have to been written with the intent to be a great dance, but turned out terrible.



Submissions due on March 17, 2018 by midnight (EST).

Send your submissions to Submissions directly to the judges will be disqualified.

Please read and follow rule 3 carefully. In particular, watch out for terminology that is not universally understood.

Some other notes and instructions for prospective contenders to consider: Best of luck to all contestants!

Greg Frock