Dancing Queens: The Contra Dancer

Megan North Shuford, 28
Social worker, Knoxville, Tenn.
Dancing is something that Megan started doing as a teen with her friends—just a simple free-form style. Since then it’s been a high for her, a spiritual release, a way to blow off steam.


Megan North Shuford, 28
Social worker, Knoxville, Tenn.

Dancing is something that Megan started doing as a teen with her friends—just a simple free-form style. Since then its been a high for her, a spiritual release, a way to blow off steam. Last fall, she ventured into a new kind of dance: contra dancing. Sort of like square dancing minus the square, couples move up and down facing lines to a callers chant. “I love the energy and connection people can create together—and Ive met great friends,” Megan says. “Its opened me to couple dancing.”

She also is more relaxed and feels less of a need to always be in control. “Before, I didnt want some dude telling my body where to go. But now, Im learning how to follow.” Megan dances once a week, 3 hours at a time—and keeps up the footwork at both home and work, bounding up stairs and stepping in circles while she waits for her lunch to heat. The result: more energy, more confidence, and 7 pounds lost. Shes also started fiddling. “I want to understand how music and dance are put together, how it really works,” Megan says. “When Im dancing, I feel the absolute joy of being alive. I feel whole.”

Dorothy Foltz-Gray
Last Updated: July 08, 2008

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