Dandelion Romp Returns for a Weekend of Contra Fun

For the first time since 2019, students gathered by the hundreds in Hales Gymnasium for the Dandelion Romp, an event put on by the Oberlin Contra Dance Club consisting of live music, dancing, and socializing with both old friends and new acquaintances. Contra dance is a form of American folk dance in which couples dance in line with others, often to fiddle music. The Dandelion Romp was canceled for the past few years due to COVID-19, and the reestablishment of the Romp created quite a stir on campus.

According to College secondyear and Contra Dance Club member Bizzy Seay, organizing the event after a several-year absence was both exhilarating and challenging.

“Because it hasn’t happened in so long, there are very few people that are here that have actually experienced it, so it wasn’t something that had a group of people that were super excited about it and ready to make it happen,” Seay said.

Despite this difficulty, the Dandelion Romp was planned and executed successfully, providing a weekend of fun for students,  faculty and community members who came from outside the College specifically for the event. The reestablishment of the Romp brought those familiar with contra dance and complete newcomers together. One of these newcomers was College first-year Natalie Scott, who attended both the evening dance on Saturday and the midday dance on Sunday.

“Everyone was so social and positive, it was great,” Scott said. “[I even] promised a friend I’d seek out contra dances in my hometown over the summer so I can take them.”

The weekend’s event succeeded in engaging new people with the traditional dance style and the community it brings together, both at Oberlin and around the country.

College first-year Jakaranda Jacklin, who had attended other contra dance events over the past year, was drawn to the Romp due to past events organized by the club.

“I already came in with an idea of what contra dance was like, and that expectation was fulfilled and surpassed in the best way,” Jacklin said.

These positive reviews are just a sample of the experiences people had over the weekend, and many students, faculty, and community members from near and far are sure to have more good times at future iterations of the Dandelion Romp.