I am Bob Peterson and I call contra dances. I am based in New England in Billerica, Massachusetts. I’ve been calling full evening programs since 2016, and many guest and hour slots since before that. I’ve been a contra dancer since 1999, and a modern square dancer (not a caller) since 2002.

To book me for your club use one of the contact methods in the sidebar. References on request. (I am not take requests for weddings, parties, or grade school gigs.)

Bob is a contra dance caller from Billerica, MA, in the northwest Boston suburbs. He’s eager to get everyone on the floor, moving to easy, interesting figures in dances accessible for new dancers, yet entertaining for the more experienced.  He’s been an active contra dancer since 1999 and dance community organizer since 2011. You can book him via

Larks and Ravens (or Robins): Younger crowds, safer dances

Do you think your dancers are ready for an evening of dancing with the role names Larks and Ravens? Here are some considerations for choosing this pair of terms which are growing popular:

  • Younger dancers are drawn to dances that advertise these non-traditional terms.
  • The environment seems safer when any gender can dance either role. Safe from harassment, safe from manhandling, and generally more welcoming. The terms can set the tone of equality.
  • Of course everyone may dance only in the role they feel comfortable with. No one needs to switch roles. All dance with the person coming at them, and that’s become much more commonly expected.
  • There will be more participation and fewer dancers sitting out for want of a partner. 
  • Advertise it as a one-time experiment and see how people (dis)like it.
  • Larks and Robins is a new alternative, that sounds a bit better to many ears.

Please note this is only my suggestion. I am as pleased to call using Ladies and Gents. 

Note that I cannot use the term gypsy, and will use right/left shoulder around, or a reasonable substitute of your choice, if requested in advance. If you have other language requests, please make them in your initial contact.

Contra DJ and caller: Lively alternative music, not live music

Do you think your dancers are ready for an evening of lively, modern music, expertly mixed into contra-dancable format? Youve heard of ”alternative music”, "techno contras", "iPod dances", and so forth. My DJ difference is that I have a repertoire of happy, high energy, familiar, unusual, and sometimes funny music. I cover several genres and decades of music: Bollywood, 80s pop, classic rock, alternative, techno, musicals, and show tunes! Im always adding something new to my sets.

Generally this requires a floor with a good number of experienced dancers since the music does tend to be a little harder. That said, the choreography  is simpler for such an evening and even first time dancers will be bopping to DJ Mad Robert”. No feet stuck the the ground here!

I am BMI/ASCAP licensed to perform recorded music.

Schedule 2020

Past gigs and references:



…plus LCFD dance camps alternative-music contra sessions.


  • 21 January 2018: Sunday Night Jammers (Rehoboth, MA) — half session
  • 23 January 2018: MIT Contra Dance (Cambridge, MA)
  • 17 March 2018: Alchemy Farm Contra Dance (Falmouth, MA)
  • 24 March 2018: Boston Gender Free Contra Dance (Boston, MA)
  • 13-15 April 2018: Queer Contra Dance Camp (Aptos, CA) — provided contra mixes/techno session
  • 4-6 May 2018: LCFD Dance Camp (Woodstock, CT) — contra mixes/techno session
  • 12 June 2018: MIT Contra Dance (Cambridge, MA)
  • 26 June 2018: MIT Contra Dance (Cambridge, MA)
  • 14 July 2018: Cotuit Contra Dance (Freedom Hall, Cotuit, MA)
  • 5 October 2018: Marianne Taylor Legacy Contra Dance (Deerfield, NH)
  • 19-21 October 2018: LCFD Dance Camp (Becket, MA) — Techno sessions
  • 3 November 2018Rainbow Contra Dance (Montague, MA)
  • 6 December 2018: Concord Scout House (Concord, MA) — multi-caller program


  • April 8: Rainbow Contra Dance (Montague, MA)
  • August 26: Wareham Contra (Onset, MA)
  • October 20-22: LCFD Dance Camp (Becket, MA) — contra mixes/techno session
  • December 2: Rainbow Contra Dance (Montague, MA)


  • April 30: Rainbow Contra Dance (Montague, MA)
  • October 14-16: LCFD Dance Camp (Becket, MA) — contra mixes/techno session
  • November 19: Rainbow Contra Dance (Montague, MA)
  • December 31: Boston Gender Free Contra Dance (Boston, MA) — contra mixes/techno session