Healthy Dancing

Considerate community practice is always “Please don’t come to a dance if you’re sick.” and "If you feel ill in any way, please come back another day."

Update 6/9/21: Eight organizers met virtually 6/8 to review the survey results and plan our next steps. 69 respondents provided considerable useful input through June 2. We feel there are currently not enough dancers to support a dance; there may be enough folks to support a dance later this summer if COVID vaccinations are required. Whether to require COVID vaccinations and how a COVID vaccine requirement would be effected are still to be determined. Further input on this topic is welcome either on the public listserv (if you're on that list) or, more privately, to

We've canceled our Gates reservations through July 13 and will reevaluate the circumstances early in July.

Meanwhile, Marilee volunteered to host an outdoor picnic/social event on the 3rd Saturday, June 19 at 5 pm. For details and more info, email

Updated 5/21/2021: While we're still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, local conditions are improving enough that we can consider how and when to restart contra dancing. The earliest possible date is June 22, 2021 as Gates of Heaven, our usual Tuesday dance venue, is under repair until (at least) June 18.

Background and Update, if you need to inform your Restart Survey responses: [note: survey closed 6/2]

COVID-19 is a respiratory (and other systems) illness that spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small airborne particles that contain the SARS-Cov-2 virus. These droplets and small suspended particles can be breathed if you’re close to an infected person, having these small droplets land on the eyes, nose and mouth or by touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands that have the virus on them. Those infected have had a wide range of symptoms reported from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

The 5/13/21 CDC guidelines indicate that fully vaccinated people can now "resume activities you did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or physical distancing, except where required by [other] rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” The CDC recommendations for unvaccinated individuals designate “indoor exercise activities” as a “Least Safe” activity and recommends “Unvaccinated People: Wear a Mask, stay 6 feet apart, and wash your hands.” i.e. contra dancing NOT recommended for unvaccinated people. All Dane County health orders (that, in effect, prohibited our contra dancing) will be lifted June 2.

Our weekly and monthly venues (Gates of Heaven, Grace Episcopal Church) have the same air circulation systems as in 2020 i.e. no improvements for COVID. Gates is undergoing exterior renovations until at least June 18. The CDC rates the level of community transmission in Dane County as Moderate, with 56.2% of the total population (69% of population over age 18) fully vaccinated. In Dane County, more than 44,000 people have had COVID, 63% of residents have received at least one vaccine, 1.2% of COVID tests have been positive the past week. (data available as of 5/20/21)

Early data (to 4/25/21) from 95 million fully vaccinated people in the U.S. show that about 1 in 10,000 fully vaccinated folks later tested positive for COVID (“breakthrough infections”), and about 1 in 100,000 required hospitalization or resulted in death (of 115 million, to 5/10/21). These numbers only reflect breakthrough infections to date during these first days/weeks/months after the vaccine; later numbers will show greater risk. This "risk number" covers all types of activities. Contra dancing is a much more intimate activity than "average risk," so one would expect breakthrough infection risk to be higher, perhaps significantly so, for near-future contra dancers, especially if mask use and social distancing are reduced community-wide by all (though perhaps this will be offset by increased vaccination rates and therefore, lower community transmission rates.)

Sources (accessed 5/15/21, except where noted): (accessed 5/20/21)


Public Health Will Lift All Dane County Orders June 2 (accessed 5/18/21) (accessed 5/20/21)

Dashboard | Public Health Madison & Dane County (accessed 5/20/21)

Previous COVID-19 Breakthrough Case Data

COVID-19 Breakthrough Case Investigations and Reporting