The San Francisco Bay Queer Contra Dance is hosting its eighth annual dance camp within the lush redwood forest of Monte Toyon, a beautiful camp facility near Santa Cruz, 79 miles south of San Francisco, where you'll be housed and fed and offered a weekend of gender-role-free dancing. Beginners are welcome. Contra is an exuberant, friendly, easy-to-learn American barn dance with roots in English folk dance. While many of our dancers are LGBT, we cheerfully welcome folks of any and all persuasions! Take a weekend away to dance, relax, make friends, and enjoy the lovely California redwoods.
Music: "Syncopaths" (Ryan McKasson: fiddle, Ashley Broder: mandolin, Jeff Spero: piano, and Christa Burch: bodrán, vocals)
Contra Dance: Frannie Marr
Sword/English/Contra: Kalia Kliban
Syncopaths At the heart of the band's sound are the twin engines of Ryan McKasson's dynamic, Scottish-based fiddling and the understated-but-monster picking of mandolinist Ashley Broder. Jeff Spero provides wonderfully inventive and surprising piano accompaniment, anchored by the driving power of Christa Burch's non-traditional bodhrán. Christa also lends her singular voice -- warm, supple, expressive, and intimate -- to the band's songs.
Frannie Marr: Frannie fell in love with contra dancing from the first. In 1998, she started teaching contra dances to children. After a decade debuted to rave reviews at a regularly scheduled Los Angeles contra dance and was strongly encouraged to keep on calling. Frannie has been calling regularly, traveling from coast to coast, and performing in over a dozen states.
Kalia: Kalia Kliban has been part of the California Bay Area traditional dance scene since the mid-80s, performing and teaching in a wide range of styles. At dance camps and festivals across the country she has taught morris, longsword, English and American clogging, English country dance and contra, and she's a regular contra and English caller in the vibrant Bay Area dance community. Her welcoming and relaxed teaching style has helped dancers of all levels experience the joy of traditional dance.
Monte Toyon: Nestled in a grove of coastal redwoods, Monte Toyon camp is adjacent to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos, California. Accommodations include shared rooms in Cary Lodge and Miller and Morris Dormitories, ranging 4-10 people a room. (If you have a lodging preference, including co-ed or same-sex options, please arrive when camp opens at 6:00 p.m. on Friday; rooms are not pre-assigned.) Meals are served buffet-style with vegetarian and vegan options. (Refrigerator space is available for those on special diets.) Monte Toyon also offers hiking trails and a beautiful rhododendron garden.
Bedding: Campers bring their own sleeping bags or sheets, blankets, and pillows. Local dancers can help those coming by plane: please provide bedding to help lighten a traveler's load and save on baggage expenses. If you can provide/would like bedding, please check the box on the registration form.
Non-gendered Housing: This year Cary Lodge and Morris Hall will have no gender designation--neither will bathrooms in the dancing and dining hall areas. If you require a bed in a gendered room, please indicate so on the registration form and space will be reserved for you.
Dance camp opens at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 8. Dancing begins Friday night at 8:00 and runs through 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Expect a weekend full of contra dance (accessible to all levels), to include special sessions for beginning and advanced dancers.
If you can offer a ride or need a ride to/from camp, please let us know on the registration form. We will help match riders with drivers. Flying? Consider San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose airports. There is shuttle service from S.J. Airport to downtown Aptos; campers can then take taxis to Monte Toyon or call organizers for rides.
A minimum $195 deposit is required. Work exchange positions are limited, and based on demonstrated financial need and available funds. All work exchange applicants will need to submit their need in writing. Everyone doing work exchange must help with either pre-camp setup or post-camp cleanup, along with some work shifts during the weekend.
A small number of first-come, first-served $95 scholarships are available for people who would otherwise have difficulty affording dance camp. Scholarship applicants also will need to submit their need in writing, and must sign up for work exchange. Download the registration form to register by mail. register online now!
You can help your fellow campers by donating to the scholarship fund: please include a separate check to SFBQCD with your mail registration or click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution online with a credit card or PayPal account. We are a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status, so your donation is tax-deductible. Many thanks!