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: "Frost and Fire" (Aaron Marcus, Hollis Easter, Peter Macfarlane, Viveka Fox)
Contra Dance: Mary Wesley
Sound: Nick Cuccia
Scottish: Alan Twhigg
Frost and Fire: Frost and Fire hails from the dance halls of central Vermont. Equally skilled at playing for contra, English country and Scottish country dances, the band has been lighting up the East Coast with its sizzling bagpipe riffs, gorgeous fiddle harmonies, and highly danceable piano lines. The quartet plays over 15 different instruments, and has noticeable influences from a vast array of cultures, including New England, Scotland, England, classical music, eastern Canada, Ireland, west Africa, Sweden, show tunes, jazz, and Appalachia. Frost and Fire takes its name from a passage in T.S Eliot's Four Quartets.
Aaron Marcus (piano, concertina, banjo, foot percussion) is best known as the pianist for Giant Robot. He brings exuberant energy to Frost and Fire, whether he's vamping on piano or clogging and hoola-hooping while playing tunes on concertina. Peter Macfarlane (fiddle, low whistle), developed his characteristic Scottish fiddle style growing up in the United Kingdom, where he played regularly for Scottish dances and weddings. He has published original tunebooks and recorded music for Scottish country dancing. Peter brings powerful rhythmic drive and soaring melodic lines to Frost and Fire's sound. Viveka Fox (fiddle, bodhran, djembe) grew up playing the music of the British isles alongside that of North America, and she has a particular fondness for Cape Breton. Her smiling face (nearly always topped with a dashing hat) is well-known anywhere contra dancers are found. Hollis Easter (flute, bagpipes, whistle, guitar, mandolin , vocals): Being classically trained in opera, choral performance, trumpet, and musical theater, Hollis brings a quick wit, an easy grin, and a strong melodic line to Frost and Fire. He has played with Carlos Nunez, Susie Petrov, Laura Cortese, and The Chieftains.
Mary Wesley: Mary Wesley is a dance leader, caller, and organizer for contras, squares, morris, and family and community dances. A native of Vermont, she travels throughout New England and beyond to follow and share her love of dance. Mary is proud to be a founding member of the Mad Robin Callers Collective – an innovative consortium of dance callers based in Burlington, VT who work together to provide peer support and create opportunities for callers of all experience levels. She also dances with Burlington's "On the Border Morris", Vermont's only Border side of morris dancers. Off the dance floor, Mary works with with the Education Dept. at the Country Dance and Song Society to help spread the joy of traditional dance, music and song!
Alan Twhigg: Alan has danced since childhood. He fell in love with Scottish country dancing in the 1980s, and proceeded to pass both of the RSCDS teaching exams at St. Andrews. Alan has been teaching regular weekly classes at various levels ever since. He performs in Highland, Step, and Country Dancing, chiefly with the Red Thistle Dancers of Mountain View, CA. Favorite memories include choreographing a sword dance for the San Francisco Opera as well as teaching and performing in Norway, the Czech Republic, and Russia. Alan also performs in a Scottish country dance and Scottish Highland dance performance troupe, Red Thistle. More to come!
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: The second floor of Cary Lodge (including bathrooms) will have no gender designation--neither will bathrooms in the dancing and dining hall areas. If you require a bed in a non-gendered room, please indicate so on the registration form and space will be reserved for you. Priority is given to transgender individuals and their companions.
Dance camp opens at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 10. 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. All work exchange applicants will need to submit their need in writing, for review by the board. Everyone doing work exchange must help with either pre-camp setup or post-camp cleanup, along with some work shifts during the weekend. 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!