The San Francisco Bay Queer Contra Dance is hosting its sixth 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.
Band: The Retrospectacles ( Andrew
Foster, Ethan Jodziewicz, Scotty Leach & Josie Sokoloff-Toney )
Contra Dance: Susan Michaels
Swing Dance: Yael Schy
Flautist: Bonnie Insull
Irish Ceili Dance: Alan Kline
English Country Dance: Alan Winston
The Retrospectacles: The Retrospectacles are a young group of contra dance musicians whose natural enthusiasm and powerful playing have torn up dance floors all over the Northwest. Drawing from their childhoods growing up at music camps and festivals, and their early immersions in contra dancing and music, The Retrospectacles were formed in high school and have continued as a band after graduation. Twin fiddlers Josie Sokoloff-Toney and Andrew Foster lead the band through the twisting, turning medleys of tunes required for contra dancing, and harmonize beautifully at the same time! Scotty Leach's infectious piano playing and Ethan Jodziewicz's burning bass lines make up the other half of the band, and have propelled dancers across many a dance floor. Though inspired by the eclectic music of today's contra dance scene, music taken from Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian and old-time traditions, the Retrospectacles play many of their own compositions now. They also arrange the music into a densely woven and highly rhythmic sound that sounds as good on the dance floor as it does on the concert stage. - Devon Leger, Hearth Music
Susan Michaels: Susan Michaels is a teacher and a caller of traditional American dancing, especially contra dancing and square dancing. She has called and taught dances at local evenings, weekend workshops, week-long elementary school programs, week-long family camps and dance weekends throughout the U.S. and Canada. Her "calling" in life is to teach people how to hold hands in a circle.
Yael Schy: Yael Schy is a dynamic dance and theater instructor, actress, and performer known for her creative approach to learning and performance, and her emphasis on collaboration and partnering skills. Yael's lifelong love affair with theater and dance began over 40 years ago. As a dance major at UCSC, her experience included performing in campus and community theater productions, contact improvisation, choreography, and dance performance, as well as teaching Israeli folkdancing. Her many years of experience as a performer and teacher in theater and dance have included serving as a dancer and choreographer with Westwind International Folk Ensemble and with Jubilee American Dance Theatre in the San Francisco Bay Area, and dancing with Avaz International Dance Theatre in Los Angeles. Yael has taught theater and dance to both children and adults of all ages. She currently teaches improv theater and various forms of social partner dancing, where her primary focus is on the give and take of leading and following. Yael is a dance and improv theater instructor at Lark World Music and Dance Celebration, the San Francisco Free Folk Festival, and various other dance and music venues, and has also taught dance at Dominican University of California.
Bonnie Insull:Flautist Bonnie Insull is a leading light of the Southern California English and Contradance scenes. She's played for major ECD Balls in northern and southern California. Her contra-dance band, Bonfire, has a unique jazzy sound and has played for dance festivals such as Frog, Harvest Moon, Ghost Town Chill down and California Twirl. Bonnie brings musicianship, energy, and dance skill to all her dance engagements.
Alan Kline: Alan Kline is a well-known face in many of the San Francisco Bay Area's diverse dance communities as a social dancer, performer, DJ, caller, host and instructor. He has worked with a variety of East Bay dances including Vintage Invasion, East Bay Waltz and Queer Contra as well as his own weekly Irish ceili dance. His passion for sharing all forms of dance has been reflected in the recent creation of his Shindig parties where dancers from desperate forms have commingled and learned from one another. His dance instruction is marked by an infectious enthusiasm, a conviction in learning dance to have fun, and a focus on the social part of social dance. A vibrant, homegrown talent, Queer Contra was his first Bay Area dance and he joyously remains a part of this community.
Alan Winston: Caller, choreographer, and community leader, Alan Winston started with Regency dance in 1978 and has been dancing contra since 1985, the year he started calling Regency, English, Early American, and Victorian dance. Alan began also calling contras in 2006, and has been a tour-de-force ever since. Alan calls in many varied settings, from science fiction conventions to Playford Balls on both coasts, the San Francisco Free Folk Festival to the New England Folk Festival, and as a staff member at the Heather and Rose gender-free English/Scottish weekend in Oregon, to name a few. It is Alan's happiness to share the joy of community through country 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: 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 12. Dancing begins Friday night at 7:30 p.m. 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. There will also be English country dancing and Swing dancing, as well as a new first: Irish ceili.
If you can offer a ride or need a ride to/from camp, please email us! 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 $50 deposit is required. Work exchange positions are limited, so register early. Everyone doing work exchange must help with either pre-camp setup or post-camp cleanup, along with some work shifts during the weekend. Scholarships are no longer available. Register on-site at Monte Toyon!Online and mail registration is now CLOSED. If you would like to attend camp and are not yet registered, please come to camp and register on-site.
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!