July 11-18, 2019 // Lexington, MI
Variety is the Spice of Camp
Started in 2016, Dance Music & Spice at Camp Cavell is CDSS’s newest concept for summer dance camp programs. It includes the traditional folk music, dance, and song activities familiar to CDSS members and its camp participants, but encompasses a broader range of folk traditions and related activities. The intention is to serve a broader constituency in the folk community with the emphasis still being on the values that we, as dancers, musicians, and singers, hold so dear.
This week is host to Contra Dance Callers Course, an intensive, 2 period Course, led by Will Mentor, that requires pre-application and acceptance.
Spice is Nice because…
Some who come to camp bring a friend, partner, or spouse who doesn’t dance, sing, or play music as much as they do. Spice programming offers a parallel track of activities that allows everyone to be firmly engaged in the camp community. Some are not able or do not want to dance all day and into the night, but would like to engage in other activities and learning experiences for part of the day, while remaining involved in traditional dance, music, and song activities.
Join us at Camp Cavell, on the shores of Lake Huron, for a week of dancing, music, singing, art, outdoor activities, and more, led by world-class instructors! Hone your skills, learn new ones, or just revel in the opportunity to do things you love with like-minded people.
From quiet sunrise to late-night campfires, expect to be delighted. Come prepared to expand your horizons and to be amazed by the creativity and talent of staff and campers alike. We welcome newcomers, experts and everyone in between. Join us for an unforgettable week of friendship and joy at CDSS’ newest week.
Extraordinary Staff, Fabulous Program
Our staff leads the way in expanding horizons… They dance! They call! They teach! They play! They sing! They have hidden talents! And they’re fun to hang out with, too!
Will, Susan, and Gaye will delight you with a lovely mix of contras, squares, English dances, and waltzing. Turnip the Beet (Kelsey & Jeremy), Adam & Jaige, and Alchemy (Rachel, Karen, and Eric) will conjure glorious melodies, rich harmonies and lively improvisations to send us into dance ecstasy. In addition to dancing to them, you’ll have opportunities during the day to join our staff in making music, with band and singing classes and a daily old-time jam. Alex Cumming will teach Border Morris, lead singing and engage us all in a daily gathering.
We know that dance role terminology has evolved many times over past decades and this process is natural! At camp this week, we plan to use both Larks & Ravens and Ladies & Gents — we’ll use Larks & Ravens during one contra dance class per day with the option to use those terms more if desired. We are using this particular terminology because it is more inclusive of the gender spectrum and empowers dancers to explore their role preferences. We welcome questions, constructive feedback and open-minded discussion, because having safe spaces to ask questions is important!
The “spice” component of our camp is an exciting and novel addition to the programming. If you’d like to take a break from dance and music for a bit, or even spend your entire day doing other things, we have plenty of offerings, indoors and out. This year’s outdoor activities feature two class periods in the morning with staff from Camp Cavell (kayaking, tree climbing, etc.), as well as Edible Plant Identification, Moth-style storytelling, and Art Projects of the Day!
As if that’s not enough, every day will feature an assortment of camper-led sessions. We don’t know what these will be yet, because you haven’t told us. What would you like to add to the mix?
The sunrises and moonrises over Lake Huron have to be seen to be believed – and you can see them from the dance hall. The beauty of this camp is absolutely breathtaking. Camp community is focused on the here and now – The rustic camp surroundings emphasize the opportunity to take a break from daily habits, intrusions and responsibilities, replacing those with direct person to person exchanges in real time. Cell phones and email are at least hidden if not abandoned, and energy is, instead, focused on being part of, and supporting, this community.
Come Join Us
The staff is just the foundation of this camp; you’re the ones who make it happen! The only prerequisite is a willingness to join in the fun in whatever way is most authentic for you. Camp is both a great place to renew friendships and to learn new skills. New folks are encouraged to jump right in— this inclusive community is excited to embrace you. The bottom line: catch up on your sleep before you come to camp and bring your most open mind! See you on the shores of Lake Huron…
Started in 2016, Dance Music & Spice at Camp Cavell is a new concept for summer dance camp programs. It includes the traditional folk music, dance, and song activities familiar to CDSS members and its camp participants, but encompasses a broader range of folk traditions and related activities. The intention is to serve a broader constituency in the folk community with the emphasis still being on the values that we, as dancers, musicians, and singers, hold so dear. Spice means an offering of a variety of programs, including Great Lakes beach ecology (nature), active outdoor camp activities (e.g., kayaking, tree climbing, and birding), gourmet cooking, games, and folk art activities such as quilting, photography, and possibly puppetry, weaving, or felting. Spice programming events will also be offered in the evenings in parallel to the usual evening dances.
Spice is Nice because…
- Some who come to camp bring a friend, partner, or spouse who doesn’t dance, sing, or play music as much as they do. Spice programming offers a parallel track of activities that allows everyone to be firmly engaged in the camp community.
- Some are not able or do not want to dance all day and into the night, but would like to engage in other activities and learning experiences for part of the day, while remaining involved in traditional dance, music, and song activities.
- Some are looking for a range of folk-based, outdoor, or camping experiences that are complementary to, and thereby enhance, their participation in traditional music, dance, and song.
- Some want to expand their dance, music, and song camp experience to include other folks who share similar community based values, and they want to interact with those folks in a greater variety of ways.
- Some look to CDSS for leadership and guidance in growing their home dance communities and implementing broader community outreach, and CDSS’s Spice programming at dance camp will provide that guidance.
~ Gaye and Rachel Fifer, Program Directors
Gaye Fifer and Rachel Fifer
- Karen Axelrod
- Rachel Bell
- Renee Brachfeld
- Adam Broome
- Alex Cumming
- Susan Kevra
- Jeremy Lekich
- Eric Martin
- Will Mentor
- Dianne Sutliff
- Jaige Trudell
- Kelsey Wells
- Jamie Platt
Peter Baker, Steve Howe, Debbie Jackson, David Millstone
Contras – Gaye Fifer
Music by: Kelsey Wells, Jeremy Lekich: Start your day with a delightful mix of smooth & flowing contras, danced to the awesome music of Turnip the Beet.
Band Class – Eric Martin, Adam Broome
Let’s face it folks, playing good dance music is not all about ‘making ’em go woo’. Yes, there is a whole lot more to the cake mix than that. At this very moment in time, these two animated introverts, Eric and Adam, are working tirelessly on exactly what they think it takes to make dance nirvana, and how to best guide you down that path… of least resistance. A selection of class topics to be discussed: What to do if you arrive at sound check and find your fiddle case empty. Options for when you drop your pick in the sound hole on the last strum of four potatoes. Tips on how to change all of your strings while playing Money Musk. How to play a beautiful waltz at intermission and still be first in line at the snack table. All this… and more!
The Dancer’s Gazette says of Eric Martin: “A veritable Hendrix of English Country Dance fiddle…”
The Allemande Quarterly says of Adam Broome “Yet another guitar player… but don’t let that fool you…”
Moth Style Storytelling – Renee Brachfeld
A fun, thought provoking, and community building exploration of personal storytelling. We will follow the Moth style of personal stories told live without notes. Through games, exercises, and guided practice, there will be ample opportunity for everyone to identify and share their own stories. Renee creates a fun and safe environment where stories arise naturally. No previous storytelling experience necessary, although those with experience or a story they already want to tell will also have a great time. Join us for a great experience of listening and sharing. This class has been offered to rave reviews at other camps — come feel the magic for yourself!
Optional meeting of Callers Workshop (Pre-accepted applicants) – Will Mentor
Outdoor activities – Cavell staff
Advanced English Country Dance – Susan Kevra
Music by: Karen Axelrod, Rachel Bell, Eric Martin: This class will draw on more complex choreography than the afternoon session, so come with your wits about you to dance more challenging material. Not to worry – it won’t be all brain teasers, with a mix of dances designed to allow you to luxuriate in familiar favorites while also opening your horizons to new material. This class will expect a solid familiarity with all standard English country dance figures.
Border Morris – Alex Cumming
The fabulous tradition of Border Morris comes from the villages along the England and Wales border, most notably in the English counties of Herefordshire,Shropshire and Worcestershire. This tradition was predominantly a winter tradition where the dancers would disguise themselves in rags, hats and masks and dance for fun and to collect money to help them through the winter (or at least to buy a round at the local pub). This is a Morris dance tradition that is really accessible and fun for all ages and abilities with simple single and walk stepping, fun stick clashing choruses and very satisfying figures and formations. During the week we will learn some of the traditional and modern dances danced in England today plus have a go at writing our very own Camp Cavell Border Dance!
Alexander Technique for All – Jaige Trudel
Explore habitual response patterns and the connection between thought and movement in a fun and enlightening way… Alexander Technique offers the tools to cultivate an understanding of how we think of ourselves in activity, while releasing tension and allowing a lightness of being that permits movement to happen without the effort, fatigue or pain we so commonly become accustomed to. The Alexander Technique is widely acclaimed in the performing arts sector, but is just as useful to anyone who engages in everyday activities like typing, or is curious about the nature of habits and how to change them. Discover a graceful ease of mobility and experience greater freedom!
Outdoor activities – Cavell staff
Callers Workshop (Pre-accepted applicants) – Will Mentor
Music by: Kelsey Wells: This class is restricted to the pre-accepted applicants to the Contra Dance Callers Course
Gathering – Alex Cumming
ECD for All – Susan Kevra
Music by: Adam Broome, Jaige Trudel: English Country Dancing has endured for nearly four centuries in large part for its ability to marry movement and music in fruitful and creative ways. Come be part of the enduring tradition with a mix of old and new dances, set to beautiful music. We’ll spend the first class offering English basics to get everyone up to speed and carry on the rest of the week with accessible English dances sure to please beginner and experienced dancers alike.
Old Time Jam – Kelsey Wells
Edible Plant and Plant Identification Stroll – Jeremy Lekich
Callers Workshop (Pre-accepted applicants) – Will Mentor
Music by: Karen Axelrod, Rachel Bell: This class is restricted to the pre-accepted applicants to the Contra Dance Callers Course
Squares and Contras – Will Mentor
Music by: Adam Broome, Jaige Trudel
French Dancing – Susan Kevra
Music by: Karen Axelrod, Rachel Bell: If you love the energy of contras and the playfulness of English dancing, then you’ll love French bourrées! These dances – from central France – involve simple footwork, sprightly tunes and a whole lot of play. By the time you’re done, you’ll be making plans for a summer vacation in Auvergne, dreaming of creamy blue cheese, accordion and hurdy gurdy music! We’ll also toss in some simple Breton dances to bring out your inner druid and a few other classic dances from the bal folk tradition.
Spice Camp Sing – Alex Cumming
The Arty Part of Spice: Open Studio Project of the Day – Diane Sutliff
Each day we will have a suggested project subject and Diane will provide guidance of how to begin and where to focus. Many of our ideas will be about our beautiful surroundings. But in the end each artist can and should go their own way! There will be lots of paper, so lots of chances to re-examine and revisit ideas and techniques. We will have many full sets of oil crayons, chalk pastels, drawing pencils, tempera and watercolors. And the good brushes! As always, no experience necessary and wear clothes that don’t matter. More seasoned artists are encouraged to come with their own ideas, too and just jump in.
Open Mic Calling Campers – Gaye Fifer
Music by: Jeremy Lekich, Eric Martin: Campers take over the calling during this session, with our fabulous staff musicians. Especially planned for those enrolled in Will Mentor’s calling workshops, we’d love to encourage lots of dancers to come and give these callers mic time.
Contra Dance Callers Course
This is an intensive workshop designed for contra dance callers of all skill levels who like group learning and enjoy helping each other in a respectful manner! Held concurrently with Dance Music & Spice at Cavell, it is designed and led by Will Mentor, a contra and square dance caller from Northern Vermont known for his clear teaching, upbeat wit, and relaxed stage presence.
The course takes two periods each day, but work starts in the weeks before camp with communications with Will to identify specific skills to work on and practice during the two daily periods. Your input will help direct the focus as we spend much of the time practicing stagecraft, including:
- Talking through a microphone
- Consulting with the band about the music
- Set Management
- Communicating with the band to end the dance
We will have live music both hours and special attention will be paid to pairing tunes with dances.
All this leaves time to participate in the Dance Music & Spice program during other periods. If participants want extra practice calling, there is a daily Open Mic period, and Will is available for private meetings on any topic pertaining to calling.