“You will have so much fun and gain a bigger family by the end of the week.”

–Kristen Planeaux
August 11-17, 2024 // Poland, ME
The week children take their families to

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Program Description

A web of friendship, music, dance and fun!

Come dance, sing, and revel in the woods of Maine! This is the second year that our fabulous Family Week community from Ogontz makes its new home at Agassiz Village. We’re excited to welcome new families and friends to the camp and share folk traditions old and new. Sing (and eat) in the expansive, beautiful timber-framed dining hall, relax at the waterfront with its stunning scenic islands, dance in the rustic old town hall, and enjoy plenty of space to run around and play. Greet friends old and new alike all ready to soak in the magic of the week! 

Morning Gathering is central to camp. It’s a chance for everyone to be together, share some talents, and sing a song or too with a fabulous inter-generational crowd of friends old and new.

Morning classes are organized by age group. Our fabulous teaching staff engage the youngest campers with music, dance, stories, and art. Older kids have dedicated traditional dance and singing options to get stuck into. Teens and adults can choose from soaring and smooth English dancing, conquer the complexities of both contra and couple dance, raise the rafters in harmony song, or explore longsword with a UK expert!

Afternoons offer a range of options, not least swimming and nap time! Workshops are open to all ages (younger children may need to bring a guardian) and include the famous Mummers Play, Family Jam, English clog dance, Family Sing, Letterboxing, and a brand new a range of stand-alone classes in singing, playing for dancing, and dancing itself! 

We round up the afternoon with stories under the Walnut Tree. Bring snacks, perhaps a cocktail, and be prepared to be transported by (and possibly participate in) tales of magical beings, barely-credible creatures and probably a lot more besides.    

As we head towards evening, there’s a community dance and a bedtime song before the Pied Piper leads the youngest campers to bed. 10-12’s join the first hour of the dance before they too are sung towards sleep.  Our all-star music staff will keep the rest of us moving all evening with nightly ECD and contra dances taught and called by phenomenal callers, you can even expect a spot of ceilidh and some Bal folk in the mix. After-hours activities and parties (pub night, cabaret, teens games, auction) are a great part of camp for anyone who is still standing by that point!   

Come recharge, reconnect, relax, and renew as we gather together and learn that it really does take a village! We’d love to see you there! 

-Laurel Swift, Program Director

Schedule

Arrival & Departure

Sunday Arrival Schedule:
3:00 pmThe earliest you can start arriving at camp
4:30-5:30Welcome party
5:30 Tour of Camp
5:50Dinner
7:10Community dance
7:30Orientation gathering
8:00Bedtime for 9 & under
8:15-10:30Opening night dance
9:15Bedtime for 10-12s
10:45Opening night party
12:30amBedtime for teens
Saturday Departure Schedule: 
7:45-8:15 amBreakfast
10:00 amFinal departure

Daily Schedule

7:45 amBreakfast
9:00-10:00Class Period 1
10:15-11:15Class Period 2
11:20-11:50Gathering
12:00 pmLunch
1:30-2:30Class Period 3 and swimming
2:45-3:45Class Period 4 and swimming
4:00-5:00Class Period 5
5:10-5:30Stories under the Walnut Tree
5:45Dinner
7:00Evening gathering
7:30Community dance
8:00Bedtime for 9 & under
8:15-10:30Evening dance
9:15Bedtime for 10-12
10:45 onwardAfter-dance activities
12:30 amBedtime for teens

Class Descriptions

Period 1

Ages 2-3: Small Storytellers with Emilie Moore

1, 2, 3 – Come find me! Each morning we’ll jump into a story using imaginative play, and will use song, dance and craft to immerse ourselves in that world. Today a dragon, tomorrow a cloud, after that, who knows!

Ages 4-5: Rapper with Steph West

Rapper dancing is just like playing a game or working out a puzzle, that’s why it’s so much fun! In this session we’ll have a go at the building blocks of a rapper dance, exploring all the different ways you can go under or over a sword to end up in a lock. We’ll also learn about how important teamwork is, as rapper is definitely not a dance you can do solo!

Ages 6-7: Silly Songs, Delightful Dances, and More! with Mary Wesley

This class is all about the joys of dance, music, and song! We’ll look at the ways they are all interconnected and the ways they can help us connect to each other. We’ll also play some games and make some art, because that’s joyful too!

Ages 8-9: Musical Mash Up with Desiree Halcomb

In this class, we will sing songs, play music games, and learn to play recorder!  Instruments will be provided.

Ages 10-12: Morris Dancing with Laurel Swift

Start your day with some fabulous Cotswold Morris dancing, the most stunning and energetic form of English folk dance. Prepare to jump around, clash sticks, learn to wave a hanky properly, alongside learning the step-hops and leaps of this unique dance style. We’ll learn a couple traditional dances and maybe write one of our own!

Ages 13 & up: English Country Dance with Joanna Reiner Wilkinson

If English Dance is not your first language, if you are a new or returning English dancer, or if you want a chance to focus on and build your ECD skills, come to class!  We’ll take the time to look at figures, how to dance to the great variety of ECD tunes, and so much more.  This class is a great introduction to the joys and variety of English country dancing.

Ages 13 & up: Longsword with Tom Besford 

For hundreds of years, the Grenoside Sword Dancers have performed on Boxing Day in their village just outside of Sheffield, South Yorkshire. It’s the only longsword dance featuring clog steps. 70 years ago, Grenoside taught a version of their dance to the Newcastle Kingsmen, and now it’s our turn to learn it. 

Period 2

Ages 2-3: The Sun Is In My Heart with Kristen Planeaux

Let’s stretch, move, sing, and dance our way through the morning together. We’ll have fun with the sun and the seasons it creates, and more!

Ages 4-5: Nature, Connection, Crafting & more! with Emilie Moore

Come connect to all of the wonders that nature has to offer. Each day we’ll take a nature walk, collect things for a craft, write songs about the trees, create a story about a curious squirrel, and start traditions with our small, but mighty crew. Get ready to ground your toes in the dirt and dig in!

Ages 6-7: Tell a Tale or Two! with Desiree Halcomb

Using children’s literature, we will engage our voices, percussion instruments, and dramatization skills to create a musical retelling of various stories.

Ages 8-9: Longsword with Tom Besford

The centuries-old 4 person longsword dance of Penshaw was ‘rediscovered’ fairly recently and published in a new manuscript. But actually it was pretty much invented out of thin air! Together, we’ll look at this so-called traditional dance and work out if we can make it even better.

Ages 10-12: Dancing, Singing, and Merriment with Lily Leahy

Hey 10-12 year olds, you get to stay up for the first part of the evening dance! With this honor comes great responsibility. But fear not, this class has you covered! To help prepare you, in this class we will learn the basics, and beyond, of English country and contra dancing and try to decipher exactly how they are different and also quite similar. In addition to dancing, we’ll learn some fun songs and rounds which we’ll hopefully get to teach and share with the rest of camp. Throw in a few silly games and we’ll have a great time. See you there!

Ages 13 & up: Dance Lab for Contra and More with Mary Wesley

This is a dance class with footnotes (heh heh, get it!?) While doing some great dances each day we’ll review the nuts and bolts that make a contra run smoothly: timing, rhythm, good choreography, giving weight—as well some fun add-ons like flourishes and swapping roles. We’ll also try a few different dance forms like triplets, squares, and waltzing to see what they can teach us! 

Ages 13 & up: Singing in Harmony with Laurel Swift

Spend a delightful hour learning and singing traditional songs arranged in resounding harmony by Laurel plus one or two new ones! We’ll warm up our voices for the day, get tuned in to your fellow campers, and simply enjoy the shared sound of all of our voices united in song. We’ll explore a range of moods, stories and textures through the week, notation will be provided and everything will be accessible to those who prefer to learn by ear.  

Period 3

Mummers Play with Paddy Swanson

The artistic director of Revels will lead us in the creation of another spectacular mummers play. Throw caution to the winds and join the merry band of actors who will bring you life, death, rebirth, and a smashing party to follow.

Ages 8 & up (younger, if passionate, with an adult): Cranky Making for All with Ann Percival

Please join us for a fun, low pressure art experience for ALL! This year we will be making a community cranky illustrating a song.  A cranky is an old fashioned movie drawn/painted/colored on a long sheet of paper and then “scrolled” in a cranky box.  We will draw and color and sing and switch places so that the “movie” is illustrated by everyone. Remember how relaxing coloring is?  Come and have fun! (You do not have to commit to attending every day!)

Musical One-Shots

Explore a different offering led by program staff every day. Check your schedule or listen for announcements for the day’s choices at Morning Gathering!

Period 4

Ages 8 & up (younger, if passionate, with an adult): Family Jam

Whatever your instrument (fiddle, kazoo, a homemade invention?),  whatever your level, bring yourself and an instrument along and let’s play music together! From simple, fun and familiar tunes, to special requests and some obligatory bangers, this is a slow and steady session led by our fabulous camp staff for everyone to join in with. Bring dots if you need them, otherwise expect to play by ear and we’ll give pointers about how to join in before each tune! Children under 12 should be accompanied by parent (or come and chat to us in advance)

Ages 8 and up (younger, if passionate, with an adult): Clog Dance with Steph West

In this class we’ll be looking at the waltz steps of Alex Woodcock, a fabulous dancer from the North East of England. Alex was taught to dance in clogs, but he later switched to largely performing in tap shoes and his steps clearly draw on the music hall tap styles that became popular in his youth. The dance is relatively simple, but there are some fun steps and a flashy finish to enjoy. The steps also have a number of variations, so we can build the complexity level or keep it simple depending on experience.

Unique One-shots

Explore a different offering led by program staff every day. Check your schedule or listen for announcements for the day’s choices at Morning Gathering!

Period 5

All Ages: Letterboxing with Laurel Swift

Brought to Agassiz by the fabulous Fynn Crooks, come check out this unique hobby that combines the art of stamp carving with adventure and exploration. Started in 1854 on Dartmoor, letterboxing has grown into an international treasure hunt. Learn how to carve your own stamp, and how to find hidden pieces of art stashed all around camp. You’ll leave with a nice souvenir and an opportunity to explore all week long! This class is best for slightly bigger hands, but under 10s are welcome with a parent. 

All ages: Social Singing for All with Julia Friend

Come sing with us! Julia will facilitate a daily singing session where everyone has a chance to join in on a variety of songs and can try leading a song of their choice.  We will create a supportive and inquisitive singing community, no experience necessary.  Tips for song leading, ethical lyrics, and more, will be covered as opportunity arises.

Ages 13-17: Lost Rapper Dances with Tom Besford

Some of the notated traditional rapper dances are really weird. So weird in fact that nobody dances them anymore. In this class, we’re going to change that by learning some of the most obscure old rapper dances that were ever written down. If you thought you knew how to tie a lock, get ready to be surprised.

Dance One-shots

Explore a different offering led by program staff every day. Check your schedule or listen for announcements for the day’s choices at Morning Gathering!

Dance Terminology

Contras and squaresLarks/Robins
English country dancePositional and Larks/Robins

Registration and Fees

Camp fees cover all accommodation, meals from dinner on the arrival day to breakfast on the departure day, and all of the various dance, music, and song events in the program.

Adults (16+)$1,000
13-15$960
10-12$770
7-9$635
4-6$565
2-3$345
0-1$65

You can find more information about the registration process here. If you need financial assistance in order to attend, please go to our scholarships page.

Staff

Paddy Swanson

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Paddy Swanson

Louisa Engle

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Louisa Engle

Catherine Miller

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Catherine Miller

Lily Kruskal Leahy

Family Week at Agassiz Village, Family Week at Pinewoods
Lily Kruskal Leahy

Tom Besford

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Tom Besford

Sarah-Hadley Yakir

English Dance Week, Family Week at Agassiz Village, Harmony of Song & Dance
Sarah-Hadley Yakir

Donal Sheets

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Donal Sheets

Mary Wesley

Family Week at Agassiz Village, Family Week at Pinewoods
Mary Wesley

Joanna Reiner Wilkinson

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Joanna Reiner Wilkinson

Desiree Halcombe

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Desiree Halcombe

Kristen Planeaux

Family Week at Agassiz Village, Harmony of Song & Dance
Kristen Planeaux

Karen Axelrod

English Dance Week, Family Week at Agassiz Village, Family Week at Pinewoods, Harmony of Song & Dance
Karen Axelrod

Ann Percival

Family Week at Agassiz Village, Family Week at Pinewoods
Ann Percival

David Cantieni

Family Week at Agassiz Village
David Cantieni

Laurel Swift

English Dance Week, Family Week at Agassiz Village, Harmony of Song & Dance, Program Directors
Laurel Swift

Julia Friend

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Julia Friend

Steph West

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Steph West

Emilie Moore

Family Week at Agassiz Village
Emilie Moore