What happens on camp can best be described by Sandra who wrote this in 2000 after her first camp…..
I found out about Dance Camp North through circle dance connections. I was initially attracted to the dance, but little did I know …
I made up my mind to go at the last minute. I had never camped alone before, but I was met at the gate with a warm hug and a welcoming cup of tea. We camped in circles of 8 – 10 tents round a central campfire. I camped with some friends and a load of musicians. There was an excellent café serving all 3 main meals, and snacks in between, at very reasonable prices. When we didn’t go to the café we ate round our circle, making nourishing feasts made tastier by wood smoke and the sense of satisfaction of doing more than just survive.
Each day there was a programme of workshops. You could easily fill your day with new experiences, but choosing was quite hard. The days options started with Qi Gong, meditation and sacred singing. Then came the Gathering which was my favourite thing. The whole extended family of the camp came together and the feeling of belonging was immense. The day’s programme was announced, often in very humorous ways, practicalities and issues were discussed and often quickly resolved by the willingness of those concerned. The end of the Gathering was marked by holding hands and singing a chant or song.
Then there were the activities. There were at least two workshops on offer morning, afternoon and evening. As the camp progressed, participants offered extra workshops which had to be slotted into the gaps or the choice would have become too much. It was hard to remember that I could choose or just sit by a fire or share a cup of tea and a conversation. There was always someone to talk to.
The range of workshops was huge. Surprisingly I found myself doing very little circle dancing. There were Dances of Universal Peace, 5 Rhythms, Shamanic dance, Arab Egyptian as well as a Ceilidh. There was also drumming, drama, singing and Alexander Technique sessions. Children were well provided for. There was an amazing creativity area where everyone was encouraged to express or discover creative talent. Things like pottery, mask making, art, tie dye, lantern making, and games were on offer.
Starlight nights and campfires continued to ferment the feeling of deep connection. It was hard to go to bed and still hear conversation and laughter echo across the campsite.
My experience of dance camp grew day by day and a subtle transformation occurred, which was almost too big to grasp at first. Each new workshop added to the overall experience. The dancing, drumming, the singing, sharing, connecting with like minded people around campfires was amazing. I quickly made deep special friendships. I felt like a sponge, soaking up the atmosphere and everything going. I cared less and less about external things I normally paid attention to, such as tidy hair and makeup. I found creative talents, which I didn’t know I had or had time to explore and nourish in the everyday world.
The magic of the camp helped me to rediscover my sense of ‘self’. Someone suggested I hold onto this magic and it would help through difficulties in the next few months. They were right. I cannot wait for the next camp and top myself up again with life!