October 23rd, 2014

Us May 09

A most splendid weekend

Last weekend was LCFD Gender Free Dance Camp where we Contra dance, English Country dance, eat, schmooze, reminisce and have a great time with 100+ people at a YMCA Camp in Western Massachusetts.

It happened to be my birthday on Sunday and this was a great way to celebrate it.

This was the 25th Anniversary camp so there was lots of reminiscing and a special session to discuss the past and the future. Now we have two camps each year. This was my 35th consecutive dance camp! It's always so much fun. We get to see people that we dance with regularly at local dances and others who we just see at dance camp. I love the feeling at the first dance on Friday night as you progress down the line encountering all the smiling faces.

Below is a video of people dancing Chorus Jig - a classic Contra dance that is lots of fun.

Our Queen Mum, Chris Ricciotti, started the first one in August of 1989 a year after he started the first gender free dance in Jamaica Plain. For this camp he was the Contra Dance caller, the main program planner, and a lot of other things. Amazing that he sttll has the creativity and energy after all these years.

We have a Variety Show on Saturday night. I always perform; most recently I perform as Doctor Professor who gives a "scientific" explanation of something very important. This time I reviewed my findings of events from 2,500 years ago when Christos Ricciopolis who was inspired by plans for the Parthenon invented contra dancing.

I'm part of the organizing committee (treasurer - so my work isn't done) and I had a bit of sound system duties so in addition to the enjoyment of it all I do view it from an organizational prospective.

The next camp is May 1-3 at a YMCA camp in Northeastern CT. And there is Queer Dance Camp in Aptos, CA on April 10-12 to which we are going. A number of years ago some of the people who lived in NYC and who went to these camps started a gender free dance in NYC (still ongoing), and then they moved to San Francisco and started a dance there; several years later they started the weekend camp.

Some interesting theater

Arts Emerson is a relatively new organization that is putting on some very interesting theater these days.

On Tuesday night we went to the Shakespeare's Globe production of King Lear. It was done by eight actors playing multiple parts - and occasional musical instruments. The whole production was clever and pretty fascinating. The only drawback was that it was hard to hear the words, but even so it was thoroughly enjoyable. It would have been wiser to have read it again shortly before going to the play.

Then on Wednesday I night I went to the South African Isango Ensemble production of The Magic Flute. The orchestra was marimbas (8 of them), drums and occasional trumpet and trombone. The cast did both acting and instrument playing. At the finale, after the Queen of the Night exited she went to play one of the big marimbas. As in the Shakespeare it was often hard to hear the words. It was a very interesting mashup of two very different cultures. Mozart probably wouldn't have approved (nor would have rsc) and the instrumentation loses a lot of the beauty of the music. But all in all it was a very interesting evening.

I was thinking, now back to normalcy, but on Friday we are going to see Pilobolus.