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HarvestBall
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Dance Camp

This past weekend rsc and I went to LCFD Dance Camp. They occur twice a year and we've gone since Winter '98 (Robert missed one because he was sick). The main theme is Contra Dancing although there is also some English Country Dancing and some form of international folk dancing - this time it was Israeli.

We dance gender-role-free which means that men can dance with men and women with women or mixed with either taking the lead role and there is also no gender reference in the calls. Most of the attendees are GLBT and with about twice as many men as women. For this camp there were a few over 100 people.

Contra dancing is sometimes called aerobic flirting. It is done to brisk music and there is lots of eye contact as well as swinging and other touching activities with moves similar to those in square dancing. For each dance you have a partner, your partner and another pair of partners form a foursome and many foursomes are lined up. The caller tells you what to do since each dance is different and then you and your partner progress down the line to dance with another pair. Thus in each dance you get to interact with a lot of people.

Some of the calls are very eye-contact oriented. Gypsies are essentially swings with the eyes and hays are four-person-in-a-line mutual figures-of-eight with eye contact with each person. It is so fine to go down the line looking in everyones eyes and having physical contact. In regular life we so rarely look closely or anyone or touch anyone whether strangers or acquaintances.

At dance camp we are really part of a community. Associated with LCFD are gender-role-free contra dance series in Jamaica Plain, NYC, and Northampton, an English Country Dance series in Jamaica Plain as well as two startup dances in San Francisco and Albany; the attendees of these dances are the principal source of people who go to dance camp. We regularly go to the JP dances and occasionally to the NYC and Northampton dances (and hope to make the others). As a result there are few strangers at camp. We've made many friends through these dances.

The next camp is May 13-15, a long way away, but there are lots of local dances before then.