What is it all about?
If you have friends who go to Dance Camp, they have probably told you all about it. This page is really aimed at people who haven't been before and don't know anyone who has been 😉
When you first arrive at the site and park up in the car-park field - stroll on up to the entrance of the main field (the gate) with your membership details to get your wristband. Tell the people there that you are a "first-timer" and they will help you find a circle to join.
We all camp in circles of around 10 to 20 tents (and yurts and domes and tipis etc.) around central open fires which we use for the all important kettles and cooking as well as being a social focus and source of extra warmth in the evenings. It seems a bit daunting at first but after a couple of days it seems like you've known everyone in your circle for years. Most years, we've welcomed new people into our circle and every time they bring something new with them that makes the camp that year memorable. Many have become friends for life.
Arrival Day has the feel of barely constrained chaos which, almost miraculously, settles into a steady hum of activity by the middle of Landing Day (day 2) by which time everyone has moved their vehicles off the main field into the car park field. There are no workshops on landing day but there will be all sorts of activities starting up and the way to find out what's happening is to go along to *Pow-wow, the morning camp meeting, which starts at 10.00 and is signalled by someone wandering around the field blowing on a conch shell. *Pow-wow happens every morning at the same time. It is not compulsory but it is the place where all announcements are made as to what will be happening that day by workshop leaders as well as people running activities on the fringe. The café will even tell you what's on the menu for lunch and supper.
To see an overview of the daily schedule in terms of events and activities head over to the What's On page. The full programme is only handed out in print at the start of Camp.
By the end of day 4, the first full day of activities, you will really start to feel at home. You will probably have found the Camp Shop (which is owned by DCW and all the profit goes back into the Camp) the showers, the sauna and the cafe and maybe you've wandered down through the wood to the estuary - first thing in the morning it is one of the most stunningly tranquil places that I know, especially when the tide is high.
After 5 days of workshops, we get to 'Being Day'. Basically, - it's time for a break, a chill-out. There are no workshops and no *Pow-wow. The café is still open and in the afternoon we have what we call 'The Market' where everyone is free to set out a stall in the Big Dome or around the outside of it. Whether you want to sell old clothes and books, your handmade items or artwork... it's up to you - or maybe you just want to stroll around and do a spot of shopping.
After Being Day, we are back into the swing of things with another 4 full days of workshops culminating in Fire Night, the Carnival and a load of other spectaculars as the various workshop strands present their final performances - Hip Hop dancing, The Samba Band, African Dancing around the fire- you name it 🙂
Eventually, we get to Leaving Day - truly "parting is such sweet sorrow" - It is always sad to say goodbye after the intensity of Camp but the attraction of a hot bath and a soft mattress is also undeniable. After a few years, you realise that when you walk onto the field at the beginning of camp next year, the year in between melts away and it feels like it was only a few days ago that you left the year before.
- written by Simon, a dance camper.
* renamed Morning Circle 2022