Family Camp 2017 Staff Bios / Websites
|Alex grew up watching Swords of Gridlock practice, and started dancing Morris with them at age 4. His athletic ability makes the movement of sword dance look easy. He has been a regular family camp participant, and made his debut on staff in 2016.
Alix Phillips was a storyteller several years ago for many different groups, mostly children. For 30 years she has presented workshops in stress management and wellness and has enjoyed using her storytelling skills generously in her workshops. She loves the magic that happens when people get transported to a different time and place while hearing a story.
Andy Wilson returns to teach stilting this year. He is patient and competent and will help you guide your child on those first very tall steps. He excels in making other people better–he’s often run our family camp sound board. Soon your child will be proudly walking tall!
Fiddler Anne Bingham Goess has been a devotee of Irish music since the 1990s, when she first heard Martin Hayes. Since then she’s studied with some of the great Irish fiddlers of our time, and played for many a ceili and set dance. She’s also active on the Contra and English Country scene, delighting dancers for many years with the band The Raggedy Annes. When she’s not fiddling she’s singing–performing with the Christmas Revels and directing the Revels Solstice Ensemble. Anne is excited to announce the release of her first CD: Letters from Abroad, with Thomas Lindemuth.
Craig Johnson has been to almost every Family Week, and has also played piano and accordion for dancers since 1982. He plays with Bangers and Mash at SF’s Dickens Fair, the Dogwatch Nautical Band, and is a regular musician for San Francisco’s longsword team, Ring of Cold Steel.
David Brown (CA) is a versatile instrumentalist, playing banjo, guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. He’s been at the heart of the Bay Area old-time music community for over 30 years, and also has a deep love for Quebecois, English country dance (Playford Clawhammer, anyone?), string ragtime, and many other types of music. David is in the band “Uncle Dave” with Kathrine Gardner and Dave Courchaine.
David James, this year’s programmer, has spent time in western swing bands, symphony orchestras, pop/rock bands and ECD/contra dance bands. He’s the musician for Wild Wood Morris (Border) and Rising Phoenix Morris (Cotswold), and a member of the ECD/contra dance band Whirled Peas.
DeLaura Padovan (VA) is an irrepressibly joyful presence around camp, whether she is dancing and singing with the youngest campers, or leading dancing with the whole community. DeLaura (along with Steve Hickman and their two daughters) raises chickens, goats and organic vegetables on her 57-acre family homestead, Biota. She and Steve now spend part of their time working with sustainable agricultural programs in Nicaragua through SosteNica Sustainable Development Fund.
Doug Olsen has been singing as long as he can remember. In 1973 he co-founded the East Bay a capella trio Oak Ash & Thorn, specializing in British and American traditional song. He’s been singing at dance camps and weekends since the 1990’s. He loves to share the joy of singing with everyone, and will gleefully teach songs of all sorts, the more obscure the better!
Theresa Roach Melia provides the magic of a Waldorf style preschool for our camp, bringing her 30 years experience as a Waldorf Kindergarten teacher, a mother, traveler, and T‘ai-Chi practitioner. Also a published lifelong poet and writer, Theresa imagined and told stories during all those years of Kindergarten rest times; now they are collected in a children’s storybook, The Adventures of Scoochie Mouse. Look for it in our camp bookstore, or at SteinerBooks.org, or from Amazon.
Judy Stavely began learning fiddle in Appalachia about forty years ago. Since then, she’s played for her students in the one-room public school where she taught, made music for contra, square and French dances, played lots of fiddle tunes with friends, and taught fiddle at Lark in the Morning for several years. After retirement, she joined the circus, where she combines fiddling with her love of aerial silks.
Julie James was an international folk dancer in her youth. She later found English country dance, then morris, and never looked back. In 2000 Julie formed Wild Wood Border Morris, where she focuses on teaching complex, fun dances with an emphasis on both precision and exuberance.
Kalia Kliban (CA) has been part of the Bay Area dance community since the mid-80s, performing and teaching morris, longsword, American clog, English clog, contra, and English country dance. Among her other useful talents are the making of excellent pipe-cleaner sculptures and the juggling of a wide variety of supermarket produce. Her clear and humorous teaching style has gotten feet tapping at camps and gatherings in California and beyond, and she’s been part of the Family Week community since 1996.
Michael Riemer will be teaching Irish Dancing for Everyone, including a mix of traditional Set dances and Ceili dances, with an introduction to the simple footwork that links the movements to the infectious jigs, reels or polkas of a particular dance. Michael has been teaching Irish dance for about ten years through weekly classes with the S.F. Comhaltas and at special events including Monte Toyon Spring Weekend, Camp Harmony, Golden Toad, and Lark Camp. He also plays music for Irish dancing (on the wooden flute), and loves the way musicians and dancers can complement each other’s best efforts.
Nick Cuccia brings his sound expertise once again to Family Week. Nick strives to enhance the dancing experience by providing sound that is both clear and enjoyable. Nick has been sound engineer for BACDS’ Family Week, English Week, Fall Frolick/Fall Weekend, Playford Ball, and Fall Ball, as well as NBCDS’s Mad Robin Ball. Nick also leads and teaches contra, English and barn dances throughout northern and central California.
Ruth Temple has been playing with art supplies, particularly yarn and fiber-related arts of weaving and braiding, since she was a kid herself, and shows no signs of slowing down in this regard. Also a musician, Ruth picked up the fiddle in order to play for dance in 1990, and especially loves rapper sword dancing and fiddling.
Rhonda Cayford Of all the styles of dance that Rhonda has done, Rapper has always been her passion. The fast movement creates an energy that is exciting to be part of, and the ways one can be twisted and untwisted while connected by swords is captivating. She is the founder of a new womens’ rapper team called Twisted Sisters, and was a founding member, along with her husband Randall, of Swords of Gridlock. She will do any type of dance, which has included Longsword, Rapper, Morris, English Clog, Cape Breton step, Cajun, contra, English … to name a few.
sTan Fowler “Dance Ranger” will be our camp safety officer this year. He’s a strong advocate of prevention, and an hitch in the US Coast Guard plus thirty years with the National Park Service has given him practice dealing with everything from bandaid-sized boo-boos to life-saving emergencies. Having been on the staff of over 150 Music, Dance and Family weeks and week ends, and also attended somewhere of 6,000 dances , he is not surprised anymore by anything that happens at camp.
Steve Hickman (VA) is one of the truly great performers of fiddle music, electrifying audiences for close to 30 years. Besides playing for numerous bands in the Washington, D.C. area, including Evening Star, Fiddlestyx, and The Capitol Quicksteps, Steve is one of the world’s leading authorities on the arcane art of hambone. Steve lives in King George, Virginia but spends much of his time traveling to play at dance workshops, festivals and camps throughout the country and the world.
Susan Michaels is a teacher and a caller of traditional American dancing, especially contra dancing and square dancing. Susan has called and taught dances for 25 years at local evenings, dance weekends, and week-long adult and family camps throughout the U.S. and Canada. She’s also delighted everyone with her skill as a family gathering emcee. Her “calling” in life, she believes, is to teach people how to hold hands in a circle and have fun! More info
Susan Worland is a Bay Area fiddler specializing in Scottish music and Eastern European music. In June each year she returns to Boston to join her East Coast colleagues playing at Pinewoods, and many summers she has been the band leader for the Stockton Folk Dance Camp here in California. She has performed Polish music on four continents, and if all goes according to plan, will be playing Scottish music in New Zealand in early 2016! Her latest CD, “Lucky 13,” Scottish music with pianist Lyle Ramshaw and bodhran player Michael Bentley (Susan’s multi-talented husband), can be found online at https://redthistlemusic.bandcamp.com/ In her “violinist” role Susan teaches at Starland Music in Alameda and is a member of the Santa Cruz Symphony.