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BACDS Spring Fever Dance Weekend
March 11 - 13, 2016

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FAQ Evaluation Archives Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions:

Program/Activity Questions

Registration Questions

Food/Transportation/Getting Started

Program/Activity Questions

Can I get an advance copy of the workshop schedule?

Program and schedule details are posted on the website as soon as they are available.   The final schedule is distributed at camp, covering any last-minute changes.

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What's the difference between Contra and English dance?

It's really only a shift in emphasis and a change in vocabulary.

Basically, Contra dance is more of a walking step, with swinging and spinning, while English can be more on the balls of the feet, and is about moving together in time with different rhythms.

The differences in vocabulary are pretty intuitive.  For example, if you know your way around an "allemande" in a  Contra dance, the English equivalent is a "turn by the right" or "right-hand turn" with a slightly different hand grip.

There's an excellent overview on both Contra and English dance on the CDSS website, you'll see more similarities than differences.

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I've heard about the camper led after-hour activities. Can you please elaborate?

After hours entertainment is mostly up to you, the Campers.

Although scheduled activities end at 11 pm, the fun continues. The dance hall becomes an "open mike" session of callers and musicians lasting as long as there are willing dancers.  Also, the dining hall lounge and other alcoves are open for singing that often goes all night.  The type of singing depends entirely on the participants.  Some people like to bring songbooks to help them think of songs or remember words.  Others may know lots of songs by memory, or may want to teach a song.  A variety of styles may be sung, from traditional ballads to modern rock and roll, and anything in between.  There is enough time and space for everyone to have a chance to sing their favorites.

Previous years we have featured events like an Irish pub, English Music Hall, card, board, or parlor games.  If there's something you want to organize, let us know and maybe we can help.

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Are beginners welcome?

Yes, beginners are welcome. The teaching is generally designed for the intermediate to advanced dancers, but people usually learn very quickly when surrounded by experienced dancers.   Beginners who have come to camp in the past have generally reported positive experiences.  Let us know when you register that you are a beginner, and we can give you extra help where needed.

This also applies if you're experienced in one dance style, but new to another.  Contra dancers will be most welcome in the English workshops, and vice versa.  Use this is as the opportunity to find new excitement with a new way to dance!

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Are children welcome?

Yes, they are most welcome! Although we do not have a family program coordinator on the camp committee, "camp kids" often attend and enjoy the activities available.  For younger children, or if you are unsure, contact us.

Non-dancing children also have activities available: listen to (and to play), singing, hiking in the woods, ping-pong, volleyball, and other games (including what you bring along), time to read, meditate, whatever.

One extra concern is that children are still legally in your parents' care. That means they either have to bring a parent to camp, or find another adult going to camp to whom your parents are willing to write a note giving them the OK to be their responsible for you (mostly for such things as emergency medical treatment decisions and the like).

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May I invite a guest to join me for part of the time?

The short answer is No.  There are numerous reasons that we cannot accommodate these requests. The camp facility charges a day-use fee per person and there are limits to the numbers of people that the facility can accommodate (or that we are willing to cram on the dance floor), and still be safe.

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Registration Questions

Can you explain the lodging options in detail?

Miller and Morris Dorms are older buildings, with various-sized rooms accommodating between 6 and 10 people.  Some of the rooms are connected to each other.  These rooms are perfect for larger groups that want to room together, or for those who like a bit of extra room to move around in.  The bathrooms are newer, and have more amenities, but you must cross an outside deck to reach them from your room.

Cary Lodge is a newer building, situated closer to the main dance hall than the Miller/Morris Dorms.  The rooms accommodate 4 people each.  There is a lounge that is used day and night for reading, napping, or quiet socializing.  In past years this was the location for late night singing, but that has been moved to the Dining Hall fireplace room.

All buildings are heated so you don't have to worry about arctic conditions but you may still have to negotiate a comfort level with your roommates.

Rooms are usually pre-assigned.  If you want to room with specific people or have other special needs, please sure to note them on your registration form.

There is some limited tent space, and you may sleep in your car/camper/RV, but if you spend the night on the property, we cannot offer a price break due to the campsite's facility usage fee structure.

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I'm financially challenged, but I still would like to come to camp. What can I do?

BACDS does not like to turn people away due to financial constraints. We will work with you to meet your needs.

There are Work-Trade spaces for approximately 1/3 off the fee. Work-Trade means what it says: you do some work in exchange for part of the fee. Preference is given to those with a good volunteer track record. If you have some physical limitations, we will try to accommodate you. If you apply for a Work-Trade position, the Coordinator will contact you.

In addition BACDS organizes a Youth Scholarship program for BACDS camps, which supplements a work-trade position to make attendance free for dancers age 30 and under who are in need.  For us, it's a way to bring more young people into the community as contributing members. For the recipients, it becomes a bonding experience and a way to feel they are in charge of something.

Contact our Registrar for further details.

If you don't qualify for one of the above, it may be time to get creative. If you come from a distant dance community, perhaps your local organization has scholarship funds for sending people to camps to learn new skills that will benefit your community. Perhaps your friends and family can pitch in as a gift. The December holiday season is prime registration time. If you are truly stuck, please contact the Registrar or the Manager, and we will try to work something out with you.

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What kind of jobs do Work-Trade and Youth Scholarship people do?

The responsibilities involve helping out with some of the chores at camp.  We divide our work-traders into teams and give each team responsibility for a particular set of chores.  All work-trade people are expected to help with setting up or tearing down of camp.  Here's a list of the different tasks we assign to our work-trade teams:

  • Greeting and parking control during arrival at camp.
  • Camp set-up: putting up signs, getting the gear where it needs to be, moving furniture, putting up twinkle lights or decorations
  • Serving and cleaning up late-night snacks after the evening dances.
  • Moving tables and chairs in the dining hall (setting up for meals), moving aside for dancing.
  • Sweeping the dance floor during breaks.
  • Checking the bathrooms to make sure they are clean, properly supplied, and working.
  • Setting up chairs for performances or the auction.
  • Final clean-up: checking the dorms for lost and found, taking down decorations and such, putting the furniture back in the dance hall.

It's generally shared work, and doesn't take much time away from the actual dancing or other scheduled events.

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What if I need to cancel after I've paid?

If you cancel early you will get a full refund if we can fill your space. Otherwise cancellations will be subject to a $50 administrative fee.  If we don't hear from you at least three days before camp or you just do not show up at all, no money will be refunded.

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Are registrations transferrable?

Sorry, No.  Registration must be used by the person being registered to ensure the logistics, housing, food, and other related information we have is current.  It also helps us to manage the waiting list in as fair a way as possible.  That said, if you have a special situation, contact the Registrar, and let's see what we do.

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What are all these donation suggestions - aren't we paying enough?

BACDS is a non-profit organization, often more so than we'd like. We are trying hard to maintain affordable prices in these economically challenging times, and so budget for a break-even point with a full camp. Less than full attendance, or unexpected expenses (we neglected to budget for the ice cream, for instance!) mean we may lose money.  A donation to camp helps ensure we cover costs.

A donation to our Youth Scholarship fund is a great way to support the dancing community as well as individuals who may be on constrained budgets. We need to keep a healthy distribution and growth to ensure there will be dancers, musicians, and organizers for years to come. It's in everyone's best interest!

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Food/Lodging/Transportation Questions

What about food?

There is no dinner on Friday.  We suggest you have dinner in Santa Cruz or Aptos before arriving at camp.  All meals will be served on Saturday, with breakfast and lunch provided on Sunday.  With luck we'll arrange for fruit and coffee to be left out for those late risers on Sunday.

Coffee will be available at the dance hall during the evenings.  Following the dances on Friday and Saturday nights we will have pot-luck refreshments.  Please bring contributions to share; you may give them to our Grand Poobah of Pot-luck when you check in at camp.  Many people bring snacks, drinks, or savories to share.  It's a great way to contribute to camp, and to make sure there's something to eat that you like.

Also, to reduce the amount of trash, we ask that you bring your own favorite mug/drinking vessel to use at camp  If you don’t bring one, you can to take advantage of our rent-a-mug co-op.  Here's the deal - you give us $5 for the mug at the start of camp.  If you check it back in at the end camp, we give you $3, so yes, it is still possible in today's economy to get a $2 cup of coffee. These mugs are on loan from members of the dance community so please treat them well (the mugs, that is).

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I have a very strict diet. What can I do?

If your are a vegetarian, have food allergies, or other dietary considerations, explain your needs on the registration form, and we will pass them on to the cook staff.  They have a set menu that does not alter much, but they have been very accommodating with certain dietary restrictions, particularly gluten and dairy intolerances, and vegan diets, if we let them know enough in advance.  We will let you know whether or not your specific needs can be met, and whether you may need to bring your own supplemental food.  There is refrigerator space and a microwave for campers' use but no real cooking facilities, so if you need to bring your own food, plan accordingly.  We occasionally have requests for organic food.  While the camp doesn't provide this, some of the local markets in Aptos do.

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How do I get there?

For detailed directions and information about Monte Toyon itself, please visit our Location page.

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How long will it take me to get there?

Be conservative!  Santa Cruz is approximately thirty miles from Silicon Valley. Aptos is eight miles south of Santa Cruz. Under ideal conditions, it's about an hour to get to camp from San Jose/Silicon Valley.  However, during rush hour on Friday (3:00-7:00 pm or later), it can take over two hours to get over the Santa Cruz Mountains from Silicon Valley, three hours from San Francisco, and even longer from the East Bay. Carpooling is encouraged at all times.  Note that you're interested in carpooling on your registration form, or contact us to get in touch with the hospitality coordinator.

If you're coming from San Francisco itself, you might want to consider the coast drive along CA Hwy 1.  Another popular alternative from the Silicon Valley area is to take CA-9, stop off for dinner in Santa Cruz, and then take Soquel Avenue south.  Both of these may take as long (if not longer) but make for a much calmer experience getting to camp.

When in doubt, it's always a good idea to consult or the Caltrans highway conditions for traffic information before you leave.

If you already live in the Santa Cruz or Monterey area, you may gloat now.

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What should I bring?

A full list will be included in your camper letter, but in general you should consider bringing:

  • Bedding - you will need pillow(s) and a sleeping bag, or sheets and blankets for a twin bed (be generous - it can get cold at night)
  • Towels
  • Fragrance-free soap, shampoo, &c
  • Any medications, (if you need refrigeration for medications, tell the registrar!)
  • Earplugs (beware the snoring roommate)
  • Mug, cup, Waterford crystal or other drinking vessel (we accept no liability for breakage)
  • Good working flashlight and batteries ('nuff said)
  • Umbrella (just in case)
  • Sweaters, jacket, or other warm clothes
  • Wet-weather footwear (just in case of mud)
  • Dance shoes (preferably leather soled; you might want to consider pairs with different gripping for various floor conditions)
  • An extra pair to wear around camp (some like to have shower sandals, too)
  • Stories and songs
  • Musical instruments (jam sessions pop up at the strangest times and places)
  • Sheet music, tune books, song books, dance cards
  • Refreshment/pot-luck contributions
  • Your usual accoutrements

For any last-minute or forgotten items, there's a shopping center with a Safeway just off the freeway in Aptos, about 10 minutes drive from camp.

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What do you mean by dance shoes?

Briefly, it means “shoes for dancing in” as opposed to others you may have.

Dance shoes are dance(r)- and floor-friendly shoes.

If you normally wear very slippery leather soles, cleats, or rubber soles that pick up a lot of rocks/pebbles that can scratch the floor, you want to bring a 2nd pair of shoes that are nice to and don’t damage the hardwood floor.

Some folks have an extra pair that provide better ankle and arch support. Others may simply include special in-soles as needed.

Also because the grounds can be a bit muddy if there’s rain, it's just a good idea bring 2 pairs – one to get around in, and a more pristine pair for on the dance floor. We’re not asking you to wear Capezios.  We just want to ensure the best dancing and floor-surface experience for everyone.

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What do I do when I get to camp?

Check-in for camp starts 5pm, Friday, at Helgasson Hall.  If you arrive sooner, congratulations - you just volunteered to help set up camp!  See the volunteer coordinator immediately.

There will be someone to greet you and show you where and how to park.  Parking spaces are very limited, so if you are asked to move your car closer to others, kindly comply.  As a kindness to our neighbors, turn off your car alarm.

The first thing to do is stop in Helgesson Hall (also called the main dance hall) to check in.  You will receive a camp map with your camper confirmation letter to help you identify this building.  Bring along your registration confirmation letter, identification, and if you have any monies due, please have them ready.  Pick up your registration materials, including badges, your housing assignment, any additional maps, the program schedule, and any other information.  If you have any questions about camp, this is a good time to ask.

Please wear your badge at all times during camp, and especially at the evening dances.

If you have any personal food items, you can store them in the campers' refrigerator behind and to the side of the stage.  If you have any pot-luck contributions, talk to the Grand Poo-Bah of Potluck, who will help you put them in the kitchen of the Program Office (see the camp map).

You may need to move your car to another parking lot, depending on where you are lodging. The volunteer in the lot will point you in the right direction.

If you drove, we'll give you a "car registration" form (if it wasn't given to you in the parking lot).  Please  fill it out with your name, and rooming location, and put it on the dashboard of your car, viewable through the window, so we can find you if your car misses you.

Once you have your check-in package and room assignment, go ahead and unpack.  There are a few carts for taking items between the main parking lot and the dorms.  If you use one, please return it to the main lot.  There's also a separate parking lot closer to the Miller and Morris dorms if that's where you're staying.

Use this as a chance to get "the lay of the land" for the camp.  You'll quickly relax into the wonderful surroundings.

If you haven't eaten dinner, hanging around the registration area is a good way to find others to join for dinner back in town. Monte Toyon is only a couple of miles from the center of Aptos, even though it seems far off in the woods.

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