I attended west coast circle dance camp at the end of June, in Aptos, California at Monte Toyon Camp. This event, now in its 23 year, draws people from California and all over the world. Sacred circle dance is ancient, traditional, and modern dance from around the world, danced to a variety of music. The dances are done in circles, obviously. Most are group dances in that everyone is doing the same movement, but a few are partner dances where you interact with one person and then move around the circle to the next. The purpose of the dance, for me, is centering in myself, and enjoying the presence and energy of the other dancers. Some of the dances, in both movement and music, transport me to other times and places.
I’m no longer a regular circle dancer, so I find many of the dances to be challenging, and it wakes my brain up trying to learn a new or seldom done dance and keep up with those who dance regularly. But this is balanced by some old and dear dances that my body can do without much conscious thought at all.
Though there are many wonderful people at the camp, I particularly enjoy some people I’ve been dancing with for years, including Dave, Sienna, Heather, David, and organizers John and Marina.
Dance camp is hosted by the bay area circle dancers. I have been attended about every other year for about 10 years, including 2011 at Valley of the Moon Camp in Sonoma county, and earlier dances at Camp Far Horizons in the Sierra near Kings Canyon National Park. The group dances regularly in El Cerrito and at other places in the bay area.
Monte Toyon Camp, up a canyon our of Aptos, is one of the Web of Life Field School locations at which I worked off and on for many years, so being back at the camp is very special.