Summer Dance Camp

Summer Dance Camp
Since the mid-nineties, NCDC has been hosting Summer Dance Camp events every summer (with the exception of Summer 2020 due to Covid). These events have typically been 9 days long and are a broad blend of workshops, sharing beautiful organic meals, dancing day and night in multiple venues, swimming in a lake, cultivating new connections and exploring the richness that comes with living in community.  Below find some details that provide a taste of what we offer at our Summer Dance Camps!
 
 
A Day At Summer Camp

Roll out of your tent or cabin in the cool of the morning and start with yoga at the pavilion by the lake. (Or sleep in, if you’ve been up late dancing!) Amble, awake now, up the path to the pine-nestled dining hall for breakfast. Hang, chat, chew and choose one of two or three morning classes from your camp program — maybe contact improv down at the pavilion, or a gentle, transformative breathwork session in the refuge of the Nirvana Cabana, or perhaps an exhilarating leap into African dance in the dining hall.

Shower (or jump in the lake!) and get ready for a healthy and colorful lunch and whatever the day might bring next. After lunch, check out one of the camper-led activities, go for a hike, or take a nap on the beach. Maybe it’s time to do your work-exchange shift, or maybe you’ll just sit and chat with friends. It’s all part of the dance.
 

In the late afternoon, there’s another class session where you’ll be faced with more difficult choices about which yummy thing you’d most like to do. Spontaneous events, music jams, art projects, and rituals of all stripes can spring up at any time — feel free to instigate!

 

Then make sure you get back to the dining hall in time for dinner, followed by a community performance event where you get to relax and see what talents you and your fellow campers wish to share with the community, or live music provided by professional musicians. After drinking in the sunset, you might find yourself lifted onto your feet by the gentle rhythms of the opening deejay…and the evening dance begins. Dance deep into the night, until there’s just no more dancing to be done…until tomorrow!

We invite you to dance, play, connect, celebrate, and get inspired and renewed with us as we co-create a dance village for nine days in the southern Sierras, with daytime classes in a wide range of dance modalities as well as yoga, music, and art, and all kinds of great evening events. Relax, sun yourself by the lake, go for a swim or a canoe ride, play frisbee or volleyball, make new friends and talk with old ones – there’s a wide range of experiences available to newcomers and returning campers alike.

 

In addition to our great schedule of classes led by professional teachers, there are lots of opportunities for performing as well as for camper-led activities, relaxation, and evening DJ’ed dances. As always, there will be a great Kids Camp program for the little ones to keep them happy and engaged while their parents take classes or just relax by the lake. We will once again have delicious, organic meals that will excite your taste buds and meet your specific dietary needs, prepared by our professional chefs.

Come for all nine days and take full advantage of all the experience has to offer, or join us for just a few days, if that’s all your schedule permits. We have a sliding scale in our registration fees plus a young adult rate to make sure camp is accessible. Work-exchange and some partial scholarships are available if you need additional help to get to camp.

In this unique retreat space, you get to dance, play, connect with other dancers, and enjoy the beauty of nature. After a few days, you’ll find yourself dropping into a sweet space that will heal your soul and invigorate spirit. Many of us wish it would never end! After our closing circle, we take these good feelings and new friends home with us and find ourselves looking at the world in new ways.

Our Village Grounds

The beauty of nature and (some of) the comforts of home. Camp Hye Sierra is a secluded, rustic camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 10 miles from Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, 50 miles east of Fresno. It’s equally accessible from the Bay Area and Los Angeles, with travel times of about 4 ½ hours. Camp Hye Sierra is an old-fashioned group camping facility located on 160 acres at 4,300 feet elevation. Days are warm and sunny. Nights are cool to cold and the stars are amazing. You can enjoy the privacy of your own tent, share a group cabin with bunk beds (12 or 16-person capacity per cabin), or bring your camper/trailer.

All cabins have electricity. Modern bathrooms are nearby with hot showers – a must for energetic dancers! The camp has a dining hall with a full kitchen where the meal staff do their magic and meet a wide range of dietery needs, so you don’t have to worry about packing or preparing food. (There is a refrigerator available for storing extra food items, if you must bring them, but keep in mind the refrigerator is shared by all of camp.

Camp Hye Sierra also offers all the traditional outdoor activities. Hike when you need to be alone or clear your mind. Meditate by a still lake to start or end the day. At the swimming lake you can rest on the warm, sunny beach, paddle a canoe, swim, play volleyball, or join a singing or drumming circle.

An inviting container for dance. NCDC volunteers convert Camp Hye Sierra spaces into three great dancing venues, including sprung wooden dance floors in the lodge and the open air pavilion by the lake. For cozy events, we also have the sumptuous Nirvana Cabana, a pillow-lined tent space. All three venues are fitted with great sound systems and beautiful decorations.

No distractions so you can relax deeply. While you are picturing this great environment, imagine a few days or a whole week with no cell phones, laptops, or other modern distractions. Now you can really dive into the dance camp experience (but if you really need to connect to the outside world, there are ways to do so).

Mix in a healthy dose of outdoor fun. The great joy of dancing in a camp setting is being able to mix in all the great outdoor and camp activities whenever you want. Camp Hye Sierra is about 10 miles from Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park, with many opportunities for wilderness adventures.

 

Our Village Activities: The Program 
Daytime Classes

A wide range of styles, with something for everyone. Each year we bring in professional teachers to lead classes that provide a wide variety of opportunities and experiences. Whether you have years of experience or two left feet, you’ll find a place in each class and an opportunity to express yourself.

Classes are scheduled to meet your needs and energy level. We offer inner-directed dance and movement styles such as Authentic Movement, Soul Motion™, contact improvisation, and 5Rhythms™, as well as high energy, more structured classes such as African dance and hip-hop, plus partner dance forms such as fusion and tango, and non-dance classes including singing, breathwork, and yoga.

Evening Dances

Dance as if no one is watching. Our nighttime dances are where you can do your own dance, by yourself or with others, as your spirit moves you. It’s an improvisational dance to a wide variety of deejayed music based on simple ideas and values:
 

  • We each have the freedom to dance as we feel, on our own, with a partner, or with a group.

  • Be open and respectful while being mindful of your boundaries and those of others.

  • No judgments.

  • Be open, playful, and ready to be surprised.

  • Dance is a great path for connection to yourself and others.
     

Music to move you. Music to challenge you. Expect the unexpected. Anything from funk, world, house, electronica, blues, pop, rock, and acid jazz, to downtempo, late-night sultry music, not to mention the occasional Sinatra, jig, chant, or line dance. Each DJ picks their own music, so the music flows from their tastes and their connection to the dancers; music in the Nirvana Cabana is generally more downtempo than in the main hall. Whether it’s easy or challenging for you, you’ll find yourself doing more dancing to more types of music than you ever believed possible. It’s all part of the celebration.

Other Evening Events
  • Camper-Led Activities – some afternoons will include time for our fellow campers to lead an activity or facilitate an event. By tapping into the amazing talents within our community, we can offer even more diverse and creative options for growing, dancing, connecting, and playing.

  • Family Jam – an after-dinner opportunity to dance with kids of all ages in a safe environment.

  • Spontaneous events – The lake is a focal point during the day. Located by the pavilion, there is sometimes music in the classes there, and classes occasionally spontaneously pour into the lake. Lots of singing happens after meals outside the dining hall, so if you’re a musician or singer, you’ll feel right at home.