Programme & Activities
The main focus of Camp are the Dances of Universal Peace, as experienced around the world. You can also enjoy early morning Sufi practices, participant-led workshops, kirtan, singing, drumming, free dancing, story telling, nurturing, yoga, and a fun program for children - or just take time out to be in bliss within heart-centred community.
Early morning Sufi practices - a great way to start your day at Dance Camp. Breathing and sound practices, working with the five elements and meditation to reconnect with our breath supports one to become more centered and ready for the day. Practises are lead by Murshida Jamila Cranston-Buckley, Sufi teacher and lineage holder for the Inayati Sufi Order Aotearoa New Zealand. For more information about sufism see http://sufinz.com/
Morning Circle follows after breakfast. This is a time for the Camp community to gather in the Marquee to hear about the day's programme, annoucements and other day to day information about camp. The meeting is followed by the Morning Dance Session.
Blissmillah Café - open every day in the afternoon from 2 - 3.45pm! It's a time to relax and socialise in the cosy atmosphere, to enjoy a meaningful conversation with your friends and indulge in wonderful home-made goodies, Coffee and Chai.
Every year the Auction has made a significant contribution to the Scholarship Fund. This is a tremendous resource that enables folks who are financially stretched to come to Camp who might not otherwise be able to. The divine quality of the auction is GENEROSITY. Generosity in both the donations of wonderful Goods and Services offered, and in the bidding for goods. It's also a lot of fun with Helen of Joy and assistants making this a fun and entertaining time for us all.
Camp participants kindly donate the items, such as...
Quality goods – something you really love but you’re ready to let go of (not your unwanted junk), an opportunity to practice abundance and non-attachment!
Offering Services like a therapeutic treatment, massage, manicure, healing, a reading, a weekend at your bach, or stay at your place after Camp! . . . these are all greatly appreciated. Allow your creativity to run wild!
Market Place (Sunday, January 8th)
If you have any goods/crafts for sale (e.g. art, crafts, jewellery), you are welcome to bring your own equipment to set up your stall in the designated area. It’s also a good idea to bring a cash float.
For the Artists: The hall is available for artists to display their creations which can also be for sale. Please email us if you would like to take up this opportunity. The hall will be used for early morning Sufi practices, kirtan, the auction and concert, and for workshops. At times there will be some recording happening here as well.
Storytelling is a magic art and a way to open the heart and share ourselves deeper in community
Late afternoon people begin to gather in the shade of the story telling tree on mats and cushions, wandering back from the river, afternoon naps or dance sessions. A feeling of anticipation, expectancy and excitement fills the air. Its story time! Adults and children alike settle down, a deep sense of comfort and ease in their bodies, as if they are already surrendered to the journey the stories will take them on. Magic carpets, talking animals, exotic cities, fearless girls and wise kings mingle with monsters, witches, and the north wind…and in and amongst it all, stories from peoples life experience crafted to express some universal truth that we can all recognise as our own.
The tradition of oral storytelling at Dance Camp started when Nina Hawkins and Rex McCann decided to offer stories for an hour some evenings between 5pm and 6pm before dinner in 2012. They had been training in storytelling and had many stories at their fingertips and some beautiful performances unfolded. They noticed a friend had some interest in story telling and helped him craft someof his life experience into a fine story. And thus began a tradition of participants preparing a story to tell when coming to camp, or being cajoled to prepare something and take the risk to tell. Now story telling is held by Rex, who sets the stage with some of his own stories and draws together interested tellers, and supporting those who want some direction in shaping their story. It has become a magic and heart-warming part of the camp life and loved by adults and children alike.
We warmly welcome children into our Heart-Family as they bring a real richness and joy to our community. Children have a dedicated activity and craft area where they can play and do activities if they wish during whole camp. A small team of dedicated and creative adults (supported by a parent roster) run a facilitated programme for 3 hours each morning.
Parents/caregivers, Children's Programme Co-ordinators and children meet in the Hall in the beginning of the camp to co-ordinate a roster to support children during the morning, and also to set up a parent roster to care for the children during the evening Dance sessions.
We are all invited to come to camp armed with games, board games, dress ups, tubes and water play gear, balls etc, and ideas for activities to share with the children. (Non-parents are welcome to take this opportunity to play too!)
While we encourage the whole community to look out for the safety and well-being of all children, the ultimate responsibility lies with their own parents and caregivers.
Children over 5 are encouraged to participate in the children’s programme each morning; under 5s are the responsibility of their parents.
The Marquee & Hall are sacred spaces and apart from the morning circle, they are not spaces for play or running around. Children are welcome to join in any dance sessions, and parents are asked to ensure that any children who are not dancing are able to respect the need for stillness and quiet. We want this to be an easy and comfortable time for everyone, so if you have children who are too young to be able to be fairly quiet, you may like to take it in turns with other parents to be with them outside of the dance space.
The river is outside the Camp boundary. Although fairly shallow, it can be quite fast flowing. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are supervised there at all times.
Usually in the afternoon, there is a special opportunity for everyone to experience devotional singing (or Kirtan). With the facilitation of a leader sacred space is created where everyone can easy tune in with the ancient chants and observe their mind coming into silence. Kirtan involves a leader singing the mantra, and the audience sings it back. A single chant can go on for up to forty minutes. As you sing with each other you experience a deep connection with the musicians, the other people and yourself.
Swimming, drumming, free dance, concert and other fun activities
While the day is structured around three main Dance Sessions (one in the morning, one mid-afternoon and one in the evening) there is time each day to swom, chat, read, or offer a workshop or propose any other fun or creative activity that is alive in you. Come with what you need, and put forward your offering to the community. For many the challenge is not to "do everything" and feel exhausted by the riches on offer! Pacing oneself is important.