Programme & Activities
The main focus at Dance Camp are the Dances of Universal Peace, as experienced around the world. You can also enjoy early morning Sufi practices, kirtan, a fun program for the children, and many participant-led workshops and activities including sing-alongs, drumming, free dancing, story telling, nurturing, yoga - 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 and hear about the day's programme, annoucements, and other day to day information about camp. This is followed by the Morning Dance Session.
Blissmillah Café - open in the afternoons, 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.
Craft Stalls and Brick-a-Brack Table
Every year creative camp participants are welcome to set up a stall to share their wares... space drums, jewlery, exotic clothing, soaps, lotions and more tempt camp-goers and restock their collections (in return for a small stall fee for the scholarship fund).
There is also a "brick-a-brack" table, featuring donated quality items from participants... the purchase of these items contributes to the Scholarship Fund, which enables folks who are financially stretched to come to Camp who might not otherwise be able to. We encourage you to come to camp with items to contribute, and lots of cash to spend!
Camp participants kindly donate items, such as...
Quality goods – something you really love but are now 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! Some items of higher value will be offered through a "silent auction" process.
If you have any goods/crafts for sale (e.g. art, crafts, jewellery), you are welcome to set up a stall in the designated area. It’s also a good idea to bring a cash float. Please notify Nigel if you wish to hold a stall (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For the Artists: A craft room is available for artists to display their creations which can also be for sale. Please email Nigel if you would like to take up this opportunity.
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, stirring from afternoon naps or revelling in the bliss a dance session. 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 people's 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 telling a story and helped him craft some of his life experience into a fine story too. 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 speak. Story telling is held by a key role holder who sets the stage with some of their own stories and draws together interested tellers, supporting those who want some direction in shaping their story. It is a magical and heart-warming part of camp life, loved by adults and children alike. Bring your stories to share!
We warmly welcome children into our Heart-Family as they bring 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 their whole time at camp. A small team of dedicated and creative adults (supported by a parent roster) run a facilitated programme for 3 hours each morning.
Parent Meeting: Parents/caregivers, Children's Programme Co-ordinators and children (and other willing adults) meet on Saturday morning to co-ordinate a roster that supports the children during the mornings of camp, and also allocate parent oversight to care for the older children during the evening Dance sessions. Please plan to attend this informative and important conversation.
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 5's remain the responsibility of their parents at all times.
The Marquee is a sacred space and, apart from the morning circle, not a space for play or running around.
Children are welcome to join any dance session, and parents are asked to ensure that children who are not dancing are able to respect the need for stillness and quiet around the Marquee. 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.
Some afternoons there is a special opportunity 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 singing it back. A single chant can go on for up to forty minutes. As you sing with each other you may 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 swim, chat, read, 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 to not feel compelled to "do everything" and then experience exhausted by the riches on offer! Pacing oneself is important.
Leaving the Site
The tranquality and cohesiveness of our community will be impacted by comings and goings throughout the day/evening. We ask that as much as possible you plan to come away with us, and stay on site for the duration of your time at Dance Camp.