Is it possible for a ten-day camp to inspire people to live happier healthier and more sustainable lifestyles? When people come together to celebrate life, love and creativity something magical happens, especially when the place they come to meet in is a beautiful natural environment.
Many people come together at Dance Camp Wales to learn and share skills of dance, arts and perhaps more importantly the fundamental basics of living collectively. The camp is held on an organic farm and has been running for twenty-seven years. Over 600 people come together to celebrate life in a field in south west Wales. The feeling on the camp is one of community and fun.
For many people coming here, this is a time offering spontaneity and creativity, while stepping away from life's daily routine, computers, mobile phones and work deadlines. This break is an opportunity for all here to reconnect with the natural world, their bodies and others.
Most events are acoustic and take place without stages, thus encouraging everyone to get involved: there are no spectators here. The camp's ethos promotes collective sustainability, uses renewable energy and also hosts a permaculture area. This area has a large composting bay and is the setting for several workshops, including what to grow in the garden, how to compost, raising children with awareness, nappy free babies and housing co-ops.
Amongst the vast choice of daily activities are dancing, music, creative arts, a well being area, kid's kitchen, crèche, sauna and a delicious vegetarian café. You will also find hot showers, compost toilets and a shop for your groceries. The evenings are full of magic as people chat, laugh and share stories around the fire, or take part in social events at the cafe or big top.
And now what about the dancing? The dance options vary every year. The circle dance remains the gentle pulse of the event with sweet music and gentle moves reoccurring three or more times a day. Other familiars that keep others moving and grooving are jive, hip hop, belly dance, African dance, flamenco are to mention a few. It is important to realise that, yes this is a dance camp but actually one doesn't need to dance to attend (although it is hoped that the lure of the music, laughs and smiles on peoples faces will draw some of the less willing to indulge).
The creative corner offers many making activities for all the family, including felt making, small stools, t-shirt decorating and more. Amongst the musical options are Tazie and natural voice singing, drumming and the dance camp bands for circle dance or rock and roll.
The well being area offers a chance to connect with various therapies and time for stillness. A moon lodge and being lodge are available as peaceful places away from the busyness of camp activities.
Money for the most part, is discouraged during the event itself. There is a tab system at the café and all the dance, arts and musical activities are included in ticket price. This allows dance campers to be free of change in their pockets and possibly encourages a time that we can experience the freedom without necessity of money.
The family spirit is big here, with all ages included in the fun, from new-borns, to teenagers and adults alike: "Dance camp is a time of the year I know we can experience community as it actually can be; fulfilling, dynamic and sustainable if only for ten days, this times is so precious." If the camp leaves a lasting impression on expressing your family then nurture the gift of art by looking for tutors in dance or painting, such as those on takelessons.com.
Dance Camp Wales holds a key for many to reconnect and rejuvenate aspects of their lives. The sweet music, natural setting and time spent with each other can bring about transformation. Often the friendships made on the field last a lifetime.
It is events like Dance Camp Wales that gives people the chance they need to explore areas of their lives that are very often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the everyday life. Long live the community events that support growth and sustainability of individuals and encourage community. These times of celebration help the journey of life be fully alive and nourished.
Emma has long been involved in projects located around the world. She moved to Scotland and travelled as far as Australia to work on inspiring community projects which focused on reconnection and re-enchantment with the land, animals, plants and people. She now enjoys working on community projects in south-west Wales, where she lives with her family. To see more of what Emma gets up to visit www.placesthatheal.wordpress.com and www.largepuppets.wordpress.com