February 22nd, 2011

Happy President’s Day! Even though it’s the dead of winter and September seems a long way off, we here in YDW Committee Land have been busy getting ready for Youth Dance Weekend 2011. We want to keep you in the loop about our plans and ideas in the hopes that you’ll be as excited as we are about this year’s weekend.

Save the Dates

Without further ado, get out your pens, crayons, smart phones, or google accounts and mark your calendars: September 16-18, 2011 are the dates for the next Youth Dance Weekend We’ve got a great lineup of performers this year, including:
– Andrew and Noah Van Norstrand doing their funky thing
– Anadama (Amelia Mason, Emily Troll, and Bethany Waickman) rocking out
– Maggie Jo Saylor calling contras
– Rebecca Lay leading English and Money Musk
– Aaron Marcus joining in on piano and concertina
– Double Apex (Julie Vallimont and Brendan Carey Block) playing live techno contra – more on that below.
Registration for YDW 2011 will open in May. Keep an eye on our web site or our Facebook Group for updates on registration.
For more info on the 2011 staff take a look at our performer page.

Committee Member Changes

After working really hard for the last three years helping to run successively better organized weekends, Maggie Zander and Brian Gallagher have decided to step down from the Committee. We wish them much awesomeness wherever life takes them, and we fully expect to see them on the dance floor in September.
Also, we’d like to welcome a couple of new faces to the YDW organizing committee: Margaret Youngberg and Max Newman have joined us to lend a hand and add their many talents to the process of planning and running YDW. We’re psyched to work with them.
For committee photos and bios head over to our new Committee page.

Clarifying the Mission

As a Committee we’ve been spending a lot of time recently thinking about the purpose of YDW and what we hope to accomplish by putting on this weekend. Obviously, having a great time dancing together is and has always been at the top of the list. When we started YDW in 2008 we were trying to answer the question: Can we have a dance weekend that’s appealing and affordable to young people? The answer – which all of you have helped us prove – is a resounding YES. Accessibility to youth also continues to be one of our biggest goals.
Now, as we head towards our fourth YDW, we’ve clarified another goal that’s really important to us: providing opportunities for young people to develop skills related to the dance community. By skills we mean a wide range of things – playing music, calling dances, organizing events, cooking for large groups of people, doing sound, sweeping the floors (seriously, that’s really important), and of course, dancing. In other words, we want to help folks who attend YDW get better at everything that makes traditional dance and music happen, and to enable us all to contribute more to the vibrancy of our communities.
Over the years we’ve tried to fulfill this goal in a variety of ways – the Bread and Butter discussions, the Master Class, late night open-mics, dance style workshops, musician and caller classes, camper volunteer jobs, and an emphasis on hiring young performers. We plan to continue and refine many of these traditions in future years.  We will also create more opportunities for teaching, learning, connecting, and discussing. All in the context, of course, of a weekend full of totally bodacious music and dancing.
For more info about the goals of YDW you can visit our new mission statement page.

Techno contra

First, a little history: Techno contra at YDW sprang up totally impromptu the first year; we on the Committee didn’t even know about it until we saw the video. (Thanks, Forrest!) After that video made the rounds online, a lot of people came to associate YDW with techno contra, even though as a committee we’ve never specifically organized a techno contra set. In 2009 and 2010 techno contra happened late on Saturday night thanks to some highly motivated campers. We’re psyched about their enthusiasm, and we know many of you really enjoyed those sets. However, we also noticed that techno contra was in direct competition with the open mic slots for live musicians and callers. That troubled us, since providing opportunities for live performers is a really important part of our mission, and something that we want everyone at YDW to support.
Because we want to make sure that both open mic time and techno contra can happen at YDW, this year we’re trying something slightly different: live techno contra after midnight on Friday, courtesy of Double Apex (Julie Vallimont and Brendan Carey Block). Yes, live! Yes, Friday! Double Apex deliciously fuses traditional tunes played live on fiddle and piano with loops, beats, synths, and samples of your favorite pop songs, while interacting with the caller and keeping tabs on the dancers. It’s different from the techno contra that’s happened so far at YDW, but we think it’s gonna be excellent.
Along with that, we’ll schedule more open mic opportunities (like the Master Class) for Saturday daytime, and other non-dance activities for Saturday night (think: singing, jamming, silly games, food fights [just kidding], longer sauna hours, etc.)
You can keep tabs on the schedule page as we update plans for YDW 2011.

English Dancing at YDW

We want take a moment to address the important role that English Country Dancing has at YDW. English dancing is an integral part of the weekend – usually about one third of our evening dances and one hour on Saturday morning. Lots of members of the YDW community love ECD because it offers a wide range of tempos, meters, and moves that challenge and inspire us as dancers. Participating in ECD informs the way we move on the dance floor for all types of dancing; it makes us more aware of ourselves as we relate to the music and other dancers and gives all of us an opportunity to expand our comfort zones and broaden our dance fluency. Not to mention that it’s really, really fun! If you’ve never danced English before, if you’ve had less-than-stellar ECD experiences, or if you’re totally skeptical, we think you’ll find that with a friendly, goofy, exuberant crowd; fantastic, creative, rocking music; and great teaching and calling, English at YDW is a blast.

 New Web Site

You may have noticed that scattered throughout this newsletter are links to some new sections of our web site. We hope you’ll take some time to explore our recently updated and revamped web site, which includes a great deal of useful info, lots of photos, resources from the Bread and Butter discussion, recipes, and more. When it comes time to register, we’ll have a streamlined registration process, and more interesting stuff to come. We hope you like it!
New web site, same address: http://www.youthdanceweekend.org/

Keep in Touch

The YDW committee welcomes your ideas, suggestions, rants, and raves. If you have thoughts about how to make YDW more awesome (or anything else), please get in touch: info@youthdanceweekend.org
We’re looking forward to an excellent YDW 2011! We hope to see you there.
The YDW Committee
Rebecca Lay, Julia Nickles, Max Newman, Margaret Youngberg, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Sarah Pilzer