YDW: Stuff We Think About

Howdy!  Here is where you can read all about our snazzy new project!  Here’s the skinny:

YDWStuffWe are looking for ways to showcase all the individual voices and perspectives at YDW in a way they may be accessible to the broader community. In that spirit, we are launching an on-going project we are calling (for the moment) “YDW: Stuff We Think About.” The first thing we are taking on is to produce a collaborative documentary at Youth Dance Weekend 2015.
This documentary will be headed up by a documentary team, consisting of Mary Wesley, Lauren Lamont and Wren Droege.  Primarily through video, but also some other forms of media and expression, we are looking to capture the spirit and thoughts of the current generation of contra and English dancers coming together at YDW 2015.  Some kinds of questions we’ll consider:

  • What’s happening at YDW?  Who’s here and why did they come?
  • What is important to us about our dance communities and traditions (both at home and at YDW)?  What changes do we want to see?
  • How are we attempting to deliberately place ourselves within these growing/evolving traditions? (Or not!)
  • How do we navigate the relationship between tradition and innovation?

These broad questions are a starting point, but really it’s you who will guide and create the content we collect.  This is a collaborative documentary, meant to include and engage the YDW cohort in telling our own stories.  This means you’ll be both answering, and asking the questions; both being recorded and doing the recording.  In fact, there are a lot of ways you can be involved, so please read on and consider how you want to be a part of YDW: Stuff We Think About!

Before Camp

  • Introduce yourself and document your journey: YDW starts with YOU – people who come from far and wide.  Use your smartphone (or device of your choice) to snap moments, which introduce you and tell a bit of your journey to YDW.  We don’t need a blow-by-blow, just capture the highlights: your car, packed to the brim; the cheers of your carpool as you pull out of the driveway, your walk through the airport to get on the plane, etc.  In addition to travel moments, we’d also love you to take us inside your head.  Record a pre-camp interview, either of yourself or of your friends.  Think of it as making a video diary entry…tell us what you’re thinking about pre-YDW.  Is it your first time?  What are you looking forward to?  Why are you coming?
  • How to share? Post photos and videos to the YDW Facebook group. You’ll see a few committee members sharing their experiences in the coming week.

During Camp

  • Be interviewed: We will have a “story booth” set up at camp where Lauren, Mary and Wren will be collecting interviews.  You can sign-up for a short time-slot, by yourself or with others, to come tell us what’s on your mind.  We’ll start with some of the broader questions listed above, but think of it as an open-source interview – you could take it anywhere you want it to go.  The story booth will be staffed by the YDW documentary sub-committee, using our personal equipment.  We will also provide quiet space for you to make your own interviews with your own gear if you so chose.
  • Capture other moments at camp: Throughout the weekend, Lauren, Mary and Wren will be dedicated to collecting interviews and taking footage of activities around camp.  But you are our collaborators, so we invite you to do some of your own filming, interviewing and documenting as well.  We will be setting up an online submission process to gather footage after the weekend is over, so at camp, just focus on capturing memorable moments and illustrative instances etc.
  • Something else? The bottom line is – we came up with this idea: let’s make a documentary at YDW 2015.  But again, YDW begins with YOU, so please take this idea and run with it.  We also want to stress your contributions do not have to be in audio/video/photo form.  Please express yourself in any way that feels good to you…writing, drawing, sculpture, songwriting, knitting, haikus…anything goes!  We will have a physical submission box on site at camp as well as a place to receive digital submissions post-weekend.
  • Are you documentary-inclined? Perhaps you already have some documentary skills (photo, video, audio or otherwise), even some cool gear that you like to use?  Please get in touch with Mary, Wren, and Lauren if you would like to volunteer some of your time and skills to help out with documentary-making.

After Camp?

You might be wondering what we’re going to DO with all the wonderful footage, stories and submissions we collect.  The short answer is: lots of things!  Lauren, Mary and Wren will be making a final, edited video, of some length, that will be distributed for free, online, sometime before YDW 2016.  However, we know that we will end up with far more material than we could even include in a video of reasonable length – so we also envision other outlets for sharing the riches. YDW: Stuff We Think About could become a blog, an online mini-series, a travelling museum exhibit, a time-capsule…we just don’t know yet.  Like all aspects of this project, we welcome your thoughts and ideas on the subject.

Other Considerations

How does this affect our time together at camp?

We want to complement, rather than detract from, the present moment and the many opportunities for real-time connection that arise at a dance weekend.  We want you to participate, but we’re not expecting you to forego dancing, singing, or just lying around in the September sun in order to do so.  Please participate in documentary-making in whatever way feels organic to you.  Self-reflection and community discussion is a key component of YDW and we see this project as an extension of those things.  We like experiments, so this year we’re trying something different to accomplish that goal.

Hey – what if I don’t want to be filmed and/or recorded?

You don’t have to be!  Per the YDW Code of Conduct, we are dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.  We will be asking everyone at the weekend to either sign a release form stating that you are ok with being photographed or recorded, OR to opt-out of the release form (meaning you do not wish to be filmed, photographed or recorded – and you may specify any and all of those things as they apply to you).

We’re excited about this, and hope you are too.  Feel free to share thoughts, questions, concerns, ideas etc. with Mary at marystilleywesley@gmail.com.

And don’t forget to take a moment to check out – and maybe contribute to – the YDW Facebook group.

Your Documentary Team: