One of the things I absolutely love about the dance world is that it is filled with interesting characters. No where else in my life do I find such a density of people who are doing genuinely interesting things. People from all walks of life. In different stages of their lives, going through different things in their professional and relationship worlds. The spectrum of possible experiences is vast. I enjoy this.
Now, if you put a bunch of these people together for a dance retreat weekend, the results are magic.
Allow me to set the stage. Dance retreat weekends are dance events that take place far from everyday, civilized life. They are usually held away from urban areas. Sometimes the setting is a beautiful, natural environment. Sometimes it’s at an old, charming building. But always it is something other than our modern, hectic world.
Imagine feasting with friends, sharing wine with somebody new, and then dancing until the dawn breaks. All in a romantic, rustic palace in the countryside. Sounds nice, no?
In addition to the specialness of the physical location, there is a sense of community building that comes with retreat weekends. They are rarely micro-managed by the organizers. Instead, attendees understand that they will be expected to contribute to the production of the event. There is a great diversity of jobs that need to be done to make a dance retreat weekend work, so everyone finds something that they can help with. Kitchen detail, DJs, workshop leading, decoration, fire building, the list goes on and on…
After arriving, everyone scuttles around, exploring the space, learning what is what and who is who. It can sometimes be a little intimidating, like the first day of class at a new school. Like all other primates, we are social animals, and we have a need for finding our place within the tribe. Me? I like washing dishes.
Anybody who has worked in a kitchen knows that without a good dish washer, things don’t go smoothly. The flow gets clogged up, the chef gets angry, the servers get frustrated, and ultimately the diners themselves suffer. A good dish washer will keep a watchful eye on the kitchen to make sure everyone gets what they need before they even know they need it. A dish washer’s job isn’t just to make sure that the dirty dishes get cleaned, their job is to make sure that the creators in the kitchen have they tools they need to create. I enjoy this.
There’s one retreat weekend that I have in mind at the moment. It is Open Blues Fusion Hangout and Festival, which is coming up in August. I attended last year and found my place in the kitchen. This year I cannot wait to see everyone again and meet many more new, and very interesting, characters from the dance world.
Registration opened this past weekend and I claimed my spot. You better hurry if you want to claim yours. See ya in the kitchen and on the dance floor.
Interested in reading more about Open Blues? I interviewed one of the organizers, Konrad Urban last fall. Check it out!