Texas Camp 2011: That’s a Wrap

TIFD’s 64th Texas Camp was held over Thanksgiving weekend, 2011. Campers gathered at Greene Family Camp near Waco, Texas, for four wonderful days of international folk dance classes, song and music, plus parties, feasts, fellowship and fun.

The charming, high-energy team of Cristian Florescu and Sonia Dion presented masterful classes in line and couple dances from Romania, a culture session and an international folk dance class for kids. With their friendly, participatory style, Cristian and Sonia were a huge hit at Texas Camp 2007 and again in 2011. For more information on these dynamic teachers, visit them online at www.soniacristian.net.

There was much great live music at Texas Camp 2011, produced under the guidance of coordinator Joane Rylander. Don Weeda directed this year’s Texas Camp Band in concentrating on standards and favorites from the international folk repertoire, making joyous music that kept the dancers on their feet.  Shirley Johnson (www.vjeverica.com) led the Camp Chorus in serenading the camp with a vibrant variety of tunes from different cultures. Texas Campers were treated to even more fine dance music from the Slavadillo ensemble, and delighted in the Cajun dance tunes provided by the accomplished duo of Steve and Donna Bing.

Chef Laura LaGue worked her tasty magic for hungry dancers, presenting a traditional Thanksgiving feast, delectable ethnic meals, hearty breakfasts and snacks, and tempting desserts. Balkan Bazaar made its 15th return to Texas Camp to offer folk-friendly treasures, including music, dance clothing, costumes, textiles, jewelry, footwear and more (www.balkanbazaar.com).

The literal foundation of all our dancing at Texas Camp is the amazing portable wood dance floor, installed and maintained with much labor by many hands, under the direction of floor czars John Alexander and Mike Revesz. Equally vital to the Texas Camp experience is the ceaseless labor of the sound crew, led by Bruce Bostwick, with assistance from Jo Soto.

In the brand-new Rewind Sessions, expert local dance teachers reprised some Texas Camp favorites, to refresh them for longtime fans and introduce them to new ones. On the menu in this inaugural run were Kopacka, taught by Franklin Houston, and Hategana, taught by Chris Broad and Katie Guymon.

This year’s Afternoon Delights included the debut of Alternative Hour, programmed by Anne Alexander, Holly Plotner, and Don Weeda and featuring alternative versions of familiar tunes and/or familiar dances done to alternative tunes; the popular Contra Session with tunes by local favorites, The Homegrown Contra Band; and an expanded, 90-minute Bruceville Roadhouse, a honky-tonk session of couple dances from all over the timeline and the map, programmed by Mike BelaBob Revesz, Misi “Buck” Tsurikov, Kathy JoBob Yoder and LisaBeth Horn.

Evening parties are a focus of fun at Texas Camp. Thursday’s Wild West—Yeehaw! party was full of saloon girls, cowboys and other varmints. For Friday’s Romanian Holiday, the scene changed to hues of red, black and white, set off by the shimmer of coins. In response to Saturday’s theme, It’s a Small World: An International Bash, the dance hall filled with color and costume from all over the globe.

Throughout the weekend, the children of Texas Camp enjoyed the Family Support Program, a series of supervised activities directed by Brenda Benton, including arts and crafts, a piñata party, an ice cream social, and a glow parade.

It was a lovely four days. As we enjoy the memories, TIFD is already at work on Texas Camp 2012 – we invite you to join us!

Many, many volunteers give generously of their time and expertise to bring Texas Camp into being each year; it takes a village to raise a camp! Heartfelt thanks go out to them all.

Lisa Horn and Kathleen Yoder
Co-Chairs, Texas Camp Committee 2011