Stories from Splashdance

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Volunteering: Robert and Beth Reichert

When we moved to Asheville, we learned about SplashDance, Asheville's all volunteer dance weekend. An "all volunteer" dance weekend was a first for us, after spending the previous 26 years in New England. Beth and I ran the Hartford, Connecticut, contra dance for eight years, and our dance had just two dance evenings each year where the band and the caller volunteered, but never a whole dance weekend where everyone volunteered. We have been to almost every dance weekend in New England, but to my knowledge, none was all volunteer all the time -- SplashDance is unique.

Because Splashdance was "all volunteer" the price was lower than any other dance weekend, but the catch was that everyone had to volunteer to help with some job during the weekend. We liked the low price, but frankly, we did not want to spend our weekend time doing a job, which typically means working 1 to 3 hours. But we complied with the requirement, and volunteered for "set-up," before SplashDance officially began on Friday evening. And we are very glad we did. Working to make SplashDance happen made us feel connected to the dance community.

The volunteer experience was simple enough and well-directed by knowledgeable people, and we enjoyed meeting many of those in the Asheville dance community while we worked. Because we helped make SplashDance happen, the weekend was a special treat for us in many ways.

Yes, volunteering to do a job will take a little time, but it will be worth it, and it will be a fun part of the weekend experience.

Well-mannered young dancers: Nancy MacDonald

The kids here, the teens and twenty-somethings, have such good manners! Good eye-contact, they give weight, they dance with everybody - it’s so refreshing.

Lovely camp: Kerry Wilson

Best moment: Walking to one of the wonderful waltz sessions, looking out at the lake. So beautiful, so peaceful, so perfect.

Decisions, decisions: AnneMarie Walter

It's hard to decide what I liked best...

  • Yoga under the trees
  • The English Country dance session
  • or playing with the band for the FIRST TIME EVER!

Medical brace: J Benton Reid

...so there I am, only tapping my toes and wishing I could dance, no matter how awkwardly with the silly boot. But that's kinda dangerous for myself and others; the darn thing is unwieldy and sometimes has a mind to make me stumble. I wouldn't miss SplashDance--- all the wonderful people that come, old friends and new. . . .

So the Goodest Part? When someone sat next to me in the dance hall, and asked "Can I sit this one out with you?" And we chatted. It was good to still be included.

Moments: Bob and Patty Tatum

Sitting at the picnic table after Saturday dinner near the dining room and jamming with our friends Steve & Mary while various folks stopped by to listen.

OK, one more...Grabbing random friends and making them put on funny props and pose in the photo booth with us.

Welcome: Eileen Raney

I loved everything about your splashdance!!!! It was my first and I have only been doing Contra dancing for a few months.

I was overwhelmed by the number of people dancing on the first night and I mainly watched, to make sure I could do what they were doing!!!

I came by myself and everyone was friendly and made me feel welcome. I left with new friends.

Old friend: Jennifer Baarson

I loved being able to reconnect with my friend from DC. It was wonderful seeing her excitement at visiting the camp she use to go to as a child. I also loved getting to know the wonderful members of your beautiful community.

Kids' Parade: Judith Muse

I was getting ready to go to the evening dance, and a parade of children and adults came by my cabin twice! They were delightfully dressed-up, playing and singing If you're happy and you know it. I was so touched that I went out on my landing and cheered and sang along. When i arrived at the dance, I realized that they were going to join in with the first few dances - wonderful!!!

Kids' Parade, behind the scenes: Lindsay Morris

Beth had set up a kids’ grand march to the Saturday night dance. But we hadn't worked out any details... In fact, Diane told me half an hour before, “Gee, I kind of missed that the first dances were supposed to be kid-friendly, and it’s all programmed now… sorry … not sure what to do…”

Hmmmm ... what to do ... it's 7:30 already... think think think ...

I went to the childcare place where the kids had gathered with their banners and decorations. They eventually settled on a song, and started the parade to the gym. I raced on ahead, realized waltzing was still in progress. I asked the waltz band if they could play a contra dance tune, any tune ... Yes! OK then...

I ran back and intercepted the parade, sent them around another loop to waste some time…

Ran back and asked the waltz crowd to applaud the kids when they arrived …

Cued up the contra tune as the kids came in, big applause - perfect!

Beth got them walking in a big circle to the music, half kids, half parents, half waltzers who jumped in.

Don Nathan and I snatched their banners out of their hands and taped them along the front of the stage.

The band finished, started the band change to contra… dead time, hmmm, not good…

I collared Terry Doyle and asked her to go out on the floor and play any jig or reel. She said "Oh, no, I don't think I can ...", but Diane Silver and a guitarist or two backed her up, so there was suddenly a band in the middle of the gym floor. I started a circle again, led it up to the stage and tried to start a Grand March (you know, 1 goes left, one right, meet at bottom, come up in twos; 2 go left, 2 right, etc.)

It started to fall apart as rows of 8 (or 9, or 6…) came up, so, with no idea what might work, I waved the first group into a circle, then the others. I joined the middle one and called Circle Left, Circle right - somehow the other two circles could hear me…

So we did “two people cross over … two OTHER people cross over … EVERYBODY cross over!” chaos and hilarity, back to circles..

“Tiptoe left… stomp back right .. swoosh in, swoosh out” (amazed that THAT worked!) And some other circle-y things

Then I managed to get everybody in one big circle around the band and clap them to an ending. At exactly 8:00, I might add, time for Diane’s program to start. Really wonderful semi-spontaneous success. High point of the weekend as far as I'm concerned.