Family Week at Ogontz
August 1 - 8, 2015
Join the Ogontz Family Week Facebook Group!
Is there still room?
For up-to-date info about
availability and wait lists,
see our Dance & Music Camps page.
Program Description: a 1 page version of this page
Daily Schedule: a 1 page daily timetable
Description of Classes: a 2 page description of the classes
For accepted campers: Links to a few important pages and surveys.
Come and celebrate the CDSS Centennial at Family Week at Ogontz in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire! We will celebrate the gifts that CDSS has brought to families over the last 100 years and our special Ogontz traditions as well. As always, it will be a week filled with music, song, dance, stories and laughs and promises to be an incredible family vacation. Join us for the special CDSS at Ogontz magic of humor, friendship and community that brings us back year after year.
To celebrate the centennial we bring together an extraordinarily gifted staff of recent Ogontz favorites, as well as leaders who helped create the Ogontz Family Week in its early years. We are also excited to welcome Kevin Carr, multi-instrumentalist and storyteller from California. He may be new to Ogontz, but he has thrilled dancers for years as part of the famed Hillbillies from Mars, as well as his own family’s band and as a storyteller at festivals and school programs throughout the U.S.
Our dance leaders this week will be Steve Zakon-Anderson and Brad Foster. Steve has performed at dance camps and festivals throughout the U.S. for 30 years, but Ogontz Family Week is his favorite place to share his expertise, always laced with humor. Brad, who is the past Executive Director of CDSS, will lead the English Country Dancing and share some of his CDSS stories as part of our celebration. Together, their experience is almost as old as CDSS itself! The music will amaze as we welcome Foxfire - the incredible English Country Dance band of Daron Douglas and Karen Axelrod. Playing for contras with Kevin Carr, and leading our Ukulele Orchestra, will be the wonderful Max Newman on mandolin and guitar.
Ogontz campers love to sing and who better to lead us then Stefan Amidon and Zara Bode. Stefan and Zara are part of the internationally renowned honky-tonk band The Sweetback Sisters and they create beautiful harmonies in their duo The Little Green Apples. They will lead us in the Country Harmonies class and the Harmony Singing class. Stefan will also lead his popular morning session of Shape Note singing. There will be three generations of Amidons at Ogontz this year as Stefan and Zara bring our youngest camper along with them, as well as the happy grandparents, Peter and Mary Alice Amidon. Important leaders during the early years of Ogontz Family Week and known nationally for their expertise in community singing and dancing, we are thrilled to welcome Peter and Mary Alice back for the centennial celebration!
Paddy Swanson, Artistic Director of the Boston Revels, returns to help our intrepid troupe of mummers create and present another fantastic play. Lily Kruskal Leahy returns to lead both children and adults in ritual dances so important to the CDSS legacy. We are also thrilled to welcome Ellie Grace back to Ogontz after a few years absence. She takes a break from her busy graduate studies in dance at Smith College to lead us in clogging, swing and couples dancing. Ellie and Max will get the teens moving and grooving with song. body rhythms, and more. John Krumm, also an important part of the early years of Ogontz Family Week and a music educator by day, returns to play for dancing, to teach our young campers, and to lead the Family Band. John is famous for his compositions of rounds, including the Goodnight Round that has become the traditional send-off song for our 10-12s every night for years. We are so excited for you to meet him and vice versa! Bettie Zakon-Anderson will keep camp running smoothly and Fynn Crooks will bring her fun and games to camp. Together they will also tend to our youngest campers.
In the mornings we will learn and play in two periods of age-group classes and then come together for Morning Gathering - a favorite time of day when anyone might lead a song, tell a joke, and share their talents. Afternoons can be as busy or relaxing as we choose with three periods of fun classes, swimming in the crystal-clear lake, or enjoying the beautiful surroundings with friends and family. Each afternoon we’ll gather again at the Green Chairs to enjoy stories from a master teller before the dinner bell rings.
After a delicious, wholesome dinner we’ll gather at the cozy Recital Hall for the Community Dance and Evening Gathering. As dusk settles around us the Pied Piper will lead the families with children ages 9 and under to their cabins while the whole camp serenades them with our Ogontz lullaby. The parents will put their children to bed as we walk down the hill to the magnificent Ogontz Hall for the Evening Dance. Soon the parents will be able to join the dancing while roving monitors listen attentively for any children stirring in their cabins. If a child needs a parent to return, a monitor will come and get them at the dance. Similarly, after singing the 10-12s their Goodnight Round mid-dance, they go quickly and quietly to their cabins, being extra careful to not wake any of their younger, sleeping friends. We all care for each other during the days and right up to bedtime, knowing that we build our community and revel in its gifts.
Our family looks forward to sharing this special week with your family! See you at Ogontz for the CDSS centennial celebration!
Warmly, Bettie and Steve Zakon-Anderson, Program Directors
The American Dance Musicians Course returns, led by Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy. How lucky we are that Keith and Becky will also bring their talents to our evening dances, adding to the already phenomenal music on stage! The Teachers Training Course also returns, led by Kari Smith. The teachers that take part hope to learn from all of us so that they can bring the traditions we hold dear back to their classrooms. It is always a pleasure welcoming them into our community.
Printable Information for Accepted Campers
The Program: one page Program Description
- Daily Schedule
- Class Descriptions
- Class Questionnaire: Please give us an idea of the classes you will take. Available online or pdf form
Getting Ready: Details for being at camp.
Getting to Camp: Driving Directions
9:00 Kids' Classes
Age 2-3 Playtime: Fynn Crooks -- Fynn will keep our youngest campers busy and happy.
Age 4-5 The Fairies of Ogontz: Bettie Zakon-Anderson -- Fairies are known to live in the Ogontz fields and woods. Let's see if we can coax them out by building some lovely fairy houses. We'll hear some fairy tales and have some fun with fairy-type crafts, too.
Age 6-7 Singing, Dancing, Storytelling: Mary Alice Amidon -- Mary Alice will lead these lucky campers in some fun traditional songs and dances and tell them some great tales.
Age 8-9 Stories, Songs and Dances: Peter Amidon -- Peter will enthrall the 8-9s with his wonderful stories and have them singing and dancing each morning.
Age 10-12 Morris Dance: Lily Kruskal Leahy / Kevin Carr -- Get ready to tie on those bells and pick up those sticks! Cotswold Morris dancing is a traditional dance from England dating back to the 15th century usually danced in sets of 6. We will learn a few basic morris dances, using both hand clapping and sticks. We will also mix things up a bit and learn the Broom Dance, another English traditional dance. Each class session will also involve a few fun warm up games to help us get to know each other!
9:00 Adult Classes
English Country: For the Joy of Dancing: Brad Foster / Daron Douglas, Karen Axelrod -- When Brad was a teenager, his first dance teacher taught him the joy of dance, a lesson he'll never forget. He'll share that joy with you through a mixture from old favorites to new dances, and from easy dances to moderate challenges. Most of the dances will be in the modern historical ("Playford") style, with an occasional traditional dance for variety. The class is designed with something to learn for people with all levels of dance experience and the music of Foxfire will surely be a delight!
Partner Dancing: Ellie Grace / John Krumm -- Within a supportive and community-minded environment, this class will explore the joy of couple dancing. We will focus on the Lindy Hop with a dash of Two Step and Waltz thrown into the mix. In addition to learning the beautiful form and energetic footwork of these styles, we will also play with the skills and subtle, non-verbal communication that are essential to effective partner dancing. No partner required, but come prepared to learn to both lead and follow!
|10:00-10:10||Morning Refreshments: Teachers watch kids through snack and class transitions|
10:15 Kids' classes
Age 2-3 Playtime: Bettie Zakon-Anderson -- A playful, cozy time for our littlest campers.
Age 4-5 Ahoy, Pirates!: Fynn Crooks -- Pirates have landed at Ogontz! We'll sing sea shanties, make pirate hats, make boats and float them down the creek, tell pirate jokes, bury treasure and make maps, and run about camp doing un-dastardly pirate deeds!
Age 6-7 Fun-Time with John: John Krumm -- These lucky campers will have an amazing time singing songs, playing games, hearing stories and dancing squares!
Age 8-9 Longsword: Lily Kruskal Leahy / Mary Alice Amidon -- Lily will teach the Longsword class, a folk tradition from the north of England, while Mary Alice plays for the dancing. You will learn a "calling on song" that welcomes the dancers to the stage and play some fun group games to help everyone get to know each other and as an excuse to be silly.
Age 10-12 Social Dance: Peter Amidon / Karen Axelrod -- We'll have some fun while getting ready for the evening dance learning a variety of classic, modern and traditional dances. Some great stories and improv fun will be mixed in for laughs!
10:15 Adult Classes
American Dance: Steve Zakon-Anderson / Kevin Carr, Max Newman -- We will explore the varied shapes of American dancing. There will be many contra dances, as well as some squares, circles, triplets and a sampling of choreography from many different eras. Most of all we will have fun together dancing to the wonderful music played by Kevin and Max.
Appalachian Clog: Ellie Grace / Daron Douglas -- Now is your chance to get "feet-on" experience as you explore the driving rhythms and beautiful style of this percussive dance from the Appalachian Mountains. With each step clearly broken down and made highly approachable, everyone will learn exciting moves to take to any dance floor. Discover the joy of making music with your feet in a high-energy, supportive environment!
Shape Note Singing: Stefan Amidon -- Experience the untamed beauty of a shape note sing. We will go through the shapes and basic layout of a sing for newcomers and then sing your favorites from The Sacred Harp as well as more recent compositions written in the shape note tradition. Everyone is invited to call a song, stand up to lead, and sing to your heart's content.
|11:20-12:10||Morning Gathering: songs, dances, show & tell|
|12:30-1:00||Buffet Lunch Served|
1:30 Mixed-age Classes
(All ages) Napping, walking, relaxing or...
(8 & younger w/parent) Singing Storybooks: Mary Alice Amidon -- A restful time with wonderful stories put to music by Mary Alice. A chance to snuggle and reconnect with your family after a busy morning.
(All ages, under 7 w/parent) Community Art: Daron Douglas -- Professional weaver Daron will teach us finger weaving! Sashes, headbands, bracelets, suspenders, parade garlands, camel harness. Our fingers are the loom. Projects from simple over-under to Peruvian wave braiding. Come try your hands at it!
(8 & up, younger if passionate w/parent) Family Band: John Krumm -- John will get us ready to play for the Community Dance each night. All abilities and instruments welcome! Get ready - you have a gig Sunday night.
(10 & up, younger w/parent) Ukulele Orchestra: Max Newman -- Still not ones to be put off by a fear of making mistakes, the Ukulele Orchestra will put forth a collaborative effort to arrange a number or two in the most fun and relaxed way possible, led by the shining principle that you don't need to know much about playing the ukulele to have a blast with it. NOTE: We will have extra ukuleles, but anyone who can bring (or lend) a ukulele to class will be applauded heartily.
(10 & up) Adult Longsword Dance: Lily Kruskal Leahy / Karen Axelrod -- Have you ever watched with amazement as the 8 and 9 year olds perform their longsword dance and wonder how DO they make that star at the end? Or maybe you've never seen longsword dancing ever before and are simply curious what it means to dance with swords? Well this is the class for you!! Lily will teach Orion Longsword's dance, Salton, an upbeat and fast paced dance that is sure to get the blood pumping! This class is open to beginners and experienced dancers alike. Don't forget your sneakers!
|2:35-4:35||2-Hour Swim Block All ages, 9 & under/parent|
2:35 Mixed-age Classes
(All ages, 9 & under/parent) Swimming --
(13-19) Teen Class: Ellie Grace, Max Newman -- A bubbling laboratory for creative collaborations and exciting explorations -- featuring both the familiar and the as-yet unknown. Ambling amusements will also be tolerated. If you have games/songs/talents/instruments/contraptions, or other initial ingredients for the potent potion, better bring 'em.
(10-12, 20 & up) Country Singing: Zara Bode, Stefan Amidon -- A chance to kick-back on the porch at Sutherland and sing! Zara and Stefan will introduce us to the genre known for simple, but beautiful harmonies and heartfelt solo moments.
3:50 Mixed-age Classes
(All ages, 9 & under/parent) Swimming --
(8 & up) Mummers: Paddy Swanson -- The artistic director of Revels will lead us in the creation of another spectacular mummers play. Join the troupe and play your part.
(13 & up) Harmony Singing: Stefan Amidon, Zara Bode -- Take a break from dancing or running after your kids and take part in the joy of harmony singing. We'll learn traditional two, three and four part songs, from traditional sources, done up in traditional and contemporary arrangements. Most songs will have music, but we may learn some simple songs by ear.
Stories at the Green Chairs: Kevin Carr
Stories true and slightly true, wandering through the realms of folklore and folk music in search of that which gives our life meaning - joy, laughter, treasure of many kinds, and ultimately the company we keep. Kevin Carr has been telling stories and making music for decades, and a sweet, rousing, enchanting experience is guaranteed.
|8:15||Pied Piper/Bedtime for children 9 & younger|
|8:30-10:45||Evening Dance Party|
|9:30||Bedtime for 10-12 year olds|