Ceili Music & Dance Camp 2004, British Columbia?

Ceili Music & Dance Camp 2004, British Columbia?

Has anyone been to this weeklong workshop in previous years or know of it?

August 15 - 20, 2004 
Harrison Hot Springs, BC Canada

I’m probably going to be in Seattle the prior week and want to take a week and head up to attend. But, other than their site, I’ve never heard of it.

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Re: Ceili Music & Dance Camp 2004, British Columbia?

From the web site, I’m not sure there were any previous years. It looks like it’s pretty much oriented towards the competitive Irish dance crowd, and there’s no overt sign of participation by the Vancouveranian session people. Looks like it could be very good entertainment in a number of ways, but light on the tuneage, if you know what I mean.

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Intermediate & Championship Irish Dance classes almost full! - UGH!

For anyone else with a curiosity in this -


Personally, I think your sanity would be at risk, not that there isn’t room for all kinds of kitch things in this world. Have you ever seen the Hopi Indian Katchina dolls that look like Mickey Mouse? Well, this sort of thing is definitely on my list of the Disneyfied.
Anything with a ‘dance school’ running it is for a select few, like Mickey and his friends, people that are into glass slippers and fairy princesses and burning hair with curling irons, to get that just right curl, and of course piano accordion sized egos and official Commission dancers. Hey, each to his own poison, but you have been warned, this flavour of pomp is a bit akin to what some call ‘Federated Square Dancing’ as opposed to, and I do mean ‘opposed’, old time. While ‘Old Time’ folks might be a bit apprehensive about wind players, you’d still be welcomed, and they wouldn’t mind it if you hop123 through a square, but the Federated and Commission sort tend to be like the born again, always ready to judge and be pedantic…
Me, I can manage most madness and make the best of it. There are good people everywhere, just better percentages some places than others. If you’re going, don’t forget your green shamrock - and the ‘proper’ shoes…

& for further proof - - -

"Ceili 2004 will feature Irish dance workshops taught by Conor Hayes, ADCRG, world champion from Australia and lead of Riverdance; and Stephen McAteer, TCRG, two-time world champion from Toronto and former cast member of Riverdance."

Check out the letters after the name, ADCRG & TCRG - jeez - - - wide boys…

"New on our fiddle roster this year are Brian Conway, award winning New York fiddler renowned for his Sligo style; and Liz Carroll, former All-Ireland fiddle champion from Chicago. And a hearty welcome back to fiddle instructor, Michelle Bergin, TCRG, who tours with Lord of the Dance."

There are other places to catch these and other fine fiddlers, though maybe not with accomodation "at the Executive Hotel in the village of Harrison one block from the beach."

Choose your way wisely, all roads do not lead to enlightenment…

Re: Ceili Music & Dance Camp 2004, British Columbia?

Wow, that has to one of the most negative threads I’ve seen in a while. Contrary to what Ceolachan says, to me the camp seems like a great way to spend a week and the people running it have gone to a lot of trouble to bring in great music talent. A better quote would be
" choose your words wisely lest you give away what roads you’ve travelled"

Re: Ceili Music & Dance Camp 2004, British Columbia?

My guess is that Brian and Liz will give brilliant workshops, as usual, and the after hours sessions will never end, and a good time will be had by all. But that’s just cuz I’ve had the pleasure of playing with Brian and Liz, and they are fun people to hang around. Perhaps ceolachan’s words reveal more about himself than about the camp….

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Potholes and pit stops and roads well travelled - - -

I do believe each to their own, except where it starts to encroach on things I value. Some folks like the pressure, pump and pomp of competition, the costumes and the acrobatics. I have been in the place of having to adjudicate, with all that goes with that, ‘experiences’ I wouldn’t undo but I won’t be repeating. It is too easy for me to react to that quagmire of things related, and consequently I can seem a bit het up about it all.

I’ve always admitted my biases and try not to hide or couch them in diplomacy or mirrors or pretending that there’s such a thing as ‘objectivity’. I am strongly against any kind of competition in the tradition, music or dance… In my experience it takes away from those things I hold most precious about ‘tradition’, and it isn’t a tune, a turn, a step, the acrobatics or flash, or ‘superstars’, and it damned well isn’t the Disneyfication it all tends to lead to, the bright gaudy costumes, and the valueing of things by quantity and complexity.

I’ve no questions about the experience and the likely quality of teaching at an event like this, and it is there to meet some demands and will survive or sink on its ability to answer that need and attract the necessary funds. There are all kinds of venues and philosophies holding up similar fine teachers, and the same fine fiddlers. With such a wide choice of fiddle events across North America and Europe, there’s something for everyone, whatever their inclinations.

While the likes of ‘Riverdance’ could easily be measured in dance injuries, including the crippling of its lead male dancer, and the general sense of ‘competition’ dance is that you have a ‘best by’ expiration date, the older style was more open and all encompasing, more relaxed, more communal. In that kind of setting the value isn’t on the ornaments but the social ‘craic’, not on winning anything but on sharing.

Liz is great at this, a kick, wherever you catch her, but there are in my mind better places to catch her than in the company of that hot house of ‘competition’, true also with Brian Conway. They both have a lot to offer, again, wherever you catch either of them, but I personally would chose to meet them elswhere than here. While I haven’t seen Brian teaching, Liz is a wonder, very gifted and considerate - aside from being a fine musician and an all around nice person. My guess is from Brian’s playing that the same would be likely. As Will says, "fun people to hang around." I ditto that. It is not the individuals that I’ve raised any warning flag about or that I would be shy of, but the context… This does reveal something about me, however you choose to read that.

Re: Ceili Music & Dance Camp 2004, British Columbia?

What’s with this "wide boys" thing? Why this tone of deridement?

To become a TCRG has nothing to little to do with competition. In order to become a TCRG, among other things, you must be firmly in possession of the knowledge and ability to teach all the ceili dances and the solo dances, to the extent that you must be able to sing the tunes associated with each dance and with each set, whether you’re a musician or not, while teaching the thing.

You do not have to have been a champion dancer yourself to pass these tests, although obviously that helps, because you must be able to dance at least 8 of your non-traditional sets and all of the traditional sets within a certain range of ability.

To be able to take the test to become an ADCRG, you must, among other things, have been a TCRG for at least 10 years. In that time, you will have kept your knowledge of the history and the present and the future of modern and historical stepdancing (and so also Irish culture) growing and developing.

Some ADCRGs and TCRGs are very forward looking, and others regard themselves as custodians of the history of what we do. This serves important functions within the global community. To deride them because they teach dancers and sometimes those dancers compete is of little use to anyone. (Especially given that the Irish have always been famous for their competitions of all sorts, including poetry, music, and other art forms. There are competitions for sean nos dancers — it’s an old tradition, that’s for sure. "Old ways" are not necessarily different from new ways, nor are they necessarily better.) I’m grateful to all the TCRGs and ADCRGs for the willingness to lead among a community of people, even when I don’t agree with their views and opinions.

You have to have a helluva lot of knowledge and blood, sweat, and tears to pass the stringent TCRG test and be able to put those letters after your name, and the TCRG is rightly just as proud as someone able to put PhD or other such string behind their names. And the ADCRG test is even more stringent. To make such a negative thing of it is to write something along the lines of — "ha, look at that, they put PhD behind his name on the advertising to show that he deserves to lecture the subject, what a wide boy…" Every bit as ridiculous as that…

Sure, modern Irish stepdancing is as much a competitive sport these days as is gymnastics and ice skating, but there are also plenty of students who take classes from our school only for fun, and we’re just as happy to have them as our competitive dancers.

I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon this weekend with some of our students (adults and children) at a ceili and potluck, and during the course of the ceili, they (and some of the non-dancing spouses) all got up and danced a few steps and some ceili dances, and no one judged a single step, we all just enjoyed ourselves. Someone deriding them for having learned from a TCRG of a competitive school would have gotten short shrift from me, and rightly so.

If you don’t like modern Irish stepdancing, that’s your right, but "warning" people away from events like these is of little use to anyone on any level.

Better put than I -

A good description Zina that will give a fairer balance to this event and those involved and that may help those unsure of any decision as to what ‘style’ or context they wish to learn from or in. I think that is the health of discussion, or disagreement, and there definitely needs to be a balance made. Passions tend to sway us more strongly in one direction or another.

You’re right, a hell of a lot of sweat and effort goes into winning those letters, and into organizing something like this, as for achieving a Phd, respect of some sort is due. However, I reserve my greater appreciation for all those in the tradition I was fortunate enough to know and learn from who didn’t have that official ‘education’ and regimented styling, no letters following their names, those for whom the music and dance was just another part of who they were, not necessarily the main, those who were not so obsessed and focused. Luckily some such folk do occassionally get some notice and opportunity to share their priceless knowledge and character, despite not having ‘official’ recognition and status, such as letters following their name.

But, as I’ve said, that’s my bias. If someone comes across this who hasn’t the benefit of our different experiences and opinions, this may make it easier for them to decide. There is a wealth of different personalities and experience scattered across this particular website community. It is natural that we are not all the same and agreed.

Re: Ceili Music & Dance Camp 2004, British Columbia?

Since my original question has inadvertantly led to a small dust-up, I just want to mention that I did did not make it to the event. This had to do with my schedule and had nothing to do with the event or comments about it.

As for context, all I require is a room with chairs in it.

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