Monday, 18 June 2012

June 21 to 24 - Big Heart Dance Camp in Dufferin County

What kind of holiday are you excited to create this summer? Would the sight of kids playing freely, running across an open field waving colourful scarves make you smile? What about spending three days relaxing in a lush forest complete with pond as swimming hole? Taking a midnight stroll only to come upon a field full of fireflies? Does dancing, creating art, and spending time in a vibrant multi-generational community fill your heart?

If you said “Yes, please!” to any of the above ideas, then consider making this the summer you check out the 4th Annual Big Heart DanceCamp. Held at Unicamp in Honeywood, Ontario, Big Heart is a fabulous stay-cation option for residents of Dufferin County and the surrounding area. A great opportunity to come and play in the beautiful Mulmur hills.

Big Heart Dance Camp is a multi-generational, multi-arts gathering aimed at creating conscious, creative community among artists from near and far. While it’s primary emphasis is on dance, Big Heart Dance Camp welcomes artists of all media to contribute and strives to offer a space for creative self-expression for participants of all ages.

The visionary behind Big Heart Dance Camp is local artist Ayrlie MacEachern. For many years, Ayrlie attended Dance New England, a summer family dance camp in the northeastern US. Ayrlie was inspired by Dance New England to create a similar gathering locally. As a result, Big Heart Dance Camp was born. Big Heart is located at Unicamp, a 50-acre camp just outside the hamlet of Honeywood, Ontario. Accommodation choices range from dorms and cottages to tenting, and there are both indoor and outdoor spaces for workshops/classes. There is also a large pond and lovely walking trails. All three previous Big Heart Dance Camps have taken place at this location, and this year the camp runs from Thursday, June 21 to Sunday, June 24. You can come for a day or the whole weekend, and participants who live locally are welcome to stay at Unicamp, or stay at home. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided and all meals are wholesome, nourishing and prepared with love by local cook Alta Wilbur.

Big Heart Dance Camp is truly a one of a kind experience that offers something for everyone. Dance workshops are varied year to year, and in 2012 participants can enjoy Nia, Contact Improv, Yogadance, Journeydance, Sacred Circle dance and, of course, Barefoot Boogies in the evening. The best part about it is that you need NO dance experience to join in! Because of the diversity of dance provided, Big Heart is the premier local attraction for anyone interested in exploring all kinds of dance.

For the less dance-enthused, Big Heart offers much, much more! For instance, you might enjoy taking part in personal growth workshops not related to dance. There will be lots of opportunity to enjoy a diverse array of live music, whether in a workshop or impromptu setting, from hand drummer Jamie Andrews, to fiddling, strumming, plastic comb playing Eric Nagler. Big Heart is also a wonderful opportunity to take in the beautiful nature surrounding Unicamp, from a hike along the Bruce Trail, to a dip in the pond, or perhaps a meditative walk in the labyrinth. You can bring your art supplies and go off painting or creating “en plein air”! Worried about bored kids? Kids Camp at Big Heart Dance Camp is always action-packed, with time for kids to play, create, explore, make music, and, of course, dance!

At Big Heart Dance Camp, a creative community comes together and it is not uncommon to find a circle of older adults and children gathered on the porch for a Backporch Jam as the sun sets. For three days and three nights, people can be immersed in creative conscious community, where it’s easy to let your big heart shine and find a sense of belonging.

For more information about Big Heart Dance Camp, including rates and registration information, please contact Julia Petrisor at 519 925 8598 or

Julia Petrisor is a local writer, yoga teacher and dance enthusiast. She teaches private yoga classes in the Mulmur area and yoga to teens in recovery at the Pine River Institute.

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