November 1-4, 2019
This camp is for people who like traditional American music: largely bluegrass and oldtime, also often including swing, Celtic, Cajun, and country. All ages are welcome, and core classes are offered in instrumental skills, jamming and band dynamics, and vocals. There are classes for beginners as well as intermediate levels.
We also offer a special class for younger children who are not yet ready for the full camp program, but would enjoy spending the morning playing music, singing, dancing, and taking breaks for arts and crafts, nature walks etc.
A beautiful site in the rolling hills an hour north of San Francisco. All ages welcome!
Appalachian Percussive Step Dance: Buck Dancing and Beyond
Part step-learning, part practice, part research and part injury prevention techniques, this dance class has something for all. Suitable for beginner to advanced students ages 14 and up. Ms. Becky will guide students through the basics and beyond. Learn history, hone technique, and study the styles of historically significant old-time step dancers. Have fun developing your own unique style based on simple building blocks and precision timing. For those concerned about their physical capacity to make it through a 3-hour daily class session, here is a tentative overview of how things will work:
- 15 mins. dancing warm-up
- 15 mins. video research while doing stretch work
- 30 mins. step learning
- 15 mins. freestyle practice
- 15 mins. stretch and discussion
COFFEE BREAK, then do it all again.
Because practicing with a metronome is the best way to learn precision timing, the first session will be done with pre-recorded looped dance tracks in a suitable musical style, with the second session having live music provided by our wonderful staff of T.A.s.
Prerequisites: While it’s ok to be a beginner, you should have either taken a basics elective with Ms. Becky before and feel comfortable with the ten motions and steps in her regular basics program “Flatfoot 101” or practiced with her instructional DVD, “Ms. Becky’s Barnyard Buck Dance.” If you have not been to a basics class with Ms. Becky, but feel you are a quick study and have some experience with step dance, tap dance, or other dance forms, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of her instructional DVD or a download link with which you can practice and familiarize yourself sufficiently before camp begins.
A little pre-camp reading is required. There is a detailed chapter documenting the history of Appalachian step dance in a fantastic book on the roots and branches of Southern Appalachian dance called Hoedowns, Reels and Frolics written by Appalachian State University professor, legendary old-time string band musician and dancer, AND Walker Creek staff alumnus, Phil Jamison. Reading this chapter will save you all TONS of class time, answer most of your historical questions, and enable the class to spend more time focusing on learning and perfecting steps. You may purchase the book on Amazon. If you are unable to purchase the book in advance, please contact Ms. Becky here.
Sufficient dance shoes are required. No flip-flops, hiking boots, tennis shoes or high-heels. Cowboy boots are ok, but not highly recommended. You’ll need a comfortable, light-weight shoe with a slick, leather or leather-like sole. Most importantly, the shoes should be able to slip-slide around easily and make some noise when you tap your toe on the floor. “Heel/Toe Saver” taps are acceptable, but nothing louder than that please. If you bring shoes with “Heel/Toe Saver” taps, please have an additional pair of shoes without taps. Ms. Becky will occasionally wear taps to broadcast the step sounds and timing, and it will be difficult to compete with other taps. If enough students are interested in practicing with taps, this will be added to the daily schedule at an appropriate time. Clogging shoes without taps are available in a variety of styles on Amazon. Feel free to contact Ms. Becky here with any questions about shoes.
Other items to bring: A yoga mat or blanket, water bottle, notebook and pen for taking any notes, whatever device you use for recording sound and video, and a willingness to act a fool in front of a bunch of other people.
About Rebecca Stout
Los Angeles based and Tennessee raised, Appalachian flatfoot dance instructor Rebecca Stout began singing, clogging and performing extensively as a child. Her instructional DVD “Ms. Becky’s Barnyard Buck Dance” is featured in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Music Museum. She has taught at numerous music camps and festivals throughout the United States. She currently serves as an apprentice to internationally known Appalachian step dance expert, Mr. Ira Bernstein, and is a board member and dance coordinator for Los Angeles’ premier bluegrass/old time event, the Topanga Banjo/Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival, one of the longest running fiddle festivals in the United States.
Rebecca’s classes and dance electives are always a hit at Walker Creek, and we’re excited she’ll be teaching a full-time dance class this fall!
Walker Creek Ranch is in the rolling hills of West Marin County, between Petaluma and Tomales Bay, about one hour’s drive north of San Francisco, California. It’s quiet and beautiful, with an abundance of wildlife and miles of hiking trails, a swimming pond, healthy and delicious food, and various accommodation options (ranging from private rooms to RV and tent camping to day-commuter).