Hi! I'm Tim, co-host of the Sacred Circles Tribal Dance Retreat and husband to the beautiful and incredible Krisztina. This is a bit of my perspective of how Sacred Circles has come to be an amazing event.
For a good long while, Krisztina had been cultivating a vision of a dance retreat at a campground. She wanted to create an event that dancers from all over the region could come to and take great classes. But more than that, she wanted to create a feeling of community and camaraderie among dancers. To foster honest, lasting friendships. To encourage us all to care about and support each other. That was her vision.
From the time we first started dating, one of our favorite activities had always been to jump in the car and go drive somewhere. We spent many weekend afternoons driving around Michigan looking at campgrounds that might play host to the event Krisztina envisioned. We found a couple good ones, but Krisztina fell in love with Camp Cavell at first sight.
In summer 2009, Camp Cavell told Krisztina that they had an opening for the second weekend in October. That's pretty short notice, but when working with organizations like YWCA camps, if you get an opening, you jump on it or you lose it forever. Krisztina rallied her troupe and put the very first Sacred Circles together on very short notice and a shoestring budget.
All of Czigany World Fusion Dance helped out immensely on that one (and all of them since). Ginger Snap - Sue - was especially heroic, preparing all the meals for everyone who came in the tiny, antiquated Unit House kitchen with a lot of help from Manda and Chris. I don't think we have specific records for that one, but attendance was small. Just Czigany plus a handful of other dancers from Michigan and Ohio.
The group was so small it had to share the campground with another group, a collection of law enforcement officials and judges from Detroit. If you know anyone who does that, you probably know they can get a bit... rowdy... on their down-time. But, by the same token, if you're a group of girls out at a campground in the middle of nowhere, who better to have around you than a squadron of cops?
Feedback for that first event was very positive, and Krisztina decided to do it again, hopefully bigger, next year.
The extent of my involvement in the 2009 event was, "Have fun, honey, I'll stay home and wrangle the dogs." Not so with 2010. With a year to plan and Krisztina convincing Carolena to come out to teach, this year's event would be a lot bigger.
I think this was and always will be my favorite Sacred Circles event, from a purely selfish perspective. My "job", aside from trying to keep things running smoothly, was to chaperone Carolena, to make sure she always had anything she wanted or needed, and that she had fun! That meant I got the pleasure of spending quite a lot of time with her, and I'm not a dancer so we didn't talk much about dance. Carolena is an amazing person, and not just because of the really incredible thing she's created with ATS®. It's the rare person who can truly change your perspective on things... show you a way to think differently... help you become a better person. Krisztina is one such person. Carolena is another.
Anyway, gushing over Carolena aside, 2010 was a pretty incredible event, and it's where I saw Krisztina's vision for the tribal community become reality. Dancers from as far away as Connecticut and Wisconsin joined us, along with quite a large number from Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario. It was interesting to watch the transformation of the groups' mindsets as camp progressed.
For the most part, groups that came together started out hanging out together. I don't want to call them "cliques", but they sort of started out looking like that. Then dance camp happened. We all ate together. We all came together in the Lodge for classes and the show and the hafla. Dancers spent nights in cabins with dancers from different troupes, sometimes from different states. And by that last camp fire on Saturday night, after the show, we were all one big tribe of dancers and drummers, hanging out, joking, chatting, truly enjoying each others' company.
Krisztina's vision for Sacred Circles became reality in those moments, and it was a really incredible thing to experience.
Sacred Circles 2011 didn't happen, so I'm not going to talk about it here.
In 2012, Carolena came back. In 2013, we hosted Anita, then in 2014, we managed to bring Anita back, and Marsha with her.
The event has grown by a bit every year, but will probably never get much bigger than it is now because we can only fit so many dancers in the lodge. We'll stay at Camp Cavell as long as they'll have us because the setting contributes to the magic - to the vision - that brings everyone together in the tribal spirit.
Even as the event has grown to include more participants, the result of the weekend is always the same. People who became friends at previous events greet each other with smiles and hugs. People new to the event look around in wonder and by the end of the weekend are sad to go, but have a bunch of new friendships to take home with them.
Yes, we have a bunch of dance classes with some incredible teachers. We have a make-up or hair class with one of the best pure teachers I've watched teach, and he's a super nice guy who really knows what he's talking about on top of that. We have a couple drum classes with the best frickin' drum teacher I've ever had the pleasure of sitting down with. We eat some pretty good food. We look at, and walk on the beach of, a beautiful Great Lake. Some of you crazies even jump into it!
But in the end, for me, the true magic of the event is how it transforms Krisztina's vision into reality. It's all the dancers, and now even their friends and partners who might not dance, coming together to form one big tribe for a weekend, and leaving as friends.