folks say about about
this particular event is unique because it draws a national and even
international crowd who book months in advance. For many years, the
event is almost always sold out from preregistration. This is one of
a very few contra dance events that people make plans a year in advance
for. If dancing were an arts festival, this would be like Burning
Man...Maybe not as big, but still, the sort of thing that people
plan way in advance about. I hear people talk this way about NEFFA,
Dance Flurry, as well." Dan Kappus, Nashville,
MJ, what a wonderful event, every year it seems the best ever. Bands
were incredible, callers were incredible, organization was incredible,
and oh the weather! And the full moon! Thank you so much for all your
hard work, and the work of all who helped you make it happen. Homage,
and congrats!" James Morgan, Carrboro, NC.
music all weekend was top notch. Great Bear is just
about my favorite contra dance band, and of course they were just as
great as ever, but I have to say I just loved Eloise and Company
all weekend. I wasn't familiar with them as a group before Thursday,
but I was impressed: three real powerhouse musicians, excellent tune
selection and arrangements, great energy. I really enjoyed the contrast
between their sound, which was powerful and rooted in northern contra
tradition, and Great Bear, which continues to push the limit of contra
dance music." Gretchen Caverly, Asheville,
MJ Taylor for organizing/guiding another fabulous dance experience.
You are to be commended for having consistently good music over the
years and your ability to attract the skilled, high-energy dancers to
match the dynamic musicianship. And, there certainly was enough dancing
opportunities offered." Warren Doyle, organizer of Contradancers
from other years:
"Best dance camp I've been to in 15 years."
Tom Bowers of California who attended Soirée
for the first time in 2015.
face hurts from smiling so much. Words cannot accurately describe
the joy I felt this weekend. There were numerous moments where I felt
this weird lovely incredible natural high. Just a state of pure happiness.
You created that magical world for a weekend, and I can't thank you
enough. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! It was incredible... Great
dancers. Great musicians. Really- it was all I could do to keep my eyes
from rolling back into my head I was so caught up in that music, movement,
community, aerobic twirly trusting joyful dancing. You can see it in
the pictures and videos. People are just beaming. Loved every minute
of it. Thank you!" Chrissie Chapman.
a complainer, and I had nothing to complain about."
~ Debra Kirsch
thought the weekend was awesome. The housing was much better than other
dance weekends, where we've stayed in camp facilities, and the price
was very reasonable for what was included. The food was outstanding,
especially when compared to other dance camps, and the the music was
great. I enjoyed the swing lesson, but was disappointed that there was
no techno contra. I probably would have stayed and danced for about
an hour, if there had been one. The younger dancers add a lot of energy
and dynamics to the dances; they are important to the life and survival
of our dance communities ...." ~ Suzanne Patnaude
and weather were the best! The food was great!" ~ Mike
intermediate waltz and swing dance classes on Saturday morning were
great!!!! All weekend the energy in the air was magical-Had soooo much
fun!!!" ~ Marty Grist
a wonderful time at Soiree!! I like the dorms and the dancing and of
course PeM and GRD together was just over the top!!" ~ Cathy
love you MJ! Thanks for making one of the best weekends of my life."
~ Alan Best
Location and lodging: Summer
held at Warren Wilson College, just outside Asheville, NC. The college
campus is one of the lovliest settings in the area. Dancers from out
of town have the option of staying in the college dorms for $60 for
two nights, shared room. The largest dorm is air conditioned and most
dancers are housed there. Out of town dancers will find reasonably priced
hotels within a couple of miles of campus.
Meals: we offer a meal packagefor $60. Saturday breakfast and
lunch and Sunday breakfast are in the college cafeteria, which has excellent
food. Saturday night dinner is held in the Morris Pavilion and catered
by Whole Foods. Sunday lunch is wraps from Whole Foods. Folks are on
their own for Friday night. There are lots of snacks throughout the
weekend, and snacks and meals have lots of vegetarian and gluten free
get rave reviews on the food (see above and ask around.)
dancers stretch their weekend into a 5 day festival, arriving early
to dance at the Old Farmer's Ball on Thursday night and staying over
for the Monday Night Dance in West Asheville. The Soirée
bands always play at least
one of those dates, usually both.
It's not all dance, dance,
dance; there is relaxing and sharing snacks on the Grassy Knoll above
the Pavilion. Bring a blanket and join in the lazy moments, too.
Do you have trouble explaining
your love of contra dance weekends to your friends? This video is for
Some fun from previous
years: some extraordinary photos
by Kevin Riggs and videos by John Newsome. Here's
my favorite techno
contra video from John.
videos from Summer Soirée 2011 by John Newsome: