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Summer Soirée June 2020 Cancelled

Summer Soirée 2020

My dear friends,

You won't be surprised when I tell you that I've had deep misgivings about opening registration for Summer Soirée 2020. Will the coronavirus have run its course by June? Will it be safe to dance with all your beautiful sweaty bodies nearly cheek to cheek? Will there be a vaccine or a cure by by then?

Or would it be risk to everyone's health?

I'm afraid these questions don't have answers that make me feel confident that no one's health would be compromised.

Soirée has always been a labor of love for me--and for eleven years it was the brightest point in my life: the joy of dancing with you and seeing the joy on your faces as you kicked up your heels to our favorite bands.

As many of you know, this was not a business to me and profit was never a focus, and as I have no organization to back me up, any risk is all my own.

So, it is with a very heavy heart that I write to say I must cancel this year's event. I wish you all a very healthy and safe Spring and Summer!

I want to encourage everyone to reach out to our musicians and callers and support them in any way you can. Cancellations like this will strain their pocketbooks. Please help wherever you can.

Please dance with me in your hearts, as I will with you, until we can safely waltz again in one another's arms!

Love, MJ

Consent Policy

More will be revealed ... if you haven't joined aleady, please join our Friends of Summer Soirée Facebook Page.

Summer Soirée:
"Burning Man" of Contradance Weekends!

SPECIAL REGISTRATION FOR THOSE WHO CAN'T USUALLY GET IN! It was exciting to welcome many new folks to Summer Soirée. We will continue to set aside a few tickets set aside for dancers who have never attended (or who haven't attended in the last 3 or so years). So many dancers have been frustrated by how hard it has been to register - (there are years when tickets are gone in 15 minutes - though it is usually a few hours) and some folks stopped trying!

If you fit this category, please  and I'll make sure you have an invitation to early registration!

To be up to date on Soirée, please join the Facebook Group, Friends of Summer Soirée -- all news is generally released there first! But if you're not on Facebook or want to be sure to get all the news, sign up for the newsletter below. You will not get any newsletters that are related to ANYTHING but Summer Soirée and I will never share your email with anyone!

An example of the schedule from past years will give you an idea of our general lineup! Schedule and details for 2019 here: Weekend Schedule and Details of What to Bring.

Find out who went to Soiree 2019 on the
Facebook Event Page
. There are lots of videos and photos posted there!

Some videos from the dance weekend:

2015 Summer Soiree Saturday evening

Posted by Trish Finn on Monday, June 22, 2015

The Disco Late Night Contra Dance Party was a huge success again - all the best disco hits from the 1970s and some great dance tracks from the 1980s. Check out this Fleetwood Mac snippet:

2015 Summer Soiree Disco Techno

Posted by Trish Finn on Monday, June 22, 2015

If it gets any better than this, please tell me about it - we will try and make it better.

Facebook is the fastest way to communicate with contra dancers, so announcements are made there first, and on the website immediately thereafter. Friends of Summer Soirée.

Gender Balance? Nope! No role balancing either!

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Summer Soirée holds the safety of dancers to be paramount. Unfortunately, to preserve the protection of the younger women Summer Soirée has severed all ties to Jordy Williams. He is no longer part of the weekend and will not be welcome. This is not the first time Soirée has had to ban a dancer, but because Jordy has been a part of the dance - running the late night technos, for example - it feels imperative that a public statement was made.


M.-J. Taylor, Summer Soirée Organizer


More Videos:

Just Another High Energy Dance on Saturday afternoon:

An overview of the dance weekend shot and edited by John-Michael Seng-Wheeler at the 2013 weekend:

More Favorite Contra Dance Videos:

What folks say about about Summer Soirée:

"Thank you for hosting one of the most amazing dance events I have ever attended! I’m sure I’ll be back again....With people and events as beautiful as Soirée, it is no chore to travel. Might as well be in next door." Katie Riemer, Berkeley, CA. 2019

"... 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, Tenn. 2017

"I enjoyed all of the experienced dancers. There were tons of wonderful people of all ages who were incredibly fun to dance with and helped me to become a better dancer. I also loved the atmosphere of Warren Wilson and how quiet and peaceful it was. The bands had amazing energy and made the dance floor light up!" Michael Spatzer, new dancer 2018, Atlanta, Ga.

"The atmosphere was so welcoming and positive. I so enjoyed the quality of the music and expertise of our callers. Our accommodations were nice and quality of foods provided were excellent. The decorations were colorful and fun. Enjoyed the gazebo setting for workshops and content. Very informative workshops!" Carol James, 2018.

"The energy of the bands and the dancers was incredible. It was a real "dance-trance" experience and not to be missed." Gwynn Williams, Virginia, 2018.

"Everyone was so friendly, there was a feeling of community. My first time at the Soirée and I had a blast!" Natalie Clevenger, Black Mountain, NC, 2018.

"The waltzing. The contra was great and I really enjoyed it but the waltzing was even better. Summer Soirée does a better job of providing waltzing than any other contra dance weekend I can remember and the pavilion is a spectacular place to waltz." Bill Sax of Boone, NC when asked what he liked best about Summer Soirée 2018.

"There are SO MANY things I love about Soiree. 1) The music is hot and fast and fun 2) the dancers are great 2b) the dancers are considerate 3) people are friendly and welcoming 4) it's awesome to be able to sleep on campus and eat on campus and dance on campus, it's all right there 5) plenty of waltzing, hooray! 6) good food for meals and snacks at all the necessary times 7) hugs from MJ 8) air conditioning in the dorms 9) did I mention the awesome dancing and amazing music?!?
" Sara, of 2018.

"Dear 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.

"Congratulations 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 Holiday Delight.

"Best dance camp I've been to in 15 years."
Tom Bowers of California who attended Soirée for the first time in 2015.

"My 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.

""I'm a complainer, and I had nothing to complain about." ~ Debra Kirsch, DC area.

"I 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

"Music and weather were the best! The food was great!" ~ Mike Brannaman

"The 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

"I love you MJ! Thanks for making one of the best weekends of my life." ~ Alan Best

About the Weekend

Location and lodging: Summer Soirée is 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 $65 for two nights, shared room. A single room is available for $130. The largest dorm is air conditioned and most dancers are housed there. Out of town dancers may also find reasonably priced hotels within a couple of miles of campus.

we offer a meal packagefor $65. 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 choices.
We get rave reviews on the food (see above and ask around.)

Many Soirée 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 often play at least one of those dates.

It's not all dance, dance, dance; there is relaxing and sharing snacks on the Grassy Knoll above the Pavilion. Bring a blanket or hammock 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 you:

More Visuals and Videos

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.

More videos from Summer Soirée 2011 by John Newsome:

M.-J. Taylor 
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Asheville, NC Contra Dancing

Dance Registration :: Band & Caller :: What to Bring
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