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Thank you for the memories!

Thanks to all who completed our survey about the Chesapeake Dance Weekend! We wanted to let you know that we have decided not to continue the event next year. Thanks for all your support over the past 37 years.

Dear Fellow Dancers:

This Spring, we enjoyed the 37th annual Chesapeake Dance Weekend. Over the decades, this event has helped dancers mark springtime by the scenic banks of the Rhode River while enjoying Appalachian and New England style music, contra and square dancing, and a diverse and unpredictable series of alternative dance traditions, provided by some of North America’s most outstanding artistic talent. For many, the weekend was the first taste of a residential dance event, occupying a bright place in our memories.

Unfortunately, despite our continued efforts and enthusiasm, changes in cost structures and the evolving context of regional dance events have led us to determine that the weekend is no longer sustainable. Rather than impose on the generosity of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, our sponsors, we are opting to discontinue. We hope, by freeing up space in the dance calendar, to make opportunities for a new generation of organizers to create high quality dance events that answer the dance community’s current and future needs.

We gratefully acknowledge the vital assistance of many people, without which the event would never have succeeded, including our artistic staff, outstanding callers, musicians, and dance instructors; our dedicated sound engineers, especially Flawn Williams and Joel Bluestein; the many volunteer scholars who have taken up our slack, especially our floor engineer Stan Fowler; the staff of Camp Letts, including hosts, chefs, and kitchen staff; Debby McClatchey, our dedicated caterer for many years; previous generations of organizing committee members; and of course FSGW for their insightful, patient, and generous sponsorship. The Chesapeake Dance Weekend reflects the dedication of a special community.

Looking to the future, we encourage a new generation of creative people to take up the task of organizing similar events. We believe there are viable options for sustainable high-quality dance weekends, just not ones that follow our old model. We are eager to consult with anyone seeking the benefit of our experience. The intangible benefits of taking this on include deep connections to the artistic talent of the dance world, the satisfaction of providing hard-working people with a beautiful respite from the demands of everyday life, and the pleasure of working with like-minded people on a collaborative creative endeavor.

The Chesapeake Weekend lasted nearly four decades. We encourage today’s generation of organizers to craft events that will sustain the dance community through the middle of the 21st century.

Sincerely,

The Chesapeake Dance Weekend Committee:
Caroline Barnes
Ed Fizdale
Alyssa Hemler
John Merck
David Shewmaker
Michal Warshow

P.S.

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