Queer Contra Dance Camp

April 12-14, 2024

Queer Contra Dance Camp is a queer-normative contra dance weekend in the California redwoods with incredible talent and an enthusiastic and friendly community.

Monte Toyon

220 Cloister Lane
Aptos, CA

Sliding scale admission starts at $120

Food and housing included

We are currently making plans for Queer Contra Dance Camp 2024 and registration will open in the fall of 2023. If you would like to be added to the list to receive email notification of when camp opens, please email: queercontracamp@gmail.com. If you would like to know what a weekend at Queer Contra Dance Camp looks like, you can find the details from Queer Contra Dance Camp 2023 below.

Dancing – Commuity - Redwoods

Our Camp

San Francisco Bay Queer Contra Dance's twelfth annual camp welcomes dancers of all identities and experience. We use the calling terms larks and robins, prioritize consent, and have gender-free facilities so that everyone can be included. New dancers will find that contra is an exuberant, social, and easy-to-learn American barn dance with roots in English folk dance. For experienced dancers, dancing as part of a community that prioritizes inclusion and everyone's enjoyment is one of the most magical and exuberant opportunities contra provides. Take a weekend away with us to dance, relax, make friends, and enjoy the lovely California redwoods. See what campers said about Queer Contra Dance Camp 2019! 

This year's (2023) theme is "Way Out West" and we encourage those who enjoy dressing up to bring something in theme for our Saturday night dance.


Aaron Marcus, Anna Patton, and Emily Troll

have all played at Queer Contra Dance Camp previously, Aaron (piano, concertina, foot percussion) with Giant Robot Nano and Frost and Fire, Anna (clarinet) with Elixir, and Emily (fiddle) with Anadama. After playing together in various gigs on the east coast, they all wanted to come back to Aptos just as much as we want to have them. Together they can make the most of their richly eclectic background, exuberant energy, and musical passion.

Mean Lids

bring their eponymous hats and mean musical skills from Illinois to our dance floor. Inspired by wide ranging styles including Cajun, Celtic, and old-time, Ben Smith (fiddle & banjo), Miriam Larson (flute & jawharp), and Matt Turino (fiddle & guitar), create an organic blend with grit, pulse, and sweetness. Their twisted tunes, long lonesome sounds, and kickin’ grooves have been delighting dancers for the past ten years.

Chris Ricciotti

is the original gender-free contra caller. Chris single-handedly founded LCFD, the first regular gender-free contra dance. Chris is still a leader in the community and has only become more beloved as a caller. A longtime friend and supporter of Queer Contra Dance Camp, Chris has contributed to our traditions of high tea, pop contra, and English Country Dance in the past. Now Chris is back as a contra caller to share Chris's breadth of dance knowledge, innovative spirit, and passion with us.

Maia McCormick

is a contra dance caller and choreographer from New York City. She’s been calling dances for the last 10 years around the Northeast and across the country at festivals, weekends, and regular dances alike. She writes dances that are both compelling and idiomatic, is an advocate for safer and more inclusive dance spaces, and ran our popular “Folk Singing for Today’s Folks” workshop at Queer Contra Dance Camp in 2018. This year, she’s back to spread more joy, dance, and unrepentant puns.

Nick Cuccia

has provided dancer- and musician-friendly sound at numerous events throughout northern California during the past twenty-five years, including BACDS Family Week, English Week, Fall Frolick, and Playford Balls and camps; NBCDS Mad Robin Balls, SCDS Echo Summit weekend, RSCDS-SF Valentines' Ball and Asilomar Scottish Country Dance Weekend & Workshop, and every Queer Contra Dance Camp. Nick also calls contras and English country dances throughout central and northern California.

Our talent provides a full weekend of contra dance, with a second track of dance and singing workshops lead by the community during the day. Specifics will be announced as camp approaches, but workshop topics in the past have included waltz, consent conversations, English country dance, pop contra, traditional folk songs, playing music for contra, and much more. Sessions targeted to beginning and advanced dancers are also included.


Nestled in a grove of coastal redwoods in Aptos, California, Camp Monte Toyon offers hiking trails and a beautiful rhododendron garden. The cost of camp includes dormitories to stay in, three meals on Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday, and a delicious spread of snacks throughout the weekend. Meals are served buffet-style with vegetarian and vegan options. Refrigerator space is available for those on special diets. Accommodations are shared rooms ranging from 4-10 people or campground space for those who would prefer to bring a tent to sleep in. Rooms are pre-assigned, and campers have the chance to express housing preferences and needs as part of registration. Campers need to bring their own towels, pillows, and sleeping bags or sheets and blankets. Local dancers are asked to bring extra bedding and towels for campers flying in from out of state.


The cost of running camp is about $360 per person, but we have a sliding scale starting at $120 to make the weekend accessible to as many people as possible. Transparency about our costs and our sliding scale recommendations are on the second page of our registration form. If you need to cancel your registration, we will fully refund cancellations through January 31 or for health reasons. After February 1, other refunds (minus a $50 fee) are not guaranteed but may be available if your vacant spot is filled. If paying the full cost when registering is stressful, you can register today and pay later. Additional payments for camp can be made via PayPal donation.

Health Safety Precautions

We know that everyone is in different places as to their own feelings around COVID-19 and health safety. As a group event in 2023 we want to put some precautions in place to help to lessen the chance of illness for our talent and campers and allow the most people possible to attend.

Currently we expect everyone to test before camp within 72 hours of arriving and bring a picture of the test to camp. We will require everyone to be vaccinated with at least three shots and strongly encourage getting the September 2022 bi-valent booster that adds extra Omicron protection. Everyone will also need to mask while dancing or in a room with a dance or workshop, unless actively drinking water, calling dances, or playing music. Doors and windows in the main dance hall will be left open for maximum ventilation during the day and until they need to be closed for sound reasons in the evening. Masking will be optional for the rest of camp activities. Our venue has outdoor dining, tent camping, and outdoor social spaces available for those who would like to not be unmasked indoors with other people. We recognize that the situation continues to evolve and we will review our policies as camp approaches. If they happen, we will announce any changes to attendees in advance of camp


Queer Contra Camp is 79 miles or a 2 hour drive south of San Francisco. Monte Toyon is only accessible by private vehicle, with limited parking on-site. If you can offer a ride or need a ride to/from camp, please let us know on the registration form. We are generally able to get everyone a ride from the Bay Area who needs one. If you are flying in, we recommend arriving at Oakland or San Jose airports by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 7. While we will have snacks Friday night, we encourage everyone coming to eat before they arrive at camp. Campers flying into San Francisco may need to take public transit to meet their carpool and we don’t expect to have rides available for campers arriving in the evening.

Code of Conduct

We want all people to feel safe and comfortable at Queer Contra Dance. We value and expect consent and communication, community mindness, and physical safety. Harassment of any kind won't be tolerated. If someone's behavior is offensive or harassing during the dance, we encourage you to speak with one of the organizers.

Please read our Values and Expectations if you would like to know more about our community norms and how we handle unwelcome behavior.