March 31 – April 7, 2017



UK showing location of dance weekend

Well it’s over and was enjoyed by 120 from the USA and 90 from the UK (on 2 open nights) in the beautiful medieval cathedral city of Ely, near Cambridge, England.  We danced in the evenings to the wonderful music of the Stringrays, with Rodney Miller, Max Newman, Stuart Kenney, Sam Bartlett and Mark (Pokey) Hellenberg on percussion, with Lisa Greenleaf calling!!!  In addition we had the English band Vertical Expression on Sunday with Gwyn Williams and Adam Hughes calling.  We will leave the original links here, but at this point are planning on running the event again in April 2019.  Bookmark this page or click on the link 2 paragraphs down to send us your e-mail so that we will notify you!!

Note that there are 10 pages here.  If you are unable to see the menu at the very top, here are links to the package, the performers, Ely, accommodations, transportation, excursions, the organizers, information for UK participants, and registration.

If you are interested and would like to be on our mailing list please send your name and e-mail here.  Or in the USA call Jennifer or Gwyn at (757) 867 6807

Note that the price of $1275 (the same as in 2015!!) still includes all accommodations and breakfast, dinner and snacks each day – a real bargain for Europe!!  A real treat for singles and couples alike as you will be able to enjoy a vacation in England with friends!!  Plus, you will not need a car as the train station is close to the camp.

A note about gender balancing.  Our goal is for all dancers to have a suitable pool of dance partners, and we will aim for a gender balance.  If, however, we find that this does not work, we will make sure that the extra men or women dancers can dance both roles.  In 2015 we had 8 extra women in 90 dancers.

Update, March 2, 2017. This dance week is FULL with 122 people, and gender balanced.  Thanks to all of you for signing up early enough to allow good planning! Can’t wait to welcome you to Ely.

If you want to spend more time in England and dance, the Stringrays will be playing in Alcester on April 7, and London on April 8.  Leeds on April 9 was originally planned, but has fallen through. Also Halsway Manor has a contra/square week from March 27-31, an Irish Set weekend April 7-9 and a Playford Weekend April 21-23. The Eastbourne International Folk Festival is April 28 – May 1.

Summary of the April 2015 Contra Holiday in Medieval England: A total of 95 people were resident at this dance week, with an additional 81 Brits registered to attend either Saturday (73 attended) or Tuesday (40 attended). It was a terrific crowd.  Wild Asparagus were really cranking all week creating a high energy level on the floor. Vertical Expression provided incredibly motivating music for us also on Sunday. Quentin Fletcher did an outstanding job with sound for us and Steve Jolly put up some amazing lights for us. The King’s School, Ely staff and facilities were fabulous. I could not have done it without a huge amount of help from Judy McDowell, Pam Martin, Rima Forrest, Brian Klock, Adam Hughes, Ruth Hawksley and many, many others who pitched in seeing things needing to be done. We had excursions to Sandringham, Bletchley, Lavenham, WIcken Fen, Castle Acre and Cromer, and 3 boat rides to a pub. We also had our own personal organ concert in Ely Cathedral by Edmund Aldhouse and entertainment on Saturday by the Gog Magog Molly dancers.

Ely Cathedral

West Tower of Ely Cathedral

Rodney Miller playing and Lisa Greenleaf calling in Ely in 2007, photo by Carlyn Yard.

Rodney Miller playing and Lisa Greenleaf calling in Ely in 2007, photo by Carlyn Yard.