So... why *this* kind of weekend?

We know we're not alone in craving more spaces to hang out with other folks with similar broad-spectrum experiences. We know the power of dancing together, creating together and sharing skills, of having deeper conversations - risky conversations - and coming out the other side stronger. And we know the confidence that comes from having that group who gets us, and meets us with compassion, encouragement, insight, and glee. That's why we created this weekend. 

We want you to leave this weekend feeling more connected to the national contra dance community of women+ and more able to meet the needs of your communities, your body, and your spirit.

Who is this party meant for?

This party is meant for folks who hear “women’s retreat” and think, “Yeah, that’s a space for me.” It's meant for folks who identify as female, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, trans, gender nonconforming, and many other gender expressions.

I fit this description and...

I fit the description you've given, and I sometimes feel out of place at contra dances because of something like my race, my religion, my sexual orientation...

How can I be sure I'm welcome here?

You are welcome at this weekend. Period.

So if I identify as a man, I shouldn't attend?

Yep, that is correct. It’s nothing personal. Spending time with other women+ is really special to us. And, not every space is for everybody.

This is an 18+ event.

What about age?

What should I know if I have a unique need?

If you're a person who is disabled, copes with chronic pain or disease, or has another unique need that would impact your enjoyment of the weekend, we'll do our best to ensure you're safe, comfortable, and have a blast. Simply let us know on your registration form what requests you have.

Ashokan is ADA accessible. Check out the next “read me” item for a description of Ashokan’s buildings and grounds. We'll do our best to provide support that is appropriate for each of you based on your particular situation; just let us know.


Accessible parking is available in lower parking lot near the kitchen and near the blue bathroom building at the center of the campus.


Bathrooms in the semi-private lodges are single bathrooms and include stand up showers. Bathrooms in the bunkhouses include stalled toilets and stand up showers. All showers have shower curtains. We’ll provide information about bathrooms in the main lodge shortly.

Campers have their own bathroom building. Outdoor showers are available, and we will have a suited and suited-optional side available.


All lower floors of buildings are ADA accessible. All rooms in the bunkhouse have bunkbeds with two twin-sized mattresses and these rooms sleep 24. Some semi-private rooms have bunkbeds with one twin-sized mattress above and one full-sized mattress below. Semi-private rooms can sleep from 2 to 4 people. More information on lodging available here.


The main lodge has wider hallways and smooth floors. Getting to rooms on the second floor, including a space that overlooks the dance floor and one classroom, requires using stairs or exiting the building and going into another outside door on the other side.


The dining room has family-style bench seating and moveable furniture. The floor is smooth and there are no steps to enter the room.


Ashokan is ADA accessible and nothing is more than a 7-minute leisurely walk away from anything else. If you're in a wheelchair, you should know that the camp has a muddy parking lot and paths that can get a little crummy in warmer weather or shoulder seasons. We'll do our best to provide support that is appropriate for you.

Paths to the Main Lodge are well lit at night. To navigating well at night overall, we recommend bringing a flashlight or headlamp.

Tell me about Ashokan’s buildings and grounds.

I don't contra dance. Can I join?

If you don't contra dance, you're totally invited. We’ll have plenty of folks to teach you how it’s done! Or, you can enjoy the many other offerings - like the stellar music, the art-making, the dialogue, and the friendships.

It's always your choice what dance role you dance, when you dance, and when you don't. If you only want to dance one role all weekend, do it! 

Know that we host experience-based style workshops during a few of the contra dances that will aid each person in enhancing their capacity to dance both roles gracefully and effectively. We also host conversations about how to best communicate your needs and preferences so that you can "be met" and "meet" others on the dance floor - no matter the role you're choosing.

What if I only want to dance one role all weekend?

Not at all! Lots and lots of people who will come are already experienced dancing both dance roles. And, we'll have lovely experience-based style workshops taught by our caller that will cultivate a deeper understanding of how to embody both roles kindly and graciously. 

This is a weekend of play and exploration. We'll each be stretched just enough and have fun doing it!

Aren't you worried about having enough people who know how to dance both roles?

We use Larks (left role) and Robins (right role).

What role terms do you use?

If you need financial support to make this weekend possible, we've got your back! Next time around, get to us as early as possible and we can offer:

PAYMENT PLANS: If a payment plan makes attending this weekend workable for you, let's do it! We'll ask that you simply complete a financial request form and pay a $100 deposit at registration. We'll get in touch to work out an installment plan that makes sense.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: We may be able to offer financial assistance, thanks to a few generous, anonymous donors. No volunteer work required. We'll ask that you simply complete a financial request form to let us know what you'd like and pay a minimum payment of $100 at registration.

SCHOLARSHIPS: If you're thirty or under and a current or emerging contra dance community leader, we encourage you to apply for our Gaye Fifer Young Leader Scholarship. Five awardees will again be named who will receive a reduced registration cost of $100. No volunteer work required. Applications will be due by January 31, 2020. We’ll contact all applicants by February 15, 2020.

Send an email to Dela Murphy at dela(at) if you have questions.

Can we talk about money?

What if you're sold out and I want to come?

In the case that registration fills completely, we will keep a waiting list. If you're interested in being on said list, contact us. We'll then contact you should someone cancel. It will be first-come, first contacted. 

If you cancel more than 6 weeks prior to the event, we will provide a full refund. That means cancellation occurs on Thursday, April 16, 2020 or earlier.

If you cancel 6 weeks or less prior to event, you'll receive a 50% refund. That means cancellation occurs on or between the dates of Friday, April 17 and Thursday, May 14, 2020.

If canceling 2 weeks or less prior to event, you will not be refunded. This means cancellation occurs on Friday, May 15 or later.

What if I need to cancel?

May I bring my child?

Childcare is not available during the weekend and people under the age of 18 cannot attend.

Check out our packing list.

What should I bring?

Yes, we create a ride share tool for folks who are registered.

Can you help me arrange a ride?