The story of Big Heart (BH) Dance Camp began in the 90's. I was invited by a dear friend to attend DNE's (Dance New England) summer dance camp. I was in my mid 20's and my personal growth was exponential! I drove our VW van, lovingly named the 'Mango Mama', to this dance camp in the USA. This was the longest road trip I had taken on my own! I was nervous & excited and not sure what I had said 'Yes!' to. But I trusted my friend Jen and I trusted myself.
I went to DNE for a few summers in a row and then back again in my 30's. I invited family & friends (of course!!) to join me at DNE. It was fun to meet so many new people but even more fun to share the experience of dance camp with friends from home. One year during our long drive home, we had conversation about Peak Oil. This sparked the idea to host a dance camp in Ontario. And so the seed was planted!
Those who know me, know that I get MANY creative ideas for building community. I am grateful for these ideas and grateful that I manifest many of them. The first annual Big Heart Dance Camp was celebrated in 2008! It was a weekend gathering - Friday to Sunday. I clearly remember a friend seeing the first poster for BH and commenting on the fact that I had written 'The First Annual' and she acknowledged the fact that I was committing, before the inaugural camp had even happened, to have this be an annual tradition. Over a decade later it has grown to be a week long gathering of Creative Conscious Community. For some souls it is the highlight of their summer, or others the highlight of their year!
I am so grateful for my long time friendship with Alta Wilbur (Our Big Hearted Cook), Shelley Hannah, Patrick Keating and my Mom who have been pillars for me during every Dance Camp. There are many other friends, dancers, & passionate community builders who have chosen to help create this special gathering we call Big Heart! With a big hearted thank you, know that I am forever grateful for your love & involvement.
Cheers to many more years where we
GATHER GROOVE GROW in CREATIVE CONSCIOUS COMMUNITY!
- If you're curious to learn more about me, feel free to check out my website ayrlie.ca -
What's your Big Heart Story?
Everyone who comes to Big Heart has their own story. How they found out about dance camp, the memorable moments that continue to form their present reality & why they choose to come back year after year.
If you want to share YOUR story, email us at