Apr. 5-7: the 13th Fool's Festival Dance Weekend -- a good time was had by all! Many, many thanks to all the musicians, teachers, cooks, and staff who made it happen, especially head fools Ann Whitley and Seth Tepfer and our three core Split Tree ensemble musicians Alan Dynin, Dan Bowles and Tomas Valenti. Much new and renewed energy was present. We planted Mary Lynn Dobson's 16 Black Walnut seedlings in a circle around the old split tree; out of the old comes the new. And the proceeds from the volunteer talent and dancers paid off almost all of our studio roof loan. The 1st Fool's School of Traditional Dance got off to a good start with many compliments. A very happy time for Fool Sid. See you next year. Photos, movies to come. (double click to enlarge photos by Judy K Jones; upper, Fool's School dance class; lower, Sunday am gospel sing).
See NY Times Travel Section Sunday, Mar. 24
on Split Tree's Fool's Fest Dance Weekend
a grand day for dancing,
for dancin' and dancin' and dancing,
So come to the Fool's Fest while ye may,
And dance all night and all day...."
Return to Home Page
Link to Electronic Registration Form and to PayPal link Split Tree General Information Maps, Directions Lodging Chattanooga Weather Adobe PDF print version
Take the Fool's Step April 5 - 7 at the
"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we may as well dance." -- Japanese saying
Tree Farm Studio
in the northwest Georgia mountains two hours north of Atlanta near Chattanooga
Seth Tepfer & Ann Whitley
the Split Tree Ensemble of musical jesters
Tomas Valenti, Ann Whitley, Robert Jamison,
Alan Dynin, Dan Bowles, Joy Hughes,
Rich Restiano ,Ed Edmonson (piano and sound),
& other motley guest musicians and performers
for contras Brasstown's "Big
the Boom Chicks"
Linda Allen, Molly Robinson, Mike Robinson & Gladys Eichenberger
& Atlanta's "Up in the Air" with
Brian Baker, Jenny Dukes, Bill Porter, John Dixon
& the Fool's School fallible faculty
Manuel & Rhonda Patino, Seth Tepfer,
Bonnie Mitchell, Jim Bird, Kelly Arsenalt,
Eric Evers, Dan Smith, Brie Finegold & more
& an unflappable motley kitchen crew
Chefs Steve and Vicki Herndon
with Becky Forster, Anne Horgan, Leslie Valenti, Ed Park & Friends
Fool's Fest is a wild and happy collection of live and recorded music for contra, waltz, unstrictly ballroom, some Cajun/Zydeco, tango, Latin, blues, swing dancing, and other foolishness. Expect serious and not-so-serious dancing all weekend. This being a festival of fools, beginners are needed to offset the habits of experienced dancers.
to Inductees into the Year 2002 Split Tree Society of Fools
(subject to changes; some performances at unexpected moments)
Friday: Gathering of the Foolish
12- 8 pm Come early and help get the place ready; or the night before
6-9 Registration, tent setup and potluck dinner ($3 for Chef Vicki's soup pot)
6-8 Partner Dancing -- Recorded Swing, Waltz, Tango & More
(tutors for beginners will be available)
8-11 Fully Foolish Contras & Waltzes, Seth Tepfer calling
with "Big Red and the Boom Chicks" & friends
11-1 am ...a little late night music couples dancing, live and recorded
Saturday: The Fool's Way School of Traditional Dance:
A Meandering Non-linear History of Dance from no-step to eight-step and back to no-step for curious, adventurous dance fools. The true voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes". -- Marcel Proust
Times and dances subject to change. Take a chance; try the fool's way to dance bliss.
Here's Atlanta dancer and therapist Jim Bird's answer to Sid's question about his take on teaching steps the "fool's way": "The unique idea of teaching dances by emphasizing the number of sequential foot movements rather than beats to the bar just may help people learn in an unexpected way. Possibly, this method may engage more of the right side of the brain and allow the learning to slip in from a new direction. Usually, in learning new dances, the left brain is totally in control with counting and memorization of patterns. By teaching several supposedly disparate dances (e.g., Salsa, Zydeco, Waltz) during the same time, we might just confound the left brain enough to allow for some surprise and creativity. Either that or people will run screaming down the mountainside. Assuming they stop short of the creek, that too could be a nice addition to Fools' Fest. But seriously folks, assuming fools can be serious fools, comparing and contrasting different dances in the same lesson may just be delightfully entertaining and productive. With that said, my left brain is satisfied."
See notes on common dance types and styles from NYC's Dancesport ballroom studio
9--Morning No-step: Yoga Warm-up w/Eric (exercise clothing recm'd)
Session One-step: Smooth Merengue w/Jim and Bonnie; Ragtime with Sid
Two-step: Hoppin' Polka with Seth Tepfer, Cajun two-step with Ann Whitney
Three-step: Smooth Salsa/Waltz/Zydeco with Jim and Bonnie
Four-step: "True" Tango w/Manuel and Rhonda Patino
(Manuel was "head fool" 1991-94)
11:30-12 Dancing just for fun with the Split Tree Ensemble
12-1 Buffet Lunch
1--Afternoon Five-step (x2): Lindy Hop lite w/Kelly Arsenalt, Knoxville Swing Dancers
Six-step: Swing/Foxtrot/Waltz w/Dan Smith
Seven-step: steps swap--creating your own dance with/Brie Finegold and you
Eight-step: Old time triple step swing with Kelly and Greg
Back to No/Any-step: Poetic Dancing with Jim & Bonnie--
bringing it all together by blending music, moment, mood, body.
5 -6 Open dancing to live and recorded music
Caution: Expect this Fool's School experiment to flow and evolve and connect dancers and floor and music and mood. Special musicians needed. Special dancers needed. Beginner's mind essential.
Saturday Night: Fool's Feast & Ball
7-8 Feast of Fools, Chef Steve and Vicki & Friends
8-12 am Fully Un-Formal Fool's Ball with Seth's "Folk Opera in Three Movements"
(a combustible mixture of couple & group dances --
fully fine music by Ann Whitley's Split Tree Ensemble)
(you ask about Fool's Ball attire? how about funky double retro 21st century?)
Win the foolish dress contest and a ticket to next FF for 1 woman, 1 man, 1 child.
12 am until... Couples dancing to acoustic and recorded music
Sunday: Fool's School Graduation Exercises: Waltz, Swing, Contras, Porching
8:30-10 Breakfast buffet (non-breakfast types go directly to yoga)
9:30-10 Yoga Warm-up with Eric Evers (beginner's mind prerequisite;
exercise clothing recm'd)
10-11 Sweet Waltzing round the piano to Ann Whitley's Motley Fool Ensemble
11-12 Good Gospel Sing/Swing Dance with Ann Whitley, Joy Hughes & STF Ensemble
12-1 Lunch Buffet
1-3 Farewell Contras and Waltzes: Seth Tepfer, Vicki Herndon & Friends
with the Atlanta band, "Up in the Air"
3 .... Final Hugs & Serious Porching, rest before driving home
6 Dutch treat dinner at Canyon Grill on Lookout Mtn
Split Tree Farm is located 20 miles south of Chattanooga, TN and 100 miles NW of Atlanta in the NW Georgia mountains. Click on map page.
Total weekend adult donation: $60; please give more if you can for the
new insulated studio roof, dancing, music, calling, instruction,
farm, lodging. Children over 12 donate $20 for the weekend plus $6/food)
for weekend; all children must be supervised. Tax-deductible checks can be made
to Southern Pitch, Inc, an IRS-approved non-profit arts support organization
which nurtures organizations like the Split Tree School of Participatory Arts.
Weekend Food: (optional) is a low-budget $15 per person for the weekend, includes five meals Sat/Sun. Children over 12 pay $6 for food. Food is the only optional cost. Single dance tickets are available: $15/evenings; $8/half days; food optional but registration needed by 4/2/02 if meals desired; single meals $5 each with advance notice or potluck without notice. For Friday night, bring your picnic or contribute $3 to Chef Vicki's hot soup crock pot fund.
Tree has limited house beds (most saved for FF artists/staff) and house floor space but has ample studio floor space and also tent shelter in a large
barn next to the studio. No extra lodging charge for this Fool's Fest weekend. For more privacy you can camp on 200 acres of woods and pasture in
the NW Georgia mountains, which most dancers have come to enjoy and reserve
their favorite spots. Bring usual camping supplies: bedding, towels,
soap, flashlight, rain gear, etc. RVs are welcome but only a few
electrical outlets are available; .
Off-campus housing info: http://www.splittree.org/housing.htm. The Key West Inn near LaFayette (10 miles, special STF price of $45/night/couple) and Hidden Hollow Inn (4 miles; make early reservation) are recommended. A Day's Inn is next to the Key West Inn.
Weekend pre-registration is required but last-minute dancers may call during the weekend to learn if space is available.
Paired (buddy) registration is very strongly encouraged for gender balance, but come anyway, with or without a partner. Open registration means there may be, although not necessarily and not historically, more women than men and therefore, women, please recruit some of those "must dance with" or "shy but intriguing" guys to even things up. Fair warning dancers: If a serious gender imbalance develops, then we will not register singles of either gender until a closer balance is gained; this will be announced on the registration page and web flyer and on registration confirmations. So...please sign up as a couple just for the dancing.
Dancers are all asked to help preserve our beautiful hard wood floor by wearing clean non-street, non-marking, soft-sole shoes; bowling shoes are great and low-cost. Children must be supervised at all times; no underage foolishness allowed for the safety of all concerned. No pets or alcohol are allowed. Avoid strong perfumes/fragrances. We believe social dance may reduce or even stop nicotine addiction over time, and so smoking is allowed for humanitarian reasons for the addicted but only away from all non-smokers and buildings--no ifs, ands...or butts.
Your ticket cost of $60/person includes all music,
instruction, food and sleeping space in the house, studio, floor, barn or
pasture tenting. It can be made tax-deductible (see registration form).
Last year's Fool's Fest generated $2,800 net. The "Cool Studio" Nov. 1999
weekend generated $12,000, thanks to a $5,000 challenge grant from dancer
Phillip Garrison in Berkeley, Calif. under the leadership of Stanford dance
Powers. However, building one of the country's finest social and modern
dance studios has cost more than anticipated and a $5,000 loan was taken out to
finish the work during the summer of 2485 and our goal is to raise enough to pay
We are inviting musicians, callers, performers, artists, teachers to contribute their talents for this now traditional weekend of a variety of dance genres that have changed each year from FF's 1990 premier near Split Tree studio but that will include traditional contra, swing/Lindy, salsa, unstrictly ballroom, live or recorded Cajun/Zydeco, waltz, contact improvisation, etc. Expect surprise musical and dance combinations in our various Split Tree ensembles and also special performances.
Detailed directions available from web site, or call 706/539-2485 if no web
Split Tree General Information Maps, Directions Lodging Chattanooga Weather
Receive a free
"live at the studio" Split Tree Waltzes CD with $100 FF weekend
Print/Email Registration form (please use electronic registration or, if it's easier for you, email info below to Margaret Frederick at registrationff2002 [@] splittree.org or mail this completed portion w/check to: 597 W. Cove Road, Chickamauga, GA 30707.
Make check payable to Fool's Fest 2002/Split Tree Farm.
As of Apr. 1, you may pay at the door instead of mailing a check. Please note this on e-registration.
__________________________________________________________(age if under 12)
Street Address _________________________________________________________
City_________________________ State__________ Zip ___________________
Phone: ______________________ Email:_______________________________
We will send an email confirming your registration or will call with
confirmation. Or, you can call Margaret or Sid at 706/539-2485 or if busy, 706/539-2485 and register by phone.
You also can pay STF by phone with your credit card--MC/Visa.
Link to Electronic Registration Form and to PayPal link
Adults Tuition:* #_______ [@] $60 each = $____
Adult Meals:* #_______ [@] $15/person = $_______ (5 wknd meals for $15 total--optional)
Child Tuition: * #_______ [@] $20 each = $_______ (under 12 years)
Child Meals: * #_______ [@] $6/person = $_______ (5 wknd meals) (over 12 years--optional)
Reserve a "Live at Split Tree Waltzes" CD for me yes _____ no ______
($10 or free with minimum $100 tuition donation that does not include food)
Note: Children must be supervised at all times and we do not have child-care at this time. We welcome children yet we ask parents to use good judgment in allowing children to dance in contra lines. If requested, we can set aside one or two contras for beginners and families if enough experienced dancers will assist.
Total $ Enclosed ___________ Number persons:________
For a tax-deductible donation, make check payable to: Southern Pitch, Inc./Split Tree Fund; meals not tax-deductible, and mail to above address.
Single dance tickets are available if not sold out: $15/evenings; $8/half days; food optional
but registration needed by 4/2/02 if meals desired; single meals $5 each with
advance notice or potluck without notice.
Lodging plans (indicate # beside each choice):
_____ Barn space (a mattress of wood shavings)
_____ Pasture tenting
_____ Motel/BnB, Click for nearby Lodgings
_____ House (all beds are held until volunteer artists/staff advise needs; a few may be available as of 4/1/02)
_____ Studio/house floor space (ample room for sleeping bag/air mattress)
We welcome any method of registration but checks must be received within 7 days for registration to be confirmed. No refunds after 3/29/02 (tuition credit only after confirmation, except for medical emergencies).
FLIGHT INFO: Nearest public airport is Chattanooga (45 minutes); Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, Knoxville airports are about 2-3 hours and usually some rides can be found with the help of dancers in nearby cities.
Join the Split Tree Fool's Hall of Fame by contributing $250 or more--see current HF Fool photos
Link to previous FF/ other STF weekends flyers.
to photo page with ff99 and ff00.
Photos of Fool's Hall of Fame for $250+ contributors
History of the Fool's Fest and First 1990 Fool's Fest Dawn Dance Flyers
a Fool's History of How Contra Dancing Got Its Name
"All I Really Need to Know I Learned at Contra Dancing," by Ginger Pyron
Split Tree is supported in part by Southern Pitch, Inc. and other generous supporters of the social and participatory arts.
Thanks to Bart Ruark, creator of Dance Vortex, for designing the new electronic registration form and updating our email mailing lists, and to Steve and Vicki Herndon for the food and to Steve for web page assistance.
Split Tree announcements are made by email only to those who are interested and anyone receiving emails who does not want them should notify: sid [@] splittree.org with the word REMOVE in the subject line.
Guest Book Sign Up for STF Email Lists
Visitors: Updated: 04/18/07 Return to Home Page
Tree General Information Maps,
Directions Lodging Chattanooga
Link to Adobe PDF file for printing one page FF 2002 flyers for copying/distribution
Fool's Fest is a
production of the Split Tree School of Participatory Arts
Split Tree Farm
597 West Cove Road
Chickamauga, GA 30707