Our staff includes many dance callers, dance instructors, and musicians. We also have a storyteller, a preschool teacher, a stilts or ropes course instructor, and an arts and crafts instructor along with a few other unique talents each year. The types of dance offered often include Contra dance, English country dance, Irish step dance and ceilidh dance, Rapper sword dance, Long Sword dance and Morris. 

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  • Andy Wilson

    stilting, family dance

    Andy Wilson (stilting) has spent many years supporting family dance in the Santa Cruz area. At Family Week, he is patient and competent and will help you guide your child on those first very tall steps. He excels in making other people better—he’s often run our family camp sound board. Soon your child will be proudly walking tall!


  • Anne Bingham Goess

    programmer, fiddler

    Anne Bingham Goess (programmer, fiddler) enjoys wearing many hats (and wreaths!). Trained as a classical violinist, she immersed herself in choral singing and light opera for many years, and then fell in love with Irish fiddle in the 90s. These days she plays regularly for Irish, English Country and Contra dancing in the Bay Area, and wields the violin and viola with the band Erica & Friends. She has also performed since 2010 with the Christmas/Midwinter Revels, and served as music director for the 2022 Butterfly Lovers of Gold Mountain production. Last summer she reprised her role of Manuelita (after 30 years) in Carmen with Festival Opera (and has scars on the knees to show for it!)


  • Ben Saylor

    Irish flute, juggling

    Ben Saylor got his start in traditional dance music in 2006 when he began playing bass with the band Jubilee for contra dances and camps in and around Anchorage, Alaska. This exposure to Irish traditional music inspired him to pick up the mandolin, tenor banjo, and Irish flute, his main instrument ever since. He performed with Irish group Crooked Road before moving to the Bay Area in 2014, where he has frequented sessions and played with the Golden Gate Ceili band.


  • Courtney Tolhurst

    preschool

    Courtney Tolhurst (preschool) works in a Waldorf School in Jamestown, California. She was recently accepted into Cal Poly Humboldt as an Upper-Division Transfer student to obtain a Multi Subject Teaching Credential. She adores working with kids of all ages, and is particularly crafty. She loves to dance, sing, and spend as much time as possible in nature! 2024 will be her third year attending camp and she couldn’t be more excited!


  • Craig Johnson

    piano, accordion

    Craig Johnson has been to almost every Family Week, and has also played piano and accordion for dancers since 1982. He plays for community and Celtic dance at SF’s Dickens Fair, performs with the Dogwatch Nautical Band, and is a regular musician for San Francisco’s Cotswold and longsword teams, Goat Hill and Ring of Cold Steel.


  • David James

    mandolin, fiddle, guitar

    David James has spent time in western swing bands, symphony orchestras, pop/rock bands, and ECD/contra dance bands. He’s the musician for Wild Wood Morris (Border) and Rising Phoenix Morris (Cotswold), and a member of the ECD/contra dance band Whirled Peas. David has spent the last 20+ years as a kindergarten through 6th grade classroom music teacher in southern California public schools.


  • Jeff Spero

    piano

    Jeffrey Spero has been playing piano and singing since he was five years old. At a young age he discovered an affinity for popular music and developed his style emulating musicians like James Taylor, Elton John, and Bruce Hornsby. In his 30s, he brought his rhythmic style to American and Celtic folk and dance music and now travels around the country playing dances, concerts, and festivals with bands such as Syncopaths and Rhythm Raptors. In addition to editing and music, Jeffrey is a contradance caller and choreographer whose dances have been enjoyed all across this country and overseas.


  • Kelly Graham

    Morris dance, theater

    Kelly Graham is thrilled to be returning to Family Week this year. After a long hiatus, which ended last year, she is so excited to see all her friends old and new! She teaches Morris Dance and Drama Improv. Be sure to bring your bells and hankies!!


  • Lindsay Verbil

    English country dance, calling

    Bio coming soon.


  • Lorraine Kostka

    crafts

    Lorraine Kostka has been leading crafts with children for many years at summer camps and public schools.  Her four kids have grown up attending family camp each year and as teens they still enjoy camp.  Lorraine will share her experience and love of tie dye and other crafts to allow campers a place to create.


  • M’Gilvry Allen

    fiddle, electronic music

    M’Gilvry Allen is a musician and producer from Sebastopol, California. He tours as a fiddle player and utility hitter in several indie projects, while his solo music blends folk instruments, modern electronic production, and multilayered vocal harmonies into a kaleidoscope of familiar sounds. In 2019, M’Gilvry and some friends built an earth plaster music studio in a remote part of Oregon, where he produced his debut album, In My Garden. M’Gilvry’s work can be found at his website, mgilvryallen.com, on patreon at patreon.com/mgilvryallen, and on all major platforms as @mgilvryallen.


  • Nick Cuccia

    sound engineer

    Nick Cuccia has been bringing his sound expertise to Family Week since 2015. Nick strives to enhance the dancing experience by providing sound that is both clear and enjoyable. Nick has been sound engineer for BACDS’s Family Week, English Week, Fall Frolick/Fall Weekend, Playford Ball, and Fall Ball, as well as NBCDS’s Mad Robin Ball. Nick also leads and teaches contra, English and barn dances throughout northern and central California.


  • Raffi Maslan

    circus arts

    Raffi Maslan grew up in the Seattle Washington folk music and dance communities, folk dancing since he was nine, contra dancing since age 11, and performing with the Radost Folk Ensemble since he was 13. He gained an early love of juggling, magic, and other circus arts from being enthralled by street performers at festivals and fairs. He has performed as a magician’s apprentice traveling to ren faires, done puppeteering with giant puppets, and taught juggling workshops at the Bash on Vashon new years camp.


  • Rhonda Cayford

    rapper sword dance

    Rhonda Cayford has been an avid contradancer for over 40 years, starting in Boston in 1978 and having the good fortune to move to San Francisco in 1980, just as the dance scene was taking off here. She discovered rapper at BACDS English Week in 1986 and it has been her passion ever since. She is the founder of a womens’ rapper team called Twisted Sisters, and was a long-time member of Swords of Gridlock. She has taught Rapper, Longsword, Cotswold, and Northwest Morris at camp. In 2022 and 2023, she held the role of camp programmer.


  • Shirleigh Brannon

    Irish ceili dance, step dance

    Shirleigh Brannon has been involved with different kinds of Irish and Scottish dance, music, and singing for many years/decades in various locations. Helping others feel like they can participate at whatever level they are is one of her ideas of  having fun.


  • sTåń Fowler

    safety, ropes course

    sTåń Fowler “Dance Ranger” is our camp safety officer and also supervises the ropes course. He’s a strong advocate of prevention, and a hitch in the US Coast Guard plus thirty years with the National Park Service has given him practice dealing with everything from bandaid-sized boo-boos to lifesaving emergencies. Having been on the staff of over 150 music, dance, and family weeks and weekends, and also attended somewhere north of 6,000 dances, he is not surprised anymore by anything that happens at camp. The ropes course fits in well with his history of tree, rock, and ice climbing over the years and running the rigging of the Pride of Baltimore II. Ropes and knots are his friends.


  • Susan Frontczak

    storytelling, theater

    Storysmith® Susan Marie Frontczak brings folklore, literature, and history to life; creates stories from thin air; and hones personal experience into tales worth telling again and again. She has performed in 43 of the United States and nine countries abroad. Susan Marie has been teaching storytelling skills since 1991 to both children and adults.  She has led storytelling workshops through CSU Continuing Education, Naropa University, Think360 Arts (formerly Young Audiences), and Colorado Humanities, as well as in her living room. Whether creating stories off the cuff, infusing folk traditions with fresh breath, or presenting a honed dramatic performance, Susan Marie lives up to her motto, “Give me a place to stand, and I will take you somewhere else.”


  • Talitha Amadea Aho

    singing

    Talitha Amadea Aho is looking forward to her first time at BACDS camp! She grew up in a contra dancing and folk singing family and is excited to pass that down to the next generation. She sings sea chanteys and ballads as well as American gospel songs. Recent musical endeavors include “Months Advance,” a sea chantey band that performed at the SF sea music festival in years past, playing bass for Berkeley Morris, and a bluegrassy church band. 


  • Yoyo Zhou

    contra dance

    Bio coming soon.