Dance Class vs. Dance Camp

What’s the difference?

Hello, Dance Lover,

I assume you know the important difference between a dance class and a dance camp. But in case you’re not sure:

In a dance class:

  • You learn essentials of a specific dance’s style and work to master some cool moves. 
  • Then you move up to the next level.

At a dance camp:

  • You get foundations in dances new to you, and get a lot better at dances you already love.
  • You stay up too late.
  • You wake up too early.
  • You drink more tea or coffee than you almost ever drink.
  • You connect with dance buddies in ways just not possible in a class or at a Saturday dance.
  • You spend the night. Or two. Or three.
  • You have breakfasts, lunches and dinners communally, with new folks at each meal.
  • You cut a class and take a nap instead.
  • You go for walks amid an evergreen forest. Or maybe on the beach. Or likely both.
  • Maybe you sit by the fireplace and read. 
  • You dance with people with whom you’ve never danced with before.
  • And wonder why you’ve never danced with them before. (But you certainly will again.)
  • You laugh too much, which turns out to be just the right amount.
  • You head home from camp both exhausted and exhilarated.
  • You realize you’ve not just been to a dance camp, but you’ve also had a vacation.

And those aren’t even the most important difference between a dance class and a dance camp.

That comes a week or ten days later.

Indeed, my experience — and the experience of everyone with whom I’ve talked about going to dance camps — is that a week or two later you go to a dance: and suddenly you’re completely transformed as a dancer. 

You’re better. More skilled. More confident. And more sought after by other partners.

Dance camps seem to do that to just about everyone — so this is my pitch:

I’m inviting you to the Seabeck Dance Camp on Hood Canal. Jodi Fleischman and I are co-directors this year, and the dates are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 2,3,4 and 5.

Seven top-drawer instructors will be there: 

Peter Flahiff and Lauren Smith (wowsers), Wren Newman and Scot McKay, Sean Donovan, Jodi Fleischman, and me. 

Some of the classes offered include: 

  • West Coast Swing—Sleek & Saucy
  • Country Two Step
  • Swing-Rhythm Groove
  • Collegiate Shag
  • Blues
  • Cross-Step Waltz
  • Foxtrot
  • The Shim Sham
  • Bachata
  • Traveling Nightclub Two Step
  • One Step Traveling Blues
  • And certainly a bit more!

This 17th year of the Seabeck Dance Camp is sponsored by NW Dance.

You can get key details right here.  

I’ve attended about 15 times and always go back for more.

Going to Seabeck is magic. And we all make it together.

Got questions? Just send me an email at  

All best wishes,


Dean Paton & Jodi Fleischman | co-directors

Seabeck Dance Camp 2023

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