Is space available? Yes, we will not sell out this time so no need to call; sign up now.

Campers:  Fri/Sat nights will be in the 40s so if you prefer to sleep on the floor in house, studio or a cabin, we can arrange that when you register Friday.
SE Weather Radar  Split Tree Weather Forecast

"It's a grand day for dancing,
for dancin' and dancin' and dancing,
So come to the Fool's Fest while ye may,
And dance, dance...all night and all day...." 

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Link to  Fool's Fest menu

Take the Fool's Step  The Fool Card  April 2 - 4 at the

  F o foolart.gif (6828 bytes)o l's  Fest   20foolart.gif (6828 bytes)04
Dance  Weekend
"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we may as well dance."
Or, freely translated:

Dancers are fools; lookers-on are fools! If both are fools, why not be dancing fools!

 -- link to this Japanese festival (matsuri) and saying
    at Split Tree Farm Studio wpe6.gif (239365 bytes)  
in the northwest Georgia mountains two hours north of Atlanta near Chattanooga

join head dance fool Seth Tepfer  
Seth Tepfer head shot calling at Blue Moon  (after)
   & head music fool Dan Bowles penquin.gif (1809 bytes)

 & the Split Tree Ensemble of musical jesters
 Dan Bowles, Tomas Valenti, Alan Dynin,

Mike Robinson, Bill Porter, Brian Baker,
Dave Kehres, Brian Donahue

& other motley guest musicians and performers

& the Fool's School fallible faculty
Seth Tepfer, Magdalena Zigova and Andrew Martin,
Bonnie Mitchell, Jim Bird, Greg Engleman,
Sid Hetzler, Gadiel Robbins
with contra fool Seth Tepfer & special guest contra fool Vicki Herndon

 & the flappable motley kitchen crew
 Head Food Fools -- Jennifer Horrocks and Steve Herndon
with Don Bayliss, Leslie Valenti, Judi Snipes, Anne Horgan, and a few more good souls

Fool's Fest is a wild and crazy happening to mostly live and some recorded music of waltz, swing, contras, some Cajun/Zydeco, tango, Latin, blues, contact improv 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.   It was started in 1990 at a nearby dance hall by Sid Hetzler with other Atlanta dancers, moved in 1996 to Split Tree's new studio (which it made possible to complete), and since then has been a unique happening sustained by the dancers and volunteer musicians, teachers, callers, cooks and other staff.  Sid had the idea and, backed by Anne Whitley and Susan Davis,  chaired the CCD committee for what became his first dance weekend to organize with talented Atlanta volunteers; Manuel Patino was head fool from 1992-95 until he and CCD gave it up and Sid picked it up again and moved it from nearby Hidden Hollow camp to Split Tree, which had to be upgraded for the event.

Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening bodhichitta are called bodhisattvas or warriors --not warriors who kill but warriors of nonaggression who hear the cries of the world.  Warrior-bodhisattvas enter challenging situations in order to alleviate suffering. They are willing to cut through personal reactivity and self-deception. They are dedicated to uncovering the basic, undistorted energy of bodhichitta.   A warrior [FOOL?] accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe.  But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty.  This non-knowing is part of the adventure.  It's also what makes us afraid. -- excerpts from Pema Chodron via Seth Tepfer

See NY Times Travel Section Sunday, Mar. 24 article 
on Split Tree's Fool's Fest Dance Weekend 2003

Welcome letter to Inductees into the Year 2004 Split Tree Society of Fools

Schedule (subject to changes; some performances at unexpected moments)

Friday:        Gathering of the Foolish        Link to Jennifer's Fool's Fest menu

12- 8 pm   Come early and help get the place ready; or the night before
6-8             Potluck food or Chef Jennifer's special soup, $3 for Chef's fund
6-8             Registration, tent setup
Beginner's Class:  Revelation of the long lost Fool's Secret to Partner Dancing
                                   -- "If You Can Walk, You Can Dance, " led by Sid Hetzler

                    (tutors for beginners will be available; beginners are welcomed and needed to offset the habits of experienced dancers)
7-8              Contra dancing lesson--basics and flourishes, Seth Tepfer
8-10            Fully Foolish Contras with Seth Tepfer & waltzes & some other good couples dancing stuff
                           with the fabulous Fool's Fest Ensemble

0-12        Club Mufarse:  blues, swing, waltz, tango into the late night,  live and recorded (see description below)

Saturday:  The Fool's Way School of Traditional Dance:  Foolin' with Close Embrace Dances & Improvisation
Dances:  contact improvisation, blues, tango, Zydeco, Balboa swing, salsa, fusion dances/music  

Caution:   All dance classes below explore variations on the close style, or close embrace, mode of dancing in various styles; partner contact is not required but is recommended; for adults only or minimum age 18 or parental permission.   Making a fool of one's self is encouraged and expected.  This is "fool's edge" dancing and personal boundaries are respected by all dancers.
 The true voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes". -- Marcel Proust.
8-9                 Breakfast buffet
9--Morning    Contact improvisation warm-up w/Gadiel Robbins (tights or exercise clothing needed) 
For a CI dance example, see Bob's Bennett's Mar 21, 04 digital photos of Louise Runyon and Gadiel Robbins
demonstrating waltz/contact improvisation fusion dancing at March 21 Atlanta Waltz Society

                       Blues w/Jim and Bonnie

Zydeco with Jim and Bonnie
                       Foolish contra styling/dancing with Seth Tepfer and FF Ensemble (new)
12-1                Buffet Lunch  

Social Argentine tango w/Magdalena Zigova and partner, Andrew
Balboa swing with Greg Engleman and Michael Legget
"Two Hearts Beat in 3/4 Time,"  brief intro to warp speed Viennese spinning waltz with Sid Hetzler and partner

                        Fusion contact improv &couple dance improvisation/close style dance chill-down with Gadiel
(tights or exercise clothing needed)
                               ---with improvisational music by Alan Dynin and Friends

4:30-5:30       Bringing it all together by blending music, moment, mood, body--dancing to Split Tree recorded collection/ensemble
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.  Dress for the energetic playshops.

Saturday Night:  Fool's Feast & Ball
6-7              Feast of Fools, Chefs Jennifer Horrock, Steve Herndon, Don Bayliss & Friends
7-8              Swing & Blues Dancing, Fool's Fest Duo, Dan and Alan
Fully Un-Formal Fool's Ball  (expect deviations and divergences in the program)
8-12             Contras with master caller Seth Tepfer and Vicki Herndon mixed with dance stuff from the Fool's School playshops;
                              be prepared for the unexpected--not your normal contra dance; bring beginner's mind
                     (a combustible mixture of Seth's special contras & couples dances  -- fully fine music by Dan Bowles' Split Tree Ensemble)
                     (you ask about Fool's Ball attire?  how about funky double retro 21st century?  colorful, man, colorful!) 

12 am until... 
Club Mufarse:  blues, swing, waltz, tango into the late night,  live and recorded
                       Note:  Club Mufarse is a mellow time and space for romantic couples dancing, relaxed, found in
                       some Argentinean dance halls and reconstructed by historian Richard Powers but loosely interpreted by the Fool's Fest

Sunday:      Fool's School Graduation Exercises: 
foolart.gif (6828 bytes)Yoga, Singing, Waltz, Contras, Serious Porching   
8:30-10        Breakfast buffet (late risers and non-breakfast types go directly to yoga)
9:00-10        Yoga & partner warm-up with Gadiel (beginner's mind prerequisite; exercise clothing recommended)
    Gospel Sing with Dan Bowles and assorted singers
11-12           Sweet Waltzing 'round the piano to the Motley Fool Ensemble
12-1              Lunch Buffet
1-3                 Farewell Contras and Waltzes, Etc, Seth Tepfer & Vicki Herndon with the infamous Split Tree Wall of Sound Ensemble

 Movement session:  Gadiel's guided chill down--some yoga, yogilates, contact improv jam, meditation)
                          and also including guest movement teachers

....               And/or -- Informal dancing, final hugs & serious Porching, rest before driving home
5                    Dutch treat dinner at Canyon Grill on Lookout Mtn; superb cuisine but expensive; reasonable veggies

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.

The Particulars

Cost:  weekend adult tuition: $75; all talent is donated and all proceeds go to pay for studio improvements, bathhouse fund and repairs.   Includes dancing, all live music, calling, instruction, farm, lodging.  [Note that the Saturday workshops are limited to dancers 18 and over but children are welcome as always at Fool's Fest.  There is no child care unless parents create a kid co-op in one of the cabins/grounds.  We suggest for this year leaving the kids at home if possible.]  Children over 12 pay $20 for the weekend--see food cost below) for weekend; all children must be supervised.   Tax-deductible checks for higher amounts can be made to Southern Pitch, Inc, an IRS-approved non-profit arts support organization which nurtures organizations such as Split Tree School of Participatory Arts.  

Weekend Food: $25 (optional), includes five tasty vegetarian meals Sat & Sun. Children over 12 pay $10 for food.  You may bring your own food and please indicate this when registering.  Surplus food funds go toward the general studio improvement fund.  For those with special diets, either cabin is available for cooking if advance arrangements are made.

Single dance/meal/lodging tickets:  if available: $15/evenings; $10/half days; food optional but registration needed by 4/1/02 if meals desired; single meals $5 each with advance notice or potluck without notice.   Friday night menu is buffet soup and salad served from 6 - 9 pm. 

Campers:  Fri/Sat nights will be dry but in the 40s so if you prefer to sleep on the floor in house, studio or a cabin, we can arrange that when you register Friday.  See Chattanooga Weather for update.
Included in weekend tuition cost.  Split Tree has about 35 house and cabin beds (all now reserved or for FF artists/staff) and house/cabin floor space but has ample studio floor space and also tent shelter in a large barn next to the studio.  Lodging included on space available basis for this Fool's Fest weekend.  But, have an adventure; for more privacy you can camp on 200 acres of woods and pasture in the NW Georgia mountains, which most seasoned dancers enjoy and even 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; OR--
Off-campus housing info:  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 on Hwy. 27 a few miles north of LaFayette.

General Considerations:  Weekend pre-registration is required but last-minute dancers may call just before or during the weekend to learn if space is available.   The last two years have been sold out so register early to save a space.

      Paired (buddy) registration is very, very strongly encouraged -- but not required -- for gender balance, but register 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 avoid this step and sign up as a gender pair just for the dancing.

     General Considerations:  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 tuition and food ticket cost includes all music, instruction, food and sleeping space in the house (if available), studio, floor, barn or pasture tenting.

Music is the heart of the Fool's Fest and our Steinway grand piano symbolizes our belief in the power of the music and those who bring this energy to us.  We are honored to have Chattanooga's fine musician, composer/trumpeter/band leader Dan Bowles, leading the musical program this year; he has been a part of Split Tree since its beginning in 1994 and a good friend since 1980.  Once again, we are honored by musicians, callers, performers, artists, teachers who contribute their talents for this now traditional weekend.  Fool's Fest includes a variety of dance genres that have changed each year from FF's original 1990 all-night dawn dance, sponsored by the Atlanta Chattahoochee Contra Dancers' (see history link below) near Split Tree studio.  As FF has evolved, the current program includes traditional contra with surprises, swing/Lindy, salsa, unstrictly ballroom, live or  recorded Cajun/Zydeco, waltz, contact improvisation, etc.  Expect unexpected musical and dance combinations in our various Split Tree ensembles and also special performances.  

Directions: Detailed directions available from web site, or call 706/539-2485 if no web access.
Split Tree General Information   Maps, Directions  Lodging  Chattanooga Weather

Paste/complete and email registration form below to or mail the completed form below w/check to:  597 W. Cove Road, Chickamauga, GA 30707.   You may pay electronically at the Split Tree Web Store  Please make check payable to FF04/Split Tree Farm

Date:________________ Name/s:  ____________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________(age if under 12)

Email address ____________________________________________________________

Payment method: ____check ____ Paypal _______ cash at door _________  other (pigs, chickens)_______

If on scholarship, what are hours you have scheduled? _____________________________________

Street Address _________________________________________________________

City_________________________ State__________   Zip ___________________

Phone: ______________________  Paired with___________________________________________

We will send an email confirming your registration or will call with confirmation.  Or, you can call Sid at 706/539-2485 and register by phone.  

Link to PayPal credit card page                     PDF print flyer           Link to Jennifer's Fool's Fest menu

Adults Tuition: #_______ [@] $75 each   =    $______  (includes lodging, beds limited)
Adults Food: #_________ [@] $25 each =     $_______ (includes six meals)
Child Tuition:   #_______ [@] $20 each    =    $_______  (under 12 years)
Child Meals:    #_______ [@] $10/person    =    $_______ (6 wknd meals) (over 12 years--optional)

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 adults_______  #children _______    Payment method ____________________
To make a tax-deductible donation for the studio improvements fund, call Sid at 706.539.2485.

Single dance tickets are available if not sold out: $15/evenings; $10/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 sold out)
_____ Studio/house floor space (ample room for sleeping bag/air mattress i large heated/air conditioned studio)
_____ Other?______________

We welcome any method of registration but checks must be received within 7 days for registration to be confirmed.  No refunds after 3/29/03 (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.       Link 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

So, said Sid the Fool to artists and dancers,
"What do we mean by a Fool's Festival Dance Weekend?"
"What makes the FF special and different from regular traditional dance weekends?"
"Juxtaposition"– unexpected things placed close together, e.g, a Fool’s Festival
(from the Split Tree Dance Encyclopedia)
Second hint:  Study the Fool's Tarot card link below
Third Hint:  see (world's weirdest participatory arts festival)
Send your answers to:  foolishquestion {@}

Split Tree is supported by the dancers dancing, in part by Southern Pitch, Inc. and by other generous supporters of the moving and participatory arts.

Split Tree announcements are made by email only to those who are interested and anyone receiving emails who does not want them should notify:  remove [@] with the word REMOVE in the subject line.  

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Visitors:  Hit Counter    Updated:   02/03/11   Return to Home Page

Split Tree General Information   Maps, Directions   Lodging  Chattanooga Weather

PDF print flyer

Fool's Fest is a production of the Split Tree School of Participatory Arts
Split Tree is a member of the Country Dance and  Song Society
Contact:  Sid Hetzler    Sid's Background

Split Tree Farm

597 West Cove Road

Chickamauga, GA 30707
Tel:  706.539.2485
Fax:  770/216-1596