Nestled in the exquisite Sierra Nevada mountains, 50 miles east of Fresno, just 7 miles outside of King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Park at 4,300 feet lays Camp Hye Sierra, home of CAMP FARETA. Camp Fareta, which is celebrating its 13th summer is a residential workshop hosted by Youssouf Koumbassa, a master dancer, choreographer, and teacher from Guinea featuring other high-level drum and dance artists and instructors from Mali, Senegal, the Congo, and Zimbabwe.
Students of West African drum and dance come from all over the country and even the world to enjoy taking a variety of classes of different levels and styles from authentic, source teaching artists in a beautiful and rustic setting. There are between 8-10 dance and drum classes offered everyday in beautiful spots spread throughout the camp, including the famous pavilion which is know for the wonderful breeze that comes off of the glistening water of the nearby lake. Camp Fareta has a wonderful “kids’ camp” that engages children through group activities and crafts as well as teaches them about important life lessons through facilitated activities and group talks. Some favorite kid activities include making tie-dye shirts, bracelets, taking special drum classes, and preparing a piece for the annual talent show.
Besides the wonderful gem of the taking classes from and mixing and mingling with such fabulous teaching artists, other favorite camp activities include shopping in a pop up outdoor African bizarre, song circles, late night drum jams, star gazing, swimming, watching the talent show, boogieing down at Club Fareta, and participating in the culminating Dundunba event with opportunities to improvise in the dance solo circle.
One of the most transformative energies of being together in our little village for that week in August derive from the deep the connections created between participants through mutual love, support, and respect as we eat, play, learn, and grow together. It is a truly magical experience!