The Trance Dance

The first week of working at “the New Age camp,” as I referred to it, entailed lots of bonding exercises, standing in circles, and playing embarrassing getting-to-know-you improvisation and movement games. Most of these games included hackey-sacks. My co-counselors taught classes like Cloud Gazing and Magic Cards and Live Action Role Play and Acro-yoga and Hula-hooping and Make Your Own Moon Cycle Pad and Radical Menstruation. I taught creative writing and counted the days until I was leaving.

During the second week of camp, after the teens had formed close friendships and either felt very comfortable at camp or very homesick, we had something called Girls Weekend and Boys Weekend. The boys and girls were split up and didn’t cross paths from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. On the agenda was a matriarchal linear circle, a power shuffle, and a sweat lodge led by a man named Medicine Bear. But what kicked off the weekend was the most daunting of all: The trance dance.

I took a while reviewing Diana Spechler’s new novel, Skinny because I was too busy trying to fit into itty bitty shorts at Banana Republic. I tried to do double-duty—reading some of the book while I waited in line—but it was too confusing. All those size zero mannequins that looked like Gray Lachmann, the protagonist of Skinny and her co-counselors at “fat camp” telling me to go to work out, while a new, blank document in MS Word sat on my desk at home saying feed me!