Northwest Passage Dance Camp
Labor Day Weekend, September 1 to 4, 2023


The roots of Northwest Passage can be traced to 1979 when the English and Scottish country dancers had a fall weekend getaway at Camp Westwind on the Oregon coast. They repeated the weekend at Camp Magruder in 1980. These first two camps were organized by individuals - PCDC did not yet exist. However after the 1980 weekend, a group of the camp organizers decided to create a formal organization, which could oversee the camps and other dances. This was how the Portland Country Dance Community came into being. Dick Lewis and Molly Libby, both ECD callers, were the early organizers of PCDC.

By 1982, the camp was established at Suttle Lake on the 3rd weekend in September, remaining on this weekend until sometime in the later ‘90s when it was forced to move to Labor Day Weekend because of the availability of the facility. Most people preferred having the 3-day longer camp, so it became re-established on this weekend. Over this period of time, the nature of dancing and music evolved. The English beginnings of the camp remained very strong at first, but gradually contra dancing gained popularity and contra dance organizers became part of the weekend committee. The focus remained on two different dance types each year alternating between contra and English one year and contra and something else (Scandinavian, swing, squares) the next year. music workshops were always a prominent feature of the weekends.

In 2003, the camp needed to make a very sudden move because forest fire crews were stationed at the Suttle Lake facility. The camp was then held at Camp Namanu, near Sandy. Dancers hugely preferred this location over Suttle Lake, so it continued there, still with the alternating dance format.

In 2009, another move was forced on the weekend when Namanu became unavailable over Labor Day Weekend. The camp then relocated to its current location at Kiwanis on Mount Hood.

In 2014, the camp underwent a major change in format. The alternating years remained, but 2014 was all English Country Dance, followed by 2015 all Contra Dance.  After 2017 and 2019's very low turnout, we phased out the Contra and became an all English Country Dance camp.  And the tradition continues...

Prior years' staff included: