California Drum and Dance Camp


California Drum & Dance Camp

Wednesday, July 19 – Sunday, July 23, 2017


Take the Journey with Us!

Join percussionists Robert Wallace and Ben Isaacs, and dance instructor Alyssa DeCaro for an exciting five days / four nights rhythm adventure to the beauty and seclusion of California’s Central Coast. Surrounded by oak and redwood trees, the California Drum & Dance Camp site is a private, 22-acre retreat center located near Pescadero, CA, about 1.5 hrs. south of San Francisco.

Enjoy miles of trails along cascading streams and little waterfalls that run through fern-covered redwood forests. Swim in the pool, relax, soak in the hot tub, get away from it all!

What to Expect

Each day, students will be offered over five hours of expert drum/percussion instruction with world-class teachers Robert Wallace (Margareth Menezes, Bonnie Riatt, David Rudder), and Ben Isaacs (Salif Kone, Badu Diop, Naby Bangoura). Plus Alyssa DeCaro will be teaching three Pan-African dance classes.

They will be covering traditional arrangements of rhythms from West Africa (Guinee, Senegal, and Mali), as well as Afro-Cuban folkloric Rumba, Bembe, Iyesa and Makuta rhythms, Brazilian Samba and Ijexa, and new music from Havana, Rio, Salvador, Bahia and Oakland, CA.

Other activities at the Drum Camp: swimming, hiking, frisbee, volleyball, pingpong, hot tub, hanging out!

Positive, supportive vibe prevails! We are a fun-loving group of adventurous musicians who enjoy learning/teaching and creating an inclusive and dynamic Camp environment.



The California Drum & Dance Camp includes:

  • Four Nights Accommodation (bed and camping options)
  • Three delicious and nutritious meals a day
  • Five hours of Drum Classes per day
  • One hour of Dance Classes for three days each
  • Nightly Jams, hot tub, frisbee, volleyball, ping-pong, hiking, swimming
  • All included in the low price of $575!

Note: Space is limited! The California Drum & Dance Camp can only accommodate a total of 50 students. Please enroll now to ensure your spot at this amazing camp!

Call or email for more information: Robert Wallace at 510-967-6135 or


Robert Wallace

Instruments: Congas, Djembe, Chekere, Surdo, Repinique, Pandeiro, Caxixi, Agogo, Timbau, Rebolo, Udu

Training: Univ. of Ghana, Legon, Ghana Havana & Matanzas, Cuba, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador & Recife/Olinda, Brazil, Port-of Spain, Trinidad

Has Performed With: Margareth Menezes, David Rudder, Bonnie Riatt, Bobbie Cespedes, Starlift Steel Orchestra, Jovinos Santos Neto, Mickey Hart

Will Teach: Brazilian Samba De Roda, Partido Alto, Afoxe, Baile Funk Afro-Cuban Bembe, Mozambique, Makuta, Iyesa, Rumba Columbia and Guaguanco + Modern, original compositions!


Ben Isaacs

Instruments: Djembe, Djunjun, Tama (Talking Drum), Sabar, Krin (Slit log drum), Bougarabou, Balaphone

Training: Senegal (with Badou Diop and Mamadou “Modou” M’Bay), Mali (with Mambe Kone and Sega Cisse) Balaphone with Lassana Dabate

Has Performed With: Malima & Les Harmonies, Djaily Kunda Kouyate, Ibro Diabate, Balla Tounkara, Panjea, Nabi Camara, Onye Onyamachi

Will Teach: Traditional Arrangements from Mali (Sunu, Lingin, Aconcon) Senegal Guinee + Modern, original compositions!

Alyssa DeCaro

Alyssa DeCaro is an international teacher, performer, percussionist, vocalist, and dancer. She has 17 years of teaching experience and has performed at the TED conference, Bali Arts Festival, and International Body Music Festival, as well as performed/choreographed with Gamelan X for 9 years. In 2006, she founded BODY OF SOUND and teaches workshops and retreats internationally based on the notion that rhythm, voice and movement are the most natural and powerful ways to communicate. Her work the integrates audience/performer relationship for an interactive celebration. Alyssa believes when we use our collective creative energy we open up to limitless possibilities as a community.

Daily Schedule

Wednesday, July 19, 2016
2:00pm Arrival, Camp Opens!
5:30pm – 7:00pm Dinner
7:00pm – 9:00pm Evening Drum Class
Thursday-Saturday, July 20-22, 2016
8:00 am – 9:30am, Breakfast
10:00am – 12:30pm Morning Drum Class
1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 3:00pm Free Time
3:00 – 4:00 pm DANCE Class
4:00pm – 6:30pm Afternoon Drum Class
6:30pm – 8:00pm Dinner
8:00pm – 11:00pm Open Jams
Sunday, July 23, 2016
8:00 am – 9:30am Breakfast
10:00am – 12:30pm Morning Drum Class
1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 3:30pm Closing Drum Class
4:00pm: Check out. Goodbye!

Call or email for more information: Robert Wallace at 510-967-6135 or



Venture Retreat Center

More information about the California Drum & Dance Camp Site: Venture Retreat Center

Note: Space is limited! The California Drum & Dance Camp can only accommodate a total of 50 students. Please enroll now to ensure your spot at this amazing camp!






Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the California Drum & Dance Camp being held?
On a beautiful, private, 22-acre nature center near Pescadero, CA, about 1.5 hours south of San Francisco, CA called Venture Retreat Center.

When is the California Drum & Dance Camp being held?
Wednesday, July 19 through Sunday, July 23, 2017. Arrival time is 2pm on Wednesday, July 19. Our first meal together will be DINNER on Wednesday, July 19, and our last meal together will be LUNCH on Sunday, Wednesday, July 23. Checkout is at 4pm.

What styles of drumming will be taught?
Lots! Robert Wallace will teach folkloric Afro-Cuban material including rumba, bembe, iyesa, mozambique, and makuta, as well as Brazilian samba batucada and ijexa, along with contemporary beats from Salvador, Bahia! Ben Isaacs will teach traditional material from West Africa, including sunu, aconcon and lingin from Mali, and traditional arrangements from Guinee. Both Bobby and Ben will surprise students with some original material as well!

Can any drummers join, regardless of playing experience?
Yes. The drumming classes will be divided into two groups, with a maximum of 20 students in each group: Beginner/intermediate and Advanced. If you wish to be included in the Advanced group, you MUST (absolutely no exceptions) discuss this with Robert and/or Ben in advance of registering. Our goal is to keep the advanced section truly advanced, while providing the beginner/intermediate students with the appropriate level of instruction, at a pace which works for them. We want everyone to feel challenged, but not overwhelmed.

Will drums be provided?
No. Each attendees is requested to bring one drum (djembe, conga, ashiko…) and one supporting percussion instrument (cowbell, agogo, caxixi, clave…). All instruments will be shared by attendees for ensemble playing.

Will there be drum jams?
Yes, drum classes end at 6:30pm daily and students are free to jam until 11pm at night.

What kind of DANCE is offered at the Camp?
Versatile dance instructor Alyssa De Caro will teach three separate dance classes fusing her love of African dance, body percussion and Funk! Live drumming from the Rhythm Cafe drummers. All dance classes are open to all levels.

What are the accommodations like?
Students have a choice of either staying at the lodge in a clean, comfortable bed, sleeping dorm-style in the onsite yurt, or camping on the beautiful and spacious retreat property.

Will I share a room with another Camp attendee?
Yes, if you choose a bed in the lodge or yurt you will share a room with at least one other camper.

Will food and drink be provided?
Yes! An outstanding chef will be providing three delicious & nourishing meals a day, along with non-alcoholic beverages. (Note: Alcohol is permitted on the property. One large refrigerator is available for student use.)

Are there other activities if I don’t want to take the drum classes everyday?
Yes! There are miles of beautiful hiking trails, swimming in the pool, soaking in the hot tub, frisbee, ping-pong, and napping!

California Drum & Dance Camp is priced at only $575!

Note: Space is limited! The California Drum & Dance Camp can only accommodate a total of 50 students. Please enroll now to ensure your spot at this amazing camp!

Cancellation Policy: 100% refund (less transaction fees) if cancelled by June 19 (30  days before Camp); 50% refund (less transaction fees if cancelled by July 4 (15 days before Camp); No refund after July 5, 2017.  (We incur fixed costs after July 4, 2017.)

Call or email for more information: Robert Wallace at 510-967-6135 or