Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity at NLA-U’s weekend event with Graydancer. Graydancer is a BDSM presenter, sex positive educator, podcaster, performer, and activist. (Taken from his website.) And I quickly discovered that he is also a really cool guy. He even remembered my name the second time I saw him so how could he not be cool? 😀 I copied the below paragraph from his website to tell a bit more about him.
“Graydancer has been teaching, performing, and advocating for kink and BDSM for over a decade. He professionally rigs, photographs, shoots, edits, and consults in web, video, and social media for several clients ranging from Kink.com to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom to the Kink Academy. You can also hear Graydancer as a guest on various podcasts such as Polyamory Weekly and Dart’s Domain, or his own Ropecast (the longest-running kink podcast on the web). Gray was featured on Our America with Lisa Ling: 50 Shades of Kink which aired in January of 2013 on the Oprah Winfrey Network. While his roots lie in bondage, Gray’s focus has evolved over time to subjects such as power exchange relationships, cigar play, and the educational aspects of kink. He was the first to apply Open Space principles to a kink event, creating GRUEs which have been held at over 45 locations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Currently he resides in the Bondage Capital of the World, Madison, WI where he is working on becoming a total GILF.”
Preparations for the event began much earlier, but it kicked off on Friday night with a cocktail party and reception for Graydancer open to NLA-U members. Everyone looked lovely and spent a few hours chatting and having some cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. I ate something with tofu and there were lots of vegetables too. Yes, you read that right. That speaks to how good they made everything look. 🙂 There was also one thing with bacon. Mmm. Bacon.
Saturday morning I was back for the first class. “The Defining Moment: Getting What
|Graydancer at the class|
You Want Out Of Kink.” The class description: This class is a practical, step by step guide to fully realizing your kinky self. Starting from fantasy, Graydancer takes you through a process that gets you to that defining moment, the ineffable feeling of fulfillment when that fantasy is made real. Along the way you will also learn tools of risk-management, figuring out what aftercare is needed, and most of all answering the most important question: How can we do that again? Whether you’re into rope, leather, chains, or fuzzy bunny suits, the Defining Moment can offer you tools to take your play to a more visceral level, from a place of internal motivation rather than external. What do you want to DO? Rather than start with what you saw in a picture or book, let’s focus on the results you want. Whether you want to play for sex, for pretty, for pain, or some combination, the focus will be on how to DO what you want to do, using principles rather than step-by-step processes. It’s an interactive class with plenty of class participation, and demonstrations. The skill level of this class is appropriate for anyone from the rank beginner to intermediate and advanced, because of its focus on practical skills and principles-based instruction. This has been one of Graydancer’s most popular classes at venue after venue because of its value to kinksters of all levels and interests.
|Graydancer at the class|
When seeing the class schedule before the event, this is the one I was most looking forward to and felt I could actually apply to myself. Everyone headed outside to a tent that was set up for the classes. I think it was record breaking heat throughout the whole weekend. Yes, I was outside and eating things with vegetables in them throughout this event. I had not expected it to be such a limit pushing weekend. The tent was great for shade and with the help of a misting fan, we all made it.
Someone stepped up and raised their hand to share what they pictured their defining moment to be. Graydancer wrote that idea down and worked with it from there. He led us through the process of identifying causes that make the scene work and what they wanted present, a plan of action and risks that could be involved, resources of people/skills/tools needed to make it happen, outcomes that could be positive or negative and other implications, and risk assessment of what did and didn’t work. There is a handout on his website that goes over some of it as well. It was a really interesting class and his energy and humor was present throughout.
|Some of the food|
We broke for lunch and then returned for the second class, “Full-contact Dom.” The class description: A combination of dance and martial arts, this class focuses on methods of maintaining and utilizing a physical connection between the top and the bottom. Whether you’re focusing on takedowns or sensual rope, using full-contact and focusing techniques can increase the enjoyment of any scene. Remember, if you’re not cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.
The class focused on rough body play and takedown type scenes. The demo bottom was NoviceCub and he and Graydancer worked well off the other. We learned about Graydancer’s “masculine sheen of invincibility” (aka sweat) and how it can help you slip out of a strong hold. I won’t tell all his secrets though. 🙂 He went over how to use your core against someone else to bring them down and many other maneuvers. It was a very entertaining class.
On Saturday night people returned for a play party. I’m kicking myself for not getting a close up picture of them, but I was finally introduced to SyrBigDog’s famous fried mac ‘n cheese bites. Oh my god, they were good. And they are now a fetish on Fetlife. It’s exactly what it sounds like, deep fried squares of macaroni and cheese, and absolutely delicious. Hey SyrBigDog, my birthday is in August. 😀 Just sayin’.
And now what you have all been waiting for. I finally got a spanking. At last! And I needed one. I was so exhausted and stressed out and getting grumpy. The spanking bench had been set up downstairs after I promised I would use it if it was there. And I did. S had me bend across it and lifted my skirt. He started spanking me with his hand. I was feeling sensitive to every swat and already squirming. He went through his toy bag and used the rattan cane, delrin cane, the awful wooden stick/paddle, the really awful round wooden paddle, and a tawse. There may have been something else. I was too busy squirming and muttering things to notice. I think the wood caused most of the marking. He stopped after I was well roasted and I peeled myself off the bench and hugged him. I was ready for bed but still had a few hours to go. I did get a nice back massage later. That’s what vibrators were originally made for, you know.
Sunday morning I was back and ready for the first class. Graydancer was doing a special presentation for the Wasatch Academy for the Refinement of Ladies and Gentleman of Leather. Say that 10 times fast! His talk was on leather history and culture. I’ve never attended a class about anything like that before so it was all new information to me and it was interesting. It turned out to be quite emotional as others attending shared some of their stories and experiences. Kind of like a testimony meeting with leather people. 🙂 (Mormons will get it.)
|Graydancer and his Angry Bird|
There was a break for lunch and I found an empty room to nap in for a little bit. We gathered for the final class “Rope & Cigar Play.” The class description: When you combine cigars with the potential of rope bondage you have a truly unforgettable experience. Graydancer combines his love of the leaf with his passion for rope to introduce and explore the lush experience of a good rope/cigar scene. Learn specific techniques for tying your partner in ways that highlight the ritual, power, and sensation of cigar play, as well as the extra safety considerations that rope adds to kinky play. Explicitly demonstrated by Gray and his partner, you will be encouraged to participate with your own exploration of the dance of rope and ash. This class focuses on the “play” part of cigar play and leaves the esoteric labels to the google-fu of the participants. You are encouraged to bring your own cigars for yourself and for the joy of sharing, but it’s not a requirement – solo, couple, or multiple partners are all welcome to enjoy the atmosphere of knotty smoke!
NoviceCub returned as the demo bottom and he was great in this class. His vast knowledge about cigars added a lot to it also. I had a hard time not looking at Graydancer’s Angry Bird. I admit it. Lol. I haven’t done much with rope and know absolutely nothing about cigars, so wasn’t sure what I’d get from this class. I’m glad I attended though because it was really good and upon leaving I’d consider doing those types of play sometime. Graydancer showed some different rope techniques and many things about smoking the cigar and how to give ash to the bottom. If you share ash with one person you’re monogamash and if you share it with several you’re polyamorash. He’s a funny guy. The interaction between Graydancer and NoviceCub was fanstastic and it was hot. And I don’t mean the temperature outside. 😉
That was the final class and the night ended with a BBQ. I was ready to pass out in my food. It was a long weekend but everything was wonderful. Graydancer is a super cool, laid back, knowledgeable guy and was a pleasure to meet. I think we’re all hoping he considers coming back sometime. This is the first event I’ve ever gone to like this with a national presenter and it was a great experience. I’m glad I could be a part of it. A big thank you to all who put their time and efforts into planning and organizing and everyone who came out and participated!