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NGI Recipient: Amazing Jaeger

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - English Week (2013)

Dear CDSS and Pinewoods,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to learn, dance and grow at English week this year.  This was my first year at Pinewoods and I have to admit that I am hooked.  It is a truly magical place where like-minded people get together to share not just music and dance but history and culture.  The friendships and bonds that are created at Pinewoods are life altering.  I am forever changed.

Not only did I make lifelong connections at Pinewoods, I was introduced to an entirely new kind of dance.  Stephanie did a fabulous job of teaching english clog dancing.  I was shy at first and did not want to step loudly but was soon stomping with the loudest of them.  I really enjoyed her enthusiasm and bright, light-hearted teaching style and soon found myself at ease in my wooden shoes. The rapper and longsword classes with Tom were equally enjoyable.  I found myself trying things that I never thought I would be brave enough to do.  I felt I was in such good hands with Tom that I was even able to do a flip!  My classes with Tom were definitely highlight of my week.

I really enjoyed both the discussion workshop on calling and the open mic class.  I felt safe and welcome.  My calling (which up to this point has been only in my local community) improved drastically and my confidence skyrocketed.  It was a pleasure to be able to practice my skills with such warm and accepting instructors and group.

I was truly inspired by all of these classes as well as the evening dances and hope to bring back that enthusiasm and joy of dancing to my home community.  The inspiration that I gained just from being around so many talented dance enthusiasts is overwhelming.

The Morris tour was another highlight of my week.  It really brought home the idea that this is a social and living tradition.  I had previously thought of it as something that people do at dance camps and not really much more.  I now understand that it is a way to bring a community together and to create a community where none had been before.  I hope to bring this type of dance to my local community at some point in the future.

One of the best unscheduled parts of the week for me was the nightly after dance party.  It was different each night but equally wonderful every time.  I absolutely loved the British singing invasion.  We had a late night after the dance talk session about the best way to recruit dancers for a dance team that was particularly enlightening and I hope to be able to put to good use.

Thank you for allowing me to experience such a fantastic week.  I think that the NGI scholarship program is the perfect way to keep these dance traditions alive and thriving.  I am so grateful to have been included and look forward to giving back to the dance community in any way I can.