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NGI Recipient: Amy Englesberg

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - American Week (2011)

To CDSS and Pinewoods Camp,

I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to attend Pinewoods American Week 2011. I arrived at Pinewoods one week after returning from eight months away from the folk community – away from the country, in fact. Thus, spending a week dancing and playing music was a oasis of re-entry into both the country and the community.

I have danced since before I can remember, and fell in love with momentum and getting lost in dancers’ arms at an early age. When I came to school in the Boston area I began revisiting these roots – dancing more and dabbling in music. In the past couple years I established dancing and music as integral parts of my life. Attending Pinewoods was a goal for me, which would not have been possible at this stage of my life without the NGI scholarship.

My first couple days at Pinewoods I found myself attending as many workshops as possible: I discovered more of my own groove at the piano; I found that I, too, can learn melodies by ear, while learning some little-known tunes; I sang my heart out in the community choir; I explored various components of working with other musicians. I used my days for advancing my musical abilities, and spent my nights in C# thrown arm to arm, locking eyes, latching hands.

Not only did I gain experience and skills (and have a blast while doing so!) – I also learned the importance of relaxing and developing meaningful relationships with individuals. Being around so many inspiring leaders in the community was truly wonderful. Since returning to the real world, I’ve further enhanced my musical abilities, as well as begun to call, and continue to develop personal connections.

I have always loved the community aspect of contra dancing, but being at Pinewoods gave me an even deeper sense of that. I look forward to expanding and deepening the connections I made with people sprinkled around the country and in my own backyard. Since attending Pinewoods, I feel more attached to the music and dance community, and look forward developing the sense of community in the folk world around Boston and wherever my travels take me. This certainly was not my last time at Pinewoods, but I’m sure I’ll never forget this experience. Thank you once again for providing this inspiring opportunity.