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NGI Recipient: Elizabeth Wills

Session Attended: Royal Scottish Country Dance Society - Scottish Session II (2010)

To the NGI Committee,

As soon as I started Scottish Country Dancing at college on the East Coast, branch members were constantly talking about something called Pinewoods and why I wasn’t going that summer. Well, I lived abroad and would be home, was my answer. I remember that one dancer just shook his head at me and said: “Pity. Pinewoods is heaven on Earth, and you’ll never want to leave.”

That was quite a claim, and I was so intrigued that I thought I had to give it a shot – I love to dance, and spending a week or weekend dancing seemed like a phenomenal opportunity. I worked most of that summer and never would’ve been able to attend Pinewoods if I hadn’t also gotten a scholarship.

Pinewoods changed my world. I found a community of people who made perfect sense to me: they wanted to vanish into the woods, ditch their phones and computers, eat fabulous hand-cooked meals, listen to the finest live music, and do nothing but dance. Which is about all I did as well; as long as my legs stood up to it, I did three classes a day and never missed a social dance or ball. I didn’t want to ever stop dancing, and for once, didn’t have to. The dancers were amazing, as was the music, the quality of the teachers, and the atmosphere was supportive, lively and welcoming.

My dancing improved exponentially – those who didn’t go to Pinewoods this year can see it in my dancing. I was given the opportunity to join the most amazing community I’ve met yet, and spent a week in absolute bliss dancing my heart out – even if it took about a month for my legs to forgive me. Every moment was incredible and unique and I can’t wait to come back again and again and I plan to.

I’m eager to support Pinewoods myself once I’m out of college and financially capable; as soon as I can give this opportunity to someone who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, I will. It was wonderful, and I can’t thank the scholarship committee enough for giving me that chance. It was an unforgettable experience.