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NGI Recipient: Eva Reich

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

To CDSS and Pinewoods –

Thank you, so much, for the opportunity to attend American Dance and Music Week at Pinewoods as part of the New Generation Initiative.  The program was one of the absolute highlights of my year as a dancer and musician, and my attendance would not have been possible without your incredible support.

Although I grew up playing fiddle and contra dancing, Pinewoods was my first experience with the contra community outside of the Pacific Northwest.  The week actually happened to come at the exact time of my moving to Washington, D.C. from Washington State; I travelled directly from Seattle, where I have lived, danced, and played for years, to the camp, and after the week was over, I came straight to D.C., which I now call home.  And I firmly believe that Pinewoods was the best possible welcome I could have received to the East Coast.

I developed truly meaningful relationships with beautiful, life-filled, talented individuals.  The connections I made with people at Pinewoods, most of whom were from the New England area, reinforced my belief in the power of these traditional art forms, and of the communities we build around them.  Upon my arrival at camp, I ran into at least three people whom I had met once, at separate dances and on separate occasions, on the West Coast; I had not known they would be at camp, and these serendipitous re-encounterings impressed upon me the interconnectedness and complexity of the tapestry woven by music and dance.  I left camp with more good friendships than I could have hoped for; many of these will, I hope, continue for years to come.

While Pinewoods certainly cannot be reduced to individual moments, some highlights of the week included jamming with fantastic musicians such as the members of Elixir, reframing my dance experience in Matt and Emily’s “Couples Dance Bootcamp,” trading tunes with new friends, and swimming in Round Pond under the stars after an evening dance.

I am so thrilled to be a part of this world of music, dance, and good people, and excited beyond words for the future of these traditional arts.  Thank you, again, for the opportunity to learn in and experience the magic of American Week at Pinewoods.