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NGI Recipient: Ezra Smith

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - American Week (2017)

I attended the CDSS American Dance week at Pinewoods a couple of weeks ago, and I can easily say that it was one of the best weeks of my life. My time there has opened new doors into dance and music that had been just out of my reach. The intensity and welcoming nature of the community at Pinewoods was the catalyst that I needed to finally step into being a lead while waltzing, step into improvising on the banjo, and start to harmonize while singing.

One of the first things that I did after getting back from camp was to modify and get parts for my banjo. I started teaching my parents how to waltz, and contra is on the list as soon as I can get them to a dance. Now I feel more empowered to invite the timid people on the side to dance, and teach them to waltz or contra or square dance. As a teacher I may even have some chances to teach a class or two on a contra or English dance.

Receiving this scholarship and attending this camp have been life-changing experiences for me. Thank you so much to CDSS and PCI for helping me do this. Before I came I was an OK dancer who had reached a plateau, only going to one dance a week. Now I have been re-energized and awakened by the quality instruction and loving space that makes American Week what it is. I truly hope to return soon. Thank you again.