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NGI Recipient: Willy Clemetson

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - Harmony of Song and Dance (2018)

The CDSS Harmony of Song and Dance Week at Pinewoods fostered a beautiful combination of singing and moving my body. I would stay up each night dancing a slew of dances to so much great music. I especially loved Honky-Tonk night where I was thrown into dancing the Two-Step and the Cha-Cha. And, of course, in the earlier part of every night the Contra was rocking down the pavilion and the English soothed my weariness. I loved these evening dances and learned so much from just the social dance setting. I learned most from the English portion of the night time dance because I’d done very little English Country Dance.
My classes were split between song and dance and playing the fiddle. My first afternoon class was the Swedish couples dancing. Jeremy was an excellent teacher, starting us with the basics and displaying an astonishing amount of knowledge in the mechanics of Swedish dance and music. He taught me the most during this week and I absorbed as much as I could. The next class I took was the Traditional Ballad class which was equally interesting. I discovered that I actually was able to memorize lyrics and I enjoyed exercising this newfound skill by learning five ballads. The teachers in this class, Suzannah and Arthur, had so much experience with ballads and were able to convey not only the melody and lyrics but also the history and meaning and tradition behind these tuneful stories. In the last period I bounced back and forth from Honky-Tonk Band to Songs of Social Struggle, both of which I found equally appealing. It was in Honky Tonk Band that I was able to break out my fiddle and play a bit.
Besides the classes and dances I had a great time with the staff and campers both. The staff were ever willing to mingle and share their expertise and company and so were some campers. I managed to jam and dance with so many incredible dancers and musicians and it was great to have others learning the same things that I was so that we could compare and relate. The medium of song and dance over which bonds can be made makes Harmony of Song and Dance the ideal session for my interests. I feel ready to spread songs and dance styles through my community at home and at school, to bring people together through music and movement.