Pinewoods is thought by many to be the premier camp for learning and enjoying traditional music and dance, attracting the best teachers worldwide to share their expertise. Highly talented musicians play for the dance classes, and offer band class or instruction on certain instruments as well. Most sessions focus on one or two traditional sources and include dancing, playing music, singing, and sometimes storytelling or crafts. Usually, there are four or five class periods a day, each with three concurrent offerings. With so much offered, choosing what classes to take can often be a bit difficult. See a Sample Daily Schedule.
The earliest classes taught at camp were from the English tradition – English Country Dance (ECD), the Morris (a collective term for Morris dancing, Longsword, Rapper, and clogging), and English folksongs. Today, Pinewoods is one of the few places in the country where these English traditions can be explored so extensively in both old and modern, innovative forms.
American dance was soon added to the programs, and eventually became an entire session in itself. Contras and Squares, Kentucky Running Sets, American folk music and Appalachian stepping are all explored. Several sessions combine both the English and American traditions.
The Scottish traditions include the jigs, reels and strathspeys of Scottish Country Dance, plus Highland Dance, and Ladies Step Dance.
A wide array of dance and music is explored at International Dance sessions. Traditions from the Balkans, (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, etc.), Greece, Israel, Scandinavia, and more can be offered.
The Early Music session includes classes on Renaissance, Baroque, and Medieval music for voices, recorders, viols, and a variety of other early instruments, as well as historical dance and the roots of English Country Dance.
Most sessions have a class in singing together; Harmony of Dance and Song has a strong focus on group singing, along with dance classes.
Family sessions have classes for children of similar age groups as well as for adults. There are also crafts classes, and Morning Gatherings for all – where families dance together, sing songs, tell stories and share their talents.
Most sessions have a social dance in the evenings for the entire camp, often building on the skills learned in classes, but mostly for pure enjoyment. Some sessions have evening concerts. And on the last day there is often an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth and scope of the traditions explored.