«Back to all NGI Letters

NGI Recipient: Anna Blachman

Session Attended: Folk Arts Center of New England - FAC Weekend (2009)

I’ve been going to Folk Arts Center Pinewoods ever since I can remember. My first Pinewoods was when I was only 2 months old and I haven’t missed one since. Every year I have looked forward to it because I know it will be full of fun, friends, and, of course, some dancing too. In many ways, this year was no different: same cabins, same pond, many of the same people.

However, this year was also very different. For the first time I came to Pinewoods without my parents and sister. As weird as it was that my family wasn’t there – I didn’t see them at meals or at dances – it was especially odd because I’ve always been known in the dance community by my relation to my family. Many people knew me as Estha’s daughter or one of the Blachman girls. Without those relationships defining me, I became my own person as a dancer and in my role in the dance community.

Plus, this year I became a big kid. Okay, I’m fifteen. In most places, I’ve been considered a big kid for a while. At Pinewoods, though, I’ve always been a little kid, going to kids classes and skipping any dance classes I didn’t have to go to in favor of swimming. Not only did I go to the adult classes in the morning, I even attended advanced workshops in the afternoon! I’m sure my mom was so proud.

But the best part for me was teaching rapper to the younger ones and getting to perform with them on the last night. Having looked up to the rapper dancers and last year finally joining Candyrapper, I was looking forward to this for months. Giving my little dancers (gosh they grew up fast) a taste of rapper was such a joy and the whole experience was a highlight of the week.

I am so thankful to both the Folk Arts Center and Pinewoods Camp for giving me the opportunity to attend the weekend session. I picked up dances and experiences that would have been impossible without their help. I admire the NGI so much because it allows young dancers like myself to bring life to the dance community and give the young ones role models to look up to, just as I always looked up to the “teenagers” who are now in their 20’s. I hope that the program will continue to enable people like me to attend fabulous Pinewoods sessions.