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NGI Recipient: Elizabeth Wratten

Session Attended: Royal Scottish Country Dance Society - Scottish Session I & II (2011)

Thank you so much for the NGI Scholarship to Pinewoods Camp for Scottish sessions I and II. It was an amazing week of dancing.

I first heard of Pinewoods camp from Jim and Lea Maiolo, Ian Sullivan, and Guinevere Saenger as they were getting ready to leave in 2010. They were so excited to be going again, and even though they came back injured and tired, they had such a fabulous time.

I had been hesitant to come to pinewoods for many reasons. However I was persuaded to apply anyway, and fill out the scholarship applications. So I ran around, filled it out, and put it in the mail; I was delighted to receive the scholarship because it meant I could realistically go.

I reached Plymouth with Guinevere and Ian the day before camp started so we had a couple hours to acclimatize and get very excited. Then we arrived and the whirlwind started. I have never done a week long workshop before; I have done a couple weekend workshops but never a whole week. I had so much fun at Pinewoods because I could wake up and go dancing immediately. It was so nice to be able to dance and then cool off in the lake and eat. It was all dancing and eating and more dancing.

Then you would get up the next morning and there would be more dancing. It was a good change to be dancing in an environment where everything was important. You did not have to just concentrate on the footwork or the social interactions but during the classes you had to keep it all in mind at once. Then during the dances at night you could enjoy adding in twiddles. It did get harder to keep dancing towards the end of the week, but it became impossible to stop as the music started and your feet just wanted to keep moving.

Pinewoods camp manages to keep you dancing for a whole week and still be happy to get up and sweep floors and keep the camp tidy. This really helps to involve you in the camp so that you care about what it looks like and how it works. You are investing yourself in the preservation of the camp, so it becomes more than just a floor to dance on.

The experience of being at a workshop on the opposite coast has also helped me to think about the youth workshop I am helping to organize for May next year. It is always good to see how things are run differently in different areas and it gives you perspective on how you can achieve the same affect with different plans. It is also interesting to note the different dances that crop up as regulars when you are in different parts of the country so you get to try out new dances.

Thank you very much for this opportunity to experience Scottish Country Dancing on the East Coast, improve my dancing, and meet many interesting people.