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NGI Recipient: Emma Gertje

Session Attended: Folk Arts Center of New England - FAC Weekend (2017)

Dear Pinewoods Community,

I would like to thank the Pinewoods Community for this incredible opportunity for granting me the NGI scholarship which allowed me to attend the Folk Weekend at Pinewoods!

I first entered the folk dancing community not too long ago because my boyfriend has been part of this community his entire life and wanted to introduce me to it. Being a dancer myself, I was eager to come to one of his dances and get to explore another realm of dance. I do ballroom dancing and haven’t experienced folk dancing before. In a ballroom dancing social, we often dance to remixes of modern songs and switch partners without truly getting to engage in conversations with the people we dance with. However, when I first started going to folk dances, I was captivated by the live music and how everyone was so welcoming. When I heard about Pinewoods I jumped on the chance to be able to experience four days of folk dancing.

When I was offered the NGI scholarship I was extremely excited, for I knew I was going to enjoy dancing until my heart’s content for four days. When I arrived at camp, I was mesmerized by the energetic atmosphere and how serene it was being able to truly connect with nature and my new peers. Everyone was so cordial and I felt as if I was already inducted into this new dance family even though I barely knew most of the people. I wasn’t familiar with the styles of dance taught, but it was fun to learn all of these new types of dance where everyone can dance together. Even though I did enjoy the dance classes, my favorite part about camp was the nightly dance parties, for everyone at camp got together and danced the night away. I was expecting to enjoy camp, but I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I was so incredibly happy the entire duration of camp because I felt so at home with these welcoming people and I fell in love with folk dancing. Being able to dance as one big group to live music, courtesy of the Pinewoods Band, spoke to me and made me feel relaxed and free. After this weekend, I know I want to continue attending camp and going to various folk dances throughout the year because I love folk dancing.