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NGI Recipient: Julia Whittle

Session Attended: CDS Boston Centre, Royal Scottish Country Dance Society - ESC, Scottish Session I (2015)

My experience over the course of two weeks, at ESCape and Scottish Session I, was incredible. It goes without saying that the dancing and music was phenomenal – I was regularly blown away by everyone’s energy and commitment.

Pinewoods was an amazing opportunity to expand my horizons while surrounded by incredibly capable people, so I tried my best to attend as many different classes as possible. I attended Rapper/English ritual dance, Advanced Scottish, Ceilidh dancing, Highland dance, Pinewoods Reel demystified (twice!), Experienced social dance, Technique and Critique, English country dance for all, Waltz and Salsa. Since learning basic contra dancing at ESC and returning home, I have been attending regular contra dances in a nearby town, where several partners have mistakenly guessed that I had been contra dancing for years!

Pinewoods as a whole made a huge difference in my Scottish technique. My arms in particular are much stronger, making my dancing much more interactive and intense. Pinewoods really helped me figure out exactly what my teachers meant when they told me to “give more weight”! My dancing as a whole improved so much that my confidence in myself and my abilities is much higher than it has been before. I would never have expected that two weeks of camp could change my understanding of myself so radically, but I am so very glad it did.

My thanks are a little more belated than intended, but I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to attend Pinewoods this year. Without the financial help, I could not have afforded the camp. Thank you a thousand times for allowing me to become a better dancer, and to find friends that I will be keeping in contact with for a long time. I hope I will be able to return next year! I’ve definitely caught the Pinewoods bug! Thank you again!