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NGI Recipient: Kyle Hardman

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - English Dance Week (2011)

I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had to visit English week at Pinewoods courtesy of a New Generations Initiative scholarship. This camp came at a very appropriate time of my life: I had just moved from Oregon to Missouri to begin graduate studies, leaving my dance community behind. I was unsure of the future of English for me; if I would be able to find a new community in my new home. At Pinewoods I learned that there was in fact no English group in my town, which was a bit of a blow. However, I met a fellow Missourian who was also interested in having dance in Columbia, MO as well as many other people who were interested in helping to get a new group off the ground, some even providing material support for the venture. I feel that with the help of the people I met at Pinewoods, having a local English group again is a real possibility for me.

The timing of the week was also perfect in that it gave me a time to relax and enjoy myself without worries about finishing moving in or starting grad school. It was a week of respite in a wonderful community in a period of significant upheaval in my life. Seeing my old mentors and friends I had made while living on the West coast reminded me that while I may not see them as often, they have not disappeared from my life. I also made new friends both on and off the dance floor whom I will be very happy to see again, regardless of context.

Experiencing the quality of dance at Pinewoods helped me to be a better dancer as well as improve my appreciation of the form. To see what was possible given enough practice and talent further strengthened my commitment to English. Furthermore, workshops that focused on training certain skills allowed me to refine aspects of my dancing and think about calling in a more complete way.

All in all, it was a wonderful week that would not have been possible for me to attend without the financial support of this scholarship. I will try to come back as soon as I can for another great week of dance and friendship.