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NGI Recipient: Nathan Wilson-Braun

Session Attended: CDS Boston Centre - July 4th Weekend (2019)

Upon my arrival at Pinewoods Camp for the first time, I had the feeling of walking into a collective nostalgia.  It was readily apparent that many childhood memories had been formed in the hot summer shade of the eponymous pine trees and in the presence of the always patient and talented musicians.

I was thrilled to try Longsword dancing for the first time, and not surprised to find out that it’s much harder than it looks. Immediately following this, I got to test and expand my Morris dancing skills with the aptly named and well-taught Morris Mayhem class.

The rigorous morning classes being more than enough for me, I was grateful to find that I could pace the afternoons as I pleased, generally spending time in, by, or on the lovely Long Pond. There aren’t many pastimes better than sitting by the water with a good book, listening to the friendly harmonies of the afternoon porch singing.

Being mostly unfamiliar with English and Contra dancing did not prove to be a barrier to enjoying the nightly dance parties at the open aired space of C#.  I encountered many an enthusiastic dance partner who was willing to brave a stepped-on-toe in order to help me whirl less and less uncertainly through the tunes.  In fact I found it harder to successfully make my way to the sidelines for a breather than I did to avoid being my usual wallflower self.

A couple hours removed from my final tick check at home and the magic hasn’t started to wear off yet.  It would be difficult to describe Pinewoods Camp to someone who has never been.  A place to dance, to sing, to feel free for a while.  The best advice would simply be to go and discover for yourself.