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NGI Recipient: Rachel Wetter

Session Attended: CDS Boston Centre, Royal Scottish Country Dance Society - ESCape (English-Scottish-Contra) (2021)

This past year, anytime a friend or acquaintance remembered my weird hobby of twirling around in gymnasiums and asked when I thought “that dance thing you do” might be coming back, my answer was honestly that I couldn’t think about it. As the weeks elongated to months, I made a point of NOT letting myself do the math of when my last allemande or do-si-do might have taken place. I volunteered for a time with one of my local contra groups to help organize social zooms, and exchanged smiles with my community on screens in breakout rooms of “hands-four” instead of on the dance floor.

The thrill of taking literal hands four under the roof of C# this July cannot be overstated. I felt irrepressible joy with every step of the walk-through, joy with every new swing I sank into, joy every time I found my partner again in the whirl of the dance. “We’re dancing a CONTRA!” I kept telling people I encountered in the line. (“I know!!” was pretty much invariably the answer…)

After a year without dancing, it was wonderful to know that I didn’t need to rush, that I would be able to get my fill of not only contra but of the less familiar English and Scottish as well this week. As a dance camp newbie, I benefited tremendously from the wisdom of camp veterans who encouraged me to soak my aching legs in the lake. And of course there were things to do besides dancing–the glorious pub sing, for example, was a highlight of my summer.

It was deeply healing to be able to share these joyful feelings with people who care about dance in the same way as I do. And to be dancing with people who care about community safety as well–I really appreciated the care the event organizers put into doing this event as safely as possible.

I am so grateful to Pinewoods, CDS Boston, and RSCDS for the tremendous week they put on together, and to NGI Scholarships for making it easy for me to say a resounding YES PLEASE to discovering the magic of Pinewoods. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this year’s beautiful ESCape!