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NGI Recipient: Catherine Courtemanche

Session Attended: Folk Arts Center of New England - Folk Days (2010)

I have folk danced with my family for many years, but until a few months ago, my experience was pretty much confined to NEFFA,once a year. Then I started going to folk dance on Friday nights with my grandparents. After a while, people started mentioning Pinewoods to me. I had no idea what they were talking about, until during a break, when Marcie explained to me what it was. As soon as I heard about it, I immediately wanted to be a part of what seemed to be an amazing folk dancing experience. Further, Marcie Van Cleave told me she could probably get me a scholarship. After many phone calls and negotiating, my mother agreed that I could go.

Pinewoods was everything I thought it would be, and more. One of my favorite experiences was dancing with everyone in the camp on the first night. Before that, I only knew a few people from dancing on Friday nights. While dancing, I met many good friends of all ages in the folk dancing community at Pinewoods. Rapper dancing was also a wonderful experience. I was clueless at first, but asthe class went on, I received help from classmates, and the teenagers teaching us. This occurrence really symbolized the sense of community I felt at Pinewoods. Everyone was willing to help me with anything and everything I didn’t understand; one of my friends even spent about twenty minutes during a dance party teaching me a dance I didn’t recognize!

The setting of Pinewoods was absolutely gorgeous. I loved swimming in the pond and dancing by the trees. Not only was Pinewoods a great dancing experience, but it was a great way to connect with nature. Some of my favorite times at Pinewoods were in the pond or on the paths, as well as on the dance floor, with my friends.

Pinewoods for me wasn’t just about the dancing, or the people even. What was most incredible was that I got to experience many foreign cultures and traditions, without actually traveling to those countries, which is something I would not be able to do right now. Thanks again for granting me this incredible experience!