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NGI Recipient: Mariah LaMontagne

Session Attended: Country Dance and Song Society - English Week (2013)

Dear NGI Scholarship Benefactors:

Pinewoods Camp Inc, and The Country Dance and Song Society,

Thank you so much for your support. Let me tell you a little bit about my Pinewoods journey.

I waited for this moment.
And ah, Finally it was here.
It was time,
It was time to dance.
Well, it was time to learn to dance.

English dance week began as I steered my car down a long dirt road, my mind raced – ‘could this possibly be the right way?’ —–It was.

Over the course of Pinewoods I transformed from a beginner dancer (having only attended two dances) to an intermediate one. This transition although challenging was extremely rewarding – for me it was an English Country dance boot camp!

In the beginning I knew no one, nothing, not even the terminology. Each dance would start with a quick run through and brief description of how it would proceed, while this happened my mind was in a whirlwind- after the walk through and description I began each dance thinking   ‘well I don’t know what is about to happen but somehow I’m going to finish this dance – somehow I will end up in the right place!’ And you know somehow I did. But as the days progressed I began to absorb the terms and figures, and even though it still seemed to be rapidly announced I did grasp some of it – I began to understand sequences as we went through them and I found I wasn’t quite so clueless as before.

While at Pinewoods the outside world seemed to stop. I remember leaving the camp early one morning to get some supplies in the town and thinking  ‘this is so weird! It’s so strange that all of these people don’t live in little cottages and dance all day!’

Some of the aspects of the camp that I really enjoyed included the “parties” put on by fellow campers. The Canada party, and the chocolate party were so fun!  I loved the announced entrance of the royal family (complete with the new baby). Another joy during the week was the great mix of classes- yoga and singing were both a wonderful little break for my sore feet. It was also a blessing to share this experience with some very generous, and kind campers. As a lovely conclusion to a wonderful week I truly enjoyed seeing the performances everyone participated in. Also during these conclusion ceremonies I had a great fondness for one particular dance where everyone grasped hands in a circle around the musicians and danced together.  As a final conclusion the farewell song was a beautiful way to bring camp to a close. And finally when the dancing was done I proceeded past the dirt road, and drove onward – satisfied knowing that I had found the right way.

I have taken skill and experience back with me; my desire to teach younger people and get them involved has been reignited!

This scholarship program is truly a wonderful program – as a recent college grad I would not have been able to attend camp without this assistance. This scholarship has given me hope, and skill so that someday soon I can get a younger community started  (and possibly become a caller!) as I become more experienced.

For the generosity, and kindness of all my new friends and my benefactors I am sincerely thankful. May your future dancing be merry!

Thank You