“Camp is an opportunity to expand your horizons and experience new things as well as improve your dancing. The setting is beautiful and the people are wonderful.”

–George Cherepon
July 30-August 6, 2022 // Plymouth, MA
Familiar paths, innovative repertoire

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Program Description

Join us for a magical week amongst the trees and waters of Pinewoods Camp!  Whether you love English country dance, morris dance, singing, music making, contra, or all the above, there will certainly be plenty for you to explore, experience and learn no matter what your level of experience. 

In addition to classes, there will be a daily waltz session, pre-dinner parties, magical evening dances, late-night activities including a pub sing and English ceilidh dancing and so much more. There are also opportunities for you to get involved in leading, performing, and teaching at Camper Night, the daily all-camp gathering, camper-led sessions, and many other times during the week. 

ECD offerings this year include three classes for all abilities and two advanced classes (one featuring modern dances, and one featuring historical dances).  A contra dance and a waltz session round out the social dance program. For the ritual dancers out there, there will be classes in Cotswold morris, molly dancing, and a longsword class featuring a many hundreds year old dance from Yorkshire! For the singers we have a traditional porch sing along with a singing class exploring how to create harmonies.  For musicians wanting to learn more about playing for dancing and playing in an ensemble, there’s an English dance musicians intensive course led by Karen Axelrod.

And when you’re not in class, do find time to take in the wonderful woodlands and ponds with a walk, row, or swim and pay a visit to the camp store for a tasty frozen treat.

This year, all evening dances will be exclusively led with gender free terminology and all classes during the day will be clearly labeled with which terminology will be used (positional/larks & robins/gendered). There will also be some facilitated discussion opportunities on this topic during the week.

I am so excited about our line-up of staff and I cannot wait to welcome you all to English Week!

~Alex Cumming, Program Director


Class Descriptions

Period 1

From Sharp to Shaw – Brad Foster – Advanced – Historical gendered terminology

Covering the full range of reconstructions from early 20th century (Cecil Sharp) to recent (Andrew Shaw), the class will focus on challenges of complex choreography, pattern memory, and orientation with dances that require attention to detail, precision, and good lift along with some that have quick and concise movement.

Dancing the Whole Dance – Brooke Friendly – For All – Global/positional terminology

Within the context of dancing excellent dances, we will explore gender-role-free dancing and teaching as a tool to build community and learn (and dance) the whole dance. You will have the opportunity to dance all roles in a dance – learning the whole pattern. We’ll spend a small portion of the time playing dance games, talking, and demonstrating. If you are interested in looking at a new way of teaching or building a dance community, you’ll leave with some tools and food for thought. If you want to dance a variety of enjoyable dances, with the teaching language’s benefit of simplicity and clarity, there will be plenty of good dancing.

Harmony Singing: Ear Training for Everyone – Anna Patton

For singers and curious listeners; a workshop to sharpen the musical ears and help us invent vocal harmonies. We’ll take songs we already know and sing our way into the mysteries of what makes their harmonies tick. There will be some “music theory” in this class, but we will keep it to a homeopathic dose, concentrating on ears, voices, and intuition.

Period 2

Modern Compositions – Brad Foster – For All – Gender-free/positional terminology

This workshop will cover modern English country dances from the great explosion in new compositions in the 1970’s to the present day with dances from both sides of the Pond. Authors will include Gary Roodman, Colin Hume, and many many more. A strong focus will be given to techniques to make the dancing more enjoyable for all.

Cotswold Morris: Marlboro – Julie Stevens

We will be dancing the Marlboro tradition as developed by Marlboro Morris and Sword.  Each figure has a defining moment using momentary pauses for effect and camaraderie.

English Dance Musicians Course – Karen Axelrod

By pre-registration only: English Dance Musicians Course

Period 3

Advanced Impropriety – Brooke Friendly – Advanced – Global/positional terminology

If you are completely comfortable with all the basic ECD figures, familiar with some of the unusual ones, and if you learn dances quickly without needing them called after the first few times through, you’ll enjoy this challenging class focusing on the more complicated dances from the Impropriety Volumes by Chris Sackett and Brooke Friendly as well as newer unpublished dances. Come dance to the great tunes—old and new—that have inspired the figures, phrasing, progressions, and nuances that are the signature of this duo’s work.

Molly Dance – Julie Stevens

Ahhh…..Molly.  Molly dancing as done in the Marlboro tradition is as easy on the body as on the eye.  Each dance is unique with its own figures and choruses.  We choose the music before we write the dance, so just listening to the beautiful tunes is a treat unto itself; dancing to the music is an added delight.

Many Moods of Contra – Scott Higgs

Smooth and romantic, energetic and percussive, flowing, playful, time-tested, and brand-new – we’ll explore the full range of delightful contras, with tips to ensure that you (and your partners) enjoy all the opportunities for magic and connection.

Period 4

Country Dance Favourites Old and New – Brad Foster – For All – Gender-free/positional terminology

This workshop will cover a selection of favorite English country dances from classical reconstructions to modern compositions, from the occasional traditional dance to the contemporary lush and lyrical. Dances will be chosen for their joyous moment, wonderful tunes, and not-too complex patterns.

Longsword: Handsworth – Julie Stevens

Handsworth longsword dance is a dance for 8 done at a gentle run. Though many of the figures will seem familiar to those who have danced longsword, Handsworth has its own unique figures as well. The Handsworth Sword Dance is hundreds of years old and was recorded by Cecil Sharp in the early 1900s.

English Dance Musicians Course – Karen Axelrod

By pre-registration only: English Dance Musicians Course

Period 5

Porch Sing – Brooke Friendly

Do you have a song you just can’t wait to sing? A chorus song you love hearing harmonies too? An old gem that you would love to bring back? Or do you just want to sit back and be entertained? Then come along to an informal sing on the porch. Every session will feature a loose theme to help jog your memories (or just entertain us with your most tenuous link), plus you’ll get a chance to sing and learn a new round every day. 

English Dance Musicians Course

Course Leader

Karen Axelrod

Program Description

Ensemble playing is all about teamwork. This course focuses on

  • Playing in an ensemble
  • Being a great bandmate (yes, part of that involves always traveling with chocolate to share)
  • Learning to not play (and to play less), which is not as easy as it seems
  • Supporting the dancers and the callers