“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
August 3-10, 2024 // Plymouth, MA
A welcoming community, immersed in glorious music and dance

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A Cotswold Morris dancing workshop

Program Description

Total Immersion

Picture yourself in the beautiful natural setting of Pinewoods Camp, immersed in glorious English dance, music, and song — for a full week of fabulous fun! English Week welcomes all to a warm and enthusiastic community, sharing our delight and encouraging all to participate. Join us for an unforgettable week of music, dance, friendship, and joy, in the magical environment of Pinewoods.

The biggest problem at English Week? Wishing you could be in two (or three) places at once! Choose among five daily sessions of country dancing, three of display dance (longsword, morris, and rapper), and three instrumental music workshops. You’ll also be tempted by Balfolk, Community Singing, the Big Themes Seminar, and an ever-changing array of One-Shot sessions each afternoon.

Even if there were no classes, just spending a week with our amazing staff would leave you exhilarated (and perhaps exhausted). Be sure to leave space for extra-curricular activities –including chocolate tasting, ceilidh dancing, afternoon parties, and late-night shenanigans. 

The chorale workshop performing on the last day of camp

Dance ’til you drop 

Five classes each day feature the best in English country dance. Advanced dancers join Melissa Running to explore “Dancing Outside the Box.” Tom Roby’s “ECD Omnibus” welcomes everyone, from novices to old hands. Tom also presents a session “ECD Across the Ages” comparing and contrasting dances from 1651 to 2024. “Open Mic” with Melissa welcomes all to play music and present dances. Melissa’s “Afternoon Blend” presents a festive mix of ECD to close out each day. All teaching will use gender-neutral language. 

Morris dance enthusiasts will explore tradition, create new choreography, and simply soak up the joy of morris dancing with Laurel Swift. Gillain Stewart leads our rapper class: fast-paced, percussive sword dancing for those who love to tie themselves in knots. Gillian also presents longsword, moving at a gentler pace, and creating beautiful shapes in the renowned choreography of Orion Longsword. All are welcome at these display classes, from experts to novices.

Do you love Clog dancing? Consider Laurel’s Clog Dance Intensive. Participants are full participants in English Week, but meet with Laurel twice each day for focused attention on clogging. This is a limited enrollment program, and requires pre-registration.

A Feast for the Ears 

Beautiful music fills the air all day long, from multiple directions. Each evening, everyone comes together for a dance party — where we are inspired by musical magic from our amazing staff. 

Fiddlers Shira Kammen, Audrey Jaber, Ben Schreiber, and Sarah-Hadley Yakir uplift us with elegance, and blister us with fire. Carrie Rose and Carol Compton weave magical melodies on flute and recorders. Crisp textures and rhythmic drive flow from Paul Oorts on plucked strings and accordion. Carol joins Karen Axelrod and Dave Wiesler on piano, captivating us with inventive harmonies and inspiring pianism. 

You can join in the music-making! Raise your playing to the next level with the guidance of these master musicians. Shira, Karen, and Dave are three of the most sought-after music teachers in the country. They offer workshops each day, to share their musical secrets. Learn new licks in class, then join the orchestra at the Open Mic. You didn’t bring an instrument? Everyone is welcome to join Daniel Potter and April Birnie at the “Community Sing.”

Your turn to shine 

Each morning, Gillian emcees a lively Gathering, featuring you! Bring something to share: a song, a joke, or your rendition of Childgrove on jaw harp. Every afternoon includes space for a smorgasbord of “One-Shots” — led by a mix of campers and staff. Monday could be Irish Sets or Acro-yoga … Tuesday could be Historic Reconstruction or Manx Clog — who knows? All offerings are welcomed (we take requests, too) as we take turns sharing our enthusiasms.

Unofficial activities are often the highlights of a week at camp. Would you like to join in a chocolate-tasting party, madrigal sing, pirate raid, or post-dance karaoke? Let your imagination run free — we will help you connect with likely co-conspirators and materials. 

Together

All these elements are wonderful, but the whole is much more. The heart of English Week finds us immersed in a beautiful natural setting, nestled in a caring community, enveloped in glorious music, and each contributing our own positive energy. We dance, play music, listen, sing, share, create, explore … and we laugh a lot. Join us!

~Scott Higgs, Program Director

Schedule

Arrival & Departure

Saturday Arrival Schedule:
3:00 pmThe earliest you can start arriving at camp
4:30-6:00Welcome Party & lifeguard on duty for swimming
6:00 Tour of Camp starting from the Camphouse
6:30Dinner
7:30Orientation gathering
8:15Opening night dance and party
Saturday Departure Schedule: 
7:45-8:15 amBreakfast
10:00 amFinal departure

Daily Schedule

7:45 amBreakfast
9:00-10:00Class Period 1
10:15-11:15Class Period 2
11:25-12:00Gathering
12:30 pmLunch
1:45-2:45Class Period 3
3:00-4:00Class Period 4
4:00-4:30Tea time
4:30-5:30Class Period 5
6:30Dinner
7:45-10:30Evening dance
10:30 onwardAfter-dance activities

Class Descriptions

Period 1 – 9:00-10:00 am

Advanced ECD – Dancing Outside the Box – Melissa Running

Most of the English country dances we do are based around the “box” two pairs of dancers make within a longways line. In this session, we’ll explore regions “outside” that box, looking at dances with figures that break or transcend the box, or that just have no boxiness whatsoever. We’ll also look outside of the “box” of our own expectations, for dances that surprise us in ways other than geometric.

ECD For All – Omnibus – Tom Roby

This session will feature accessible ECD from across the repertoire, including venerable classics and recent developments.  The goal is to spend as much time moving to music as possible, so teaching will be efficient, while including tips for everyone to dance better.  All aboard for an amazing trip!

Clogging Intensive Course – Laurel Swift

By pre-registration only. English Clogging Intensive

Period 2 – 10:15-11:15 am

ECD for All – ECD Across the Ages – Tom Roby

Why is “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot” a poor choice for a production of “Pride and Prejudice”?  In the nearly 375 years since English Country Dances were first published, figures, footwork, and choreographic conventions have varied tremendously.  This class will bring out the similarities and differences of ECD as it evolved from 1651 to the 21st century.

Longsword – Gillian Stewart

Take the feeling of the perfect slipping circle and add life size origami, and you have the ancient art of longsword. This class is open to all, and will involve moderate to vigorous jogging and skipping. We’ll work in sets to learn one of Orion Longsword’s dances, making beautiful shapes and communicating via linked swords. Please wear sneakers or other supportive athletic shoes. All are welcome, from experts to novices.

Historical Settings of English Country Dance Music – Shira Kammen

These settings of ECD music range from the Renaissance Playford collections, dances set to melodies by Purcell and his contemporaries, likewise some of the classical sources adapted for English Dance, elegant ‘Jane-Austin-ish’ tunes, as well as gnarly versions of folk and ballad tunes. We’ll also spend a little time composing in different styles. Bring your sense of musical adventure. For this class it is useful to be a music reader.

Period 3 – 1:45-2:45 pm

Morris For All – Laurel Swift

Refine your style, explore tradition, unleash your untamed choreographic genius or simply soak up the joy of morris dancing! This morris class is open to all and will improve your dancing, allow you to see some old dances from new angles and possibly even create some new dances in the process. We’ll be focused on flow, the special moments and how to keep the momentum moving and building. Prepare to be bemused, bewildered and to fall in love with Cotswold morris all over again.

Bal Folk and its Trad Dance Ancestors – Tom Roby

Balfolk is a modern dance revival music, grounded in a number of traditional European dance forms.  We will explore both kinds, dancing many fun accessible dances, and working on partnering skills in couple dancing.

Big Themes (for Leaders and Organizers) – Scott Higgs

Every group faces unique challenges — but they tend to fall into recurring patterns (Big Themes) that we can all recognize and relate to. Join us for a lively session of exploration, sharing, and brainstorming. How has your group bounced back after the pandemic? Do callers feel pressured to adapt their teaching language? What strategies have worked to increase attendance, to cultivate new musicians and leaders, to engage a broader audience, to share the responsibilities of organizing?  In this session, we’ll shine a light on successes, challenges, and opportunities — join us for a lively exploration of Big Themes.

Ensemble Playing – Karen Axelrod

Using a master class format, musicians will work in trios and receive coaching with an emphasis on ensemble skills, listening and responding. The class will also feature group games that help everyone think as an ensemble.

Period 4 – 3:00-4:00 pm

Open Mic – Melissa Running

This is an opportunity to practice calling old favorites and/or to stretch yourself in teaching/calling something new to you.  Check in with Melissa a day in advance, so we can shape the program.  Music that is not in Barnes should be provided at least 24 hours ahead of time.  Feed-back can be provided if you wish, either privately or with/from other participants.

One-Shots – Sarah-Hadley Yakir

It’s exciting to discover hidden passions! Every day will feature different topics, led by an enthusiastic mix of campers and staff. We might explore pond wildlife, couple dances, cooperative games, Irish sets, etc. It’s unpredictable and funI Talk with Sarah-Hadley about the special session you’d love to lead, or the topic that you’d love to explore.

Rapper – Gillian Stewart

Rapper is a fast-paced, physical, percussive sword dance from the north of England. This class is open to anyone who is excited about tying themselves in knots with at high speed with friends – be prepared to sweat upon your neighbors. We’ll start with the basics, and then work on dance choreography, set cohesion, and performance skills. Please bring hard soled shoes. All are welcome, from experts to novices.

Period 5 – 4:30-5:30 pm

ECD For All – Afternoon Blend – Melissa Running

Dancing our way into the sunset, or at least off to dinner, we’ll have a mix of tempos and styles, mainly on the simpler side with some old favorites and newer but accessible flavors.

Harmony and Musical Wallpaper – Dave Wiesler

This class explores ways for melody players to play a supporting role when they’re not playing the melody.  We’ll cover Ideas for building harmony lines, countermelodies, echoes and fills.  And we’ll confront the challenge of playing in a supporting role melodically and rhythmically, without pulling attention away from the melody.

Community Sing – Daniel Potter & April Birnie

Singing together is one of the more joyful things in life, and we invite you to join us no matter your experience. Bring a song to share, a voice to raise, or an ear to listen. Daily suggested song themes will be announced at camp.

Clogging Intensive Course – Laurel Swift

By pre-registration only. English Clogging Intensive

Dance Terminology

English country dancesPositional and Larks/Robins
Couple dancesLead/Follow

Registration and Fees

This year we are using a sliding scale model at this week to make camp accessible to more people. The sliding scale fee you choose will not affect your chance of getting into camp.

Full fee$1,080Covers all tuition, room, and board costs, so that we can pay our program staff and the wonderful facility we use. If you can afford to pay the full price, thanks for helping us make camp sustainable.
Low-income rates$810-$945For those who can’t afford full price. If these scaled down options still leave camp out of reach for you, we want to help you get to camp with additional supporting funds.
Supporter rates$1,350-$1,620For those who can easily afford full price, and more. Your generosity makes this flexible pricing structure work and makes camp more accessible to more people. Thanks for supporting this community!

Camp fees cover all accommodation, meals from dinner on the arrival day to breakfast on the departure day, and all of the various dance, music, and song events in the program.

You can find more information about the registration process here. If you need financial assistance in order to attend, please go to our scholarships page.

Staff

Gillian Stewart

Campers' Week, English Dance Week
Gillian Stewart

Paul Oorts

English Dance Week
Paul Oorts

Carrie Rose

English Dance Week
Carrie Rose

Karen Axelrod

English Dance Week, Family Week at Agassiz Village, Family Week at Pinewoods, Harmony of Song & Dance
Karen Axelrod

Melissa Running

English Dance Week
Melissa Running

Laurel Swift

English Dance Week, Family Week at Agassiz Village, Harmony of Song & Dance, Program Directors
Laurel Swift

Ben Schreiber

Cascade of Music & Dance, Dance Music & Spice, English Dance Week, Program Directors
Ben Schreiber

Scott Higgs

English Dance Week, Program Directors
Scott Higgs

Tom Roby

English Dance Week
Tom Roby

Dave Wiesler

Cascade of Music & Dance, English Dance Week
Dave Wiesler

Carol Compton

English Dance Week
Carol Compton

Shira Kammen

English Dance Week
Shira Kammen

Audrey Leigh Jaber

Dance Music & Spice, English Dance Week, Program Directors
Audrey Leigh Jaber

Sarah-Hadley Yakir

English Dance Week, Family Week at Agassiz Village, Harmony of Song & Dance
Sarah-Hadley Yakir

Daniel Potter

English Dance Week
Daniel Potter

April Birnie

English Dance Week
April Birnie