“It’s a soul-nourishing reminder of the power of music and dance to connect people and bring joy.”

–Ellen Saltonstall
July 16-23, 2022 // Plymouth, MA
Bring your whole family tree to these woods

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Program Description

Family. Nature. Tradition. Community.

Family Week at Pinewoods offers all of these in abundance. In a world completely changed by the last two years, these values remain essential, and for many of us hit hard by the pandemic, lend even greater meaning to our shared human existence. Family Week is full of magic and joy for young, old, and everyone in between. Nestled between two pristine New England ponds offering daily idyllic swimming and canoeing, both natural beauty and community spirit are ever-present. Together, we celebrate the charm of living in woodland cabins, eating delicious, home-cooked meals, and participating in the rich traditional music, dance, and song program offered by our skilled staff.

Morning classes are enjoyed by age groupings, with younger participants delighting in traditional song, dance, stories, and crafts facilitated by expert children’s educators. Meanwhile, teens and adults choose from an array of energizing community dance classes. Teens are welcome to join in adult activities throughout the day, but also have a daily class of their own.

After lunch and swim time, we are entertained by stories and stunts with our talented program staff, followed by opportunities for intergenerational learning, such as a harmony singing, dance band, drama, instrument jam sessions, woodcarving, and more. During the camper-led offerings time, everyone is encouraged to organize or lead an activity of their choosing.

Twice a day, the whole community gathers together to enjoy performances, dancing, singing, stories and silliness led by Twice a day, the whole community gathers together to enjoy performances, dancing, singing, stories, and silliness led by the campers and staff. After the evening gathering, those not past their bedtime join together for an eclectic and inclusive program of social dancing to live music. After-dance activities include games, an auction, jamming and dancing.

Family Week is a brilliant way to spend time with your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, or other children dear to you. Adults without children are also very welcome. Whether you’re looking for a community experience, special family time, or a chance to grow your intergenerational dance, music, and song repertoire, Family Week will fill you with inspiration to sustain you through whatever is to come. We hope to see you there!

~Elvie Miller, Program Director


Class Descriptions

Period 1

Ages 3-5: Playtime Fun with Ruth and Stefan Bartlett

Mornings will be lots of fun, with games, crafts, songs, and explorations. We have a lovely cabin porch as our class space for the day. As weather permits, we may also venture out to enjoy the natural setting of camp.

Ages 6-7: Rhythms and Folktales with Mary Alice Amidon

We will explore fun rhythms with a percussion band as well as hear unknown stories from around the world. Jack tales, giants, faeries and adventures will carry us away each day.

Ages 8-9: Ritual/Longsword with Abby Ladin

Come learn a new longsword dance! Originally from Northern England, longsword links dancers up with wooden swords that are eventually used to make a star. Our dance will be a critical plot point in the mummers play at the end of the week!

Ages 10-12: Molly Dance with Katy German

Who knows how to have a good time? Bored 19th century ploughboys in midwinter, that’s who! And boy, are we grateful to them coming up with this fun style of dance. Molly dancing is a living ritual dance tradition that started in England. Though the formations and figures are often similar to other Morris dance traditions, Molly dancing has a distinctively eccentric flare. Molly dancers are known for being creative, mischievous and rowdy, but generally harmless. Wardrobe items to bring: comfortable and supportive shoes, something that is solid black, and something that is wildly colorful or zany.

Ages 13 & up: English Country Dance for All with Margaret Bary

Experience the joy of English Country Dancing with glorious music. Repertoire will include old classics and modern treasures, in a range of styles and moods. Dances will be accessible to beginners, while offering style tips and challenges for more experienced dancers.

13 & up: Kerry Sets with Owen Morrison

No experience is needed to enjoy these energetic set dances from the Sliabh Luachra region of Ireland. We’ll start by learning the polka step that will be used throughout, and we’ll explore a repertoire of dances learned from the late Timmy McCarthy of Ballyvourney, Ireland. Owen has fond memories of late night set dances at Pinewoods, and is thrilled to share them with a new generation of teenagers, grandparents, and everyone in between.

Period 2

Ages 3-5: Play Party with Margaret Bary

We will warm-up with lively singing and dancing. Picture books will inspire creative explorations and yoga will deepen our body awareness.

Ages 6-7: Songs and Stories with Mary Alice Amidon

We’ll make little books and artwork of our songs, chants and stories as well as play story games and act out our favorites.

Ages 8-9: Crafts, Stories and Games with Jane Miller

During our busy and active class, we’ll sing, play singing games, tell stories and make craft projects. Bring your imaginations and playful spirits.

Ages 10-12: Social Dance with Peter Amidon

Peter will lead the 10-12s in gravity-defying contra dancing, ineffably sublime English dancing, transcendent choreography, robustly angelic singing, and a folktale or two.

Ages 13 & up: Clogging with Abby Ladin

We’ll start with basic rhythmic footwork, then build skills and combine steps. Modifiable for any level. If you need to be challenged we’ll play with syncopation. Sam plays the banjo and who doesn’t love that!

Ages 13 & up: Cool Contras with Wendy Graham

Stay up in the cool on sunny summer days with fast, fun, and flowing contras that will get your body and brain moving.

Period 3

Ages 8 & up: Mumming with Abby Ladin 

We’ll put together a rowdy ritual play with knights and fights, greed and good deeds, silly walks and chicken squawks, mirth, rebirth, and hero of great worth!

Ages 8 & up: Community Chorus with Peter Amidon

Singing – by ear, from music, in unison, with made up harmonies, with harmonies that are taught. Singing – traditional folk songs, hymns, gospel, songs composed by folks steeped in the oral tradition; songs learned from folks like Bessie Jones, Lucy Simpson, Doc Watson, Sam Amidon, Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Almeda Riddle, Kathy Bullock, Jean Ritchie, and a special nod to songs learned from our good friends Larry Gordon and Tony Barrand.

All ages (under 10 with a parent): Open Art Table with Katie Zukof 

We will have a wide variety of materials available for collage, mosaics, painting and coloring. In the second part of the week, we’ll explore parade art supplies.

Ages 10 & up: Woodcarving with Thomas German

A beginners’ woodcarving class. We will focus on safe carving techniques while making spoons, butter knives and pendants. We will also learn about wood grain, characteristics of carving woods and sharpening. Participants will be able to create 1-2 projects during the week.

Ages 10 & up: Jam Band with Kate Barnes and Denis Liddy

Learn and play some great dance tunes while working on rhythm, arrangement, beginnings, endings, tune changes, and playing as an ensemble.

Ages 13 & up: Hot Squares with Wendy Graham

Caution: Hot surface! We’ll be burning up the dance floor with sizzlin’ squares and spicy tunes. 

Late Afternoon

Stories and Stunts for ages 0-100 with Peter Amidon and Sam Bartlett

Short ditties, epic folktales, jokes, poems, literary fragments and ballads with Pinewoods Resident Storyteller Peter Amidon AKA I-Told-Stories-To-Your-Parents-When-They-Were-Kids. The tales will be punctuated with indispensable japes, frolics, tomfoolery, buffoonery, shenanigans, skylarks, horseplay, and capering monkeyshine led by Pinewoods House Stuntologist Sam Bartlett. 

Ages 13-17: Teen Rapper with Margaret Bary

We will tangle ourselves up with flexible metal swords while learning Rapper, an energetic sword dance from northern England. Perhaps some of us will explore the art of fooling, or create new Rapper figures of our own.