English Dance Week at Pinewoods

August 29 - September 5, 2009

This week is over -- see you next year!

Tentative Schedule

English Dance Week at Pinewoods
Tentative Schedule
7:45 - 8:15 Breakfast
9:00 - 10:00
ECD: Harmony in Motion for all
Robin Hayden
ECD: Pat Shaw and Maggot Pie advanced
Robert Moir
Rapper for all Laura Robertson
10:15 - 11:15
ECD: Modern Repertoire from U.K. for all Robert Moir
ECD: New Gems & Old Corkers advanced
Robin Hayden
English Clogging: Hornpipe advanced Laura Robertson
Group Dynamics for English Dance Musicians Shira Kammen
11:25 - 12:00 Gathering
12:00 - 12:30 Swimming, Bookstore staffed
12:30 Lunch
1:15 - 1:40 Singing with Tom Siess
1:45 - 2:45
Open Caller/Open Band for all Robin Hayden and Mary Lea
Longsword: Mr. Hopkins for all Judy Erickson
Yoga for Dancers for all Anna Rain
Mummers for all Daniel Popowich
3:00 - 4:00
ECD: Historical Reconstruction for all Robert Moir
Longsword: North Shirley Volunteers advanced Judy Erickson
ECD: Teachers Workshop inter. and adv. Brad Foster
4:00 - 4:30 Tea
4:30 - 5:30
ECD: American Favorites for all Brad Foster
Cotswold Morris: Ducklington for all Judy Erickson
English Waltz Clog for all Laura Robertson
5:30 - 6:30 Swimming, Bookstore staffed
6:30 Dinner
8:00 - 10:45 Evening Dance Party (starting with For Those Who Know)
11:00 Optional after-dance activities

Program Description

Look at Adult Programs for general information; here are details about this particular program and staff.

Daron Douglas will lead a English Dance Musicians Course concurrent with this week (pre-registration required).

Join us this year for a wonderful week of English dancing in the magical setting of Pinewoods Camp. Come share the tremendous variety of English country and display dance, with wonderful teachers and superb musicians, in a fantastic place!

Our English country teachers include Robert Moir, a favorite teacher in England on his first trip to English Week. He will teach a class to challenge the memory and skills of the super experienced dancers with material from Pat Shaw and Maggot Pie. In addition, Robert will offer a class for all levels in historical reconstructions and another in modern dances by English composers. Robin Hayden, well known teacher and CDSS staff member, also making her first trip to English Week, will teach a class in Gary Roodman material for experienced dancers, another called Harmony in Motion for improvement in dancing style and technique for all levels. She will also MC the caller's open mic, giving constructive feedback to those who wish, along with Mary Lea, who will organize the band. Rounding out the day, I will offer American favorites of English country dance including both old classics as well as modern compositions. In addition, I will lead a teachers workshop for intermediate and advanced teachers, reviewing the basics and covering advanced crowd control techniques and nonverbal teaching methods.

Display dance will include two of Judy Erickson's longsword choreographies for Orion Sword: North Shirley Volunteers, for experienced dancers, and Mr. Hopkins, for all. In addition, she will teach the Cotswold morris from Ducklington, And in all her classes, Judy will coach you all in improving your teamwork, dancing style and dance performance. Laura Robertson will teach both an advanced and general class in English Clog, plus the fast paced rapper.

Our musicians offer a wide variety of styles and textures covering the full spectrum of current English music in America, from classically strong phrasing and dynamic rhythms to cutting edge lyrical and flowing countermelodies. Musicians include Karen Axelrod on piano and accordion, Doug Creighton on flute and melodion, Daron Douglas, leading the musicians mini course during the day and joining the evening band on fiddle, Jonathan Jensen on piano, bass, ocarina and recorder, Shira Kammen on fiddle and Mary Lea on fiddle and viola. The musicians come from California, Vermont, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Baltimore. Come join us to dance and listen to these superb musicians.

Back by critical acclaim, Anna Rain will again teach Yoga to help us all reach our full physical potential as dancers. Tom and Anne Siess will lead us in community singing, and Karen Axelrod will lead our camp-wide Gathering, a time for us all to get together as a community to listen, share and learn.

Evening dances will feature a wide range of both favorite and about-to-be favorite English country dances, plus a nightly dance "For Those Who Know," with all the wonderful country dance musicians and callers on staff. Afterwards, you'll have ample opportunities to make good things happen, with possible late night singing, a ceilidh dance and pub sing, a talent show and the annual fun and fundraising auction to support camp scholarships for years to come.

-- Brad Foster, Program Director


Karen Axelrod is highly regarded for her creative piano playing at English, American and Scottish dance events around the country. Recent accomplishments include recording a new CD with her band, Foxfire, competing in several marathons and earning her PhD in dog walking. As our Gathering emcee, Karen also draws on her comedy improv experience -- be ready for fun surprises.

Doug Creighton is a fine musician on the button accordion, flute and concertina. He has a wealth of experience as both dancer and musician for numerous display dance teams, plays in the English dance band Pleasures of the Town and joins in numerous contra bands. Doug is internationally known as the guru of The Button Box, where he keeps the world safe for accordions and concertinas.

Daron Douglas is a fine fiddler for American and English dance traditions. Daron also brings a rich repertoire of songs from her great-grandmother, who was one of Cecil Sharp's informants in the southern mountains. She plays with the dance bands Foxfire and Goldcrest. Daron has been on the staff at CDSS dance camps, at Ashokan and at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C. She now lives and plays music in New Orleans.

Judy Erickson foreman of the groundbreaking dance troupe Orion Longsword, choreographs sword dances combining traditional steps and figures with innovative elements including Appalachian stepping, jazz and other American styles. In the step dancing world she is an accomplished dancer, choreographer and teacher, blending elements of Scottish, Appalachian, English clog and now French-Canadian step dancing to develop her own steps and styles, both structured and improvisational. In recent years her step dance choreography has been an integral feature of Boston's Christmas Revels. Judy is also a past foreman of Muddy River Morris.

Brad Foster from Amherst, MA, has been dancing and teaching English country, contras and squares, and morris and sword for over 40 years. He is well known for sharing the joy found in dance, and has taught throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including at Berea, Pinewoods, Mendocino, John C. Campbell Folk School and Augusta. He is Executive and Artistic Director of the Country Dance and Song Society, a post he has held for over 25 years. He is also a founder of the Bay Area Country Dance Society as well as co-founder of their Mendocino English and American dance weeks.

Robin Hayden has been dancing for 30 years. She lives and dances in Amherst, MA, and began leading English country dancing there in 1993. Under her guidance, the weekly dance there has become the center of a flourishing community of eager dancers and skilled musicians. Known for her clear teaching and ability to analyze and articulate what makes good dancing, Robin has participated in weekend events, workshops and festivals across North America and in the U.K.

Jonathan Jensen is an inspired pianist in musical styles ranging from English country and contra to ragtime and jazz. Jon is a composer of brilliant dance tunes and waltzes, a frequent performer at dance events and a bassist with the Baltimore Symphony. When not playing piano at camp he is often filling in on whistle, recorder, ocarina or mandolin and offering his original songs, both silly and serious.

Shira Kammen has spent well over half her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. A member for many years of Ensembles Alcatraz, Project Ars Nova and Medieval Strings, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata and the King's Noyse, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to performance on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Israel, Morocco and Japan and on the Colorado and Rogue rivers. Shira happily collaborated with singer/storyteller John Fleagle for 15 years and performs now with several new groups: a Medieval ensemble, Fortune's Wheel; a new music group, Ephemeros; an eclectic ethnic band, Panacea; and Trouz Bras, a band devoted to the dance music of Celtic Brittany.

Atossa Kramer, from Berea, KY, is a multi-talented musician who has accompanied country dancing for more than 40 years playing clarinet, piano, recorder and accordion. She is a recently retired member of the music faculty of Berea College, and is a regular and much-loved member of the staff of the Christmas Country Dance School. In addition to playing regularly for the English dance groups in Berea, she plays for other workshops in the area and is a clarinetist with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mary Lea has been playing violin and viola for dances for over 20 years, from contra, square and English country to ragtime era and couple dance music. Her bands include Bare Necessities, Yankee Ingenuity, Crazy Quilt, Dark Carnival and Paradiso. Mary has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad, and is known for her mastery of many musical styles. Personal Webpage

A well known and much appreciated teacher in the U.K., Robert Moir is noted for his clear, precise and gracious teaching. Besides all his teaching at home, Robert has taught at Mendocion English Week and at weekends and dances on both coasts of the U.S., plus in Canada, Holland, Belguim, Portugal and Spain. His wide repertoire features both modern compositions and historical reconstructions, many of them little or unknown in the U.S. today.

Daniel Popowich has been dancing and mumming for over twenty years. He is the fool for the Green Mountain Mummers and the Marlboro Morris Men, a former foreman for Oak Apple Morris and for many years the squire of the Marlboro Morris Ale. Daniel is also an actor working in professional and community theatre and film throughout western Massachusetts.

Anna Rain from Hyattsville, MD, is a certified Iyengar yoga instructor, teaching since 2000. She calls contra and English and dances those plus Scottish and Scandy. Anna sings with the a cappella chamber choir Polyhymnia and loves to harmonize and sing rounds. Dread Pirate Rapper boasts her as squire.

Laura Robertson began dancing as a teenager; she now teaches rapper, and English and Appalachian clog as well as other styles of stepping from around the world. Laura has performed as a member of Footworks, Pedantics and the DC Revels, and with Riverdance in London in 1996. She is foreman for Charm City Rapper and the Stepsisters, an English/American/Irish percussive team.

Tom Siess has been a mainstay of the London, Ontario, folk music scene for more than 20 years and was chair of the Home County Folk Festival for 10 years. He plays for Forest City Morris, was a member of the True North Dance house band and is a regular caller of English dances in London. He has sung as part of a trio with his wife, Anne, in numerous schools and has been on staff at Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap and Mendocino. Tom was a long time CDSS Board member and was President for 6 years.

Emily Troll's exciting fiddling has been featured at NEFFA, Pinewoods and many contra dances. Never content with a single instrument or style, Emily also plays country music shows with the Vowelettes, coffee-houses with the Well-Beings and accordion -- whenever the music police are off-duty.

Class Descriptions

English Country Dance Classes

Harmony in Motion -- Robin Hayden
Throughout the week, while dancing some of the loveliest and liveliest dances in the classic and contemporary English country repertoire, we'll look at techniques for understanding and improving the way we move and thus the way we express ourselves within this idiom -- individually, as partners and as a set. The program, while accessible to newer dancers, will offer distinct and satisfying challenges to any lifelong learner. For all.

Pat Shaw and Maggot Pie -- Robert Moir
When Heffer and Porter produced their book of new country dances in 1932, did they realize that they were starting a development (considered outrageous by some at the time) which would enable others who followed (notably Pat Shaw) to transform the English Country Dance scene? The sessions will explore some of the Maggot Pie dances as well as concentrating on a selection from Pat's amazing repertoire, picking up on Pat's ideas and emphasizing the flexibility required to fully appreciate his legacy. For the super experienced.

Modern Repertoire from U.K. -- Robert Moir
Since the time of Pat Shaw there have been many English Country Dance composers writing in the U.K. The sessions will offer the opportunity to sample dances which are popular in the dance community in England. It is hoped that some may well attract the interest of those attending to help widen their appreciation in the U.S. too. For all.

New Gems & Old Corkers -- Robin Hayden
Gary Roodman's impressive oeuvre now spans 22 years and well over 100 dances, in eight volumes of Calculated Figures. During the week we'll dance a few of the most advanced dances from his repertoire, a fair number of those deservedly beloved, and some that are sparklingly new. For experienced dancers.

Historical Reconstruction -- Robert Moir
The period 1651 to the early 1800s provides an abundance of great choices for the ECD enthusiast. Theses sessions will cover dances selected from the whole period. Reconstructions by Cecil Sharp, Pat Shaw and several others will be used as well as some by contemporary dance aficionados. Reference will be made to social historical developments during the period and their influence on society and on dance in particular. For all.

American Favorites -- Brad Foster
Favorite English country dances from the dance scene in North America, including both old classics and many of the much loved modern dances. For all.

Display Dance Classes

Rapper -- Laura Robertson
Enjoy the fast-pace and close-knit style of rapper. You will learn figures, create a routine and develop teamwork. For all.

Longsword: Mr. Hopkins -- Judy Erickson
Longsword dance for 8 to 10 dancers, using a hop step, invented figures and continental-style figures (no double overs!). Sneakers or shoes with good grip recommended. For all.

Advanced Longsword: North Shirley Volunteers -- Judy Erickson
English style longsword dance with Lancashire stepping. A vigorous dance for 6 dancers and a captain, using traditional steps and figures. Hard-soled shoes recommended. For experienced dancers.

English Waltz Clog for All -- Laura Robertson
Make music with your feet! Come explore the basic steps, then progress to improvisation and dialog with our musician. For all.

Advanced English Clogging: Hornpipe -- Laura Robertson
We will first learn a traditional hornpipe, then work on style and presentation to turn it into a performance. For experienced dancers.

Cotswold Morris: Ducklington -- Judy Erickson
A mix of traditional and recently composed dances, with an emphasis on style. We'll take some standard repertoire from other traditions and "make them Ducklington ". For all.

Music and Song Classes

Group Dynamics for English Dance Musicians -- Shira Kammen
Exercises in musicianship, harmonizing, ornamenting and making new melodies, playing rhythmic backup and how to know when to do what. Also attention on ensemble techniques and deep listening. For musicians who are comfortable with their instruments even if new to English tunes.

Singing -- Tom Siess
Join Tom in some informal singing after lunch. For all.

Leadership and Special Interest Classes

Open Caller/Open Band -- YOU with Robin Hayden and Mary Lea
A time to dance to a widely varied repertoire, and a practice session for callers and musicians. Bring your instruments to play and dances to call. Mary Lea will coordinate the music; Robin Hayden will coordinate the callers and will offer a gentle critique and teaching tips for those who wish.

ECD: Teachers Workshop -- Brad Foster
A practice and discussion period including advanced teaching methods such as crowd control techniques, setting the stage for the dancers to improve their style and pattern memory, nonverbal communication and more. For intermediate and advanced teachers.

During the week we will explore classic themes and characters appearing in traditional mummers plays and, taking advantage of the experiences, creativity and dramatic flair of the participants, we will create, produce and perform an original mummers play for our times. Bring your high spirits, improvisational impulse, sense of the absurd -- and whatever is in the back of your closet (just reach in, don't look) for props.

Yoga for Dancers -- Anna Rain
Anna will teach elements of yoga, alignment and posture for dancers. Learn basic anatomy of joints and muscles and how to use that knowledge to your dancing advantage. Incorporate strategies to reduce injuries and how to care for them when they do happen. Stand taller! Dance more smoothly! For all.

Gathering -- with MC Karen Axelrod
An important aspect of camp is building and maintaining our ephemeral, temporary yet profound community over the week. One of the best ways is to gather together every day in this session that transcends mundane announcements through your contributions of songs, jokes, instrumental interludes, brief historical presentations, dance demonstrations, etc. Do you have a song, instrumental piece, recitation or performance to share with us? Let Karen know so she can put you on the schedule!