Monthly Archives: March 2014

Energetic and Laid-back

CDSS’s American Dance & Music Week at Pinewoods

A Week of Dance, Music, Songs and Fun, August 9-16, 2014

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classes & staff


photo by Jeff Bary

Gather with friends, old and new, for a memorable music and dance experience. The hardest part about the week is the difficult choices of which classes to go to. Program director Sue Rosen has gathered many of America’s finest dance teachers and musicians for this rich and varied program, and the multi-talented staff will offer a unique dancing and musical experience and opportunities to learn. This year we are featuring a strong program in the traditions from Appalachia and the American South and from Ireland, along with contras morning, noon and night.

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photo by Sargon de Jesus

Do you love dances? Want to be part of the Dare to be Square revolution and learn to call southern squares? Feel like kicking up your heels in the old Irish style of sean-nós stepdance or Appalachian flatfooting? Have you tried Irish set dance? Well, bring your dance shoes and lots of energy.

Can’t dance all day? Not a problem. Bring your instruments and your voices because the week promises a full program of music classes and more. Come and try something new under the guidance of teachers who are experts in their fields, and who will have you playing and singing with your heart and soul. Or get messy and creative with paper, paint, glue and who-knows-what else in the daily community art class. Carve out some time to sit on the porch, take a swim, jam or nap, but don’t miss the daily gathering where we’ll join for singing, laughs and concerts.

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photo courtesy CDSS Archives

Evening dance parties will set the nights aglow, followed by after-dance parties in the camphouse where the fun continues with more opportunities for playing music and games, singing and dancing. We’re excited about the week and look forward to seeing you there!

American Dance & Music Week is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We thank them for their support.

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Early Music is more than music before 9 a.m.

CDSS’s Early Music Week at Pinewoods—Fairest Isle: Music and Dance of Great Britain and Beyond

Beautiful music under the trees, June 26-July 3, 2014

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DSC_0511_EM 2010_lady in mask_michielsEnjoy the fun of playing rollicking English dance music, or the beautiful polyphony of composers like Byrd, Gibbons, Dowland, Jenkins, the lively rhythms of Holborne, the poignant harmonies of Purcell, pungent Scottish tunes, the intricacies of high Baroque composers like Handel, and so much more.

In this idyllic and restful setting, you’ll be treated to fabulous food, wonderful people, plenty of opportunity to carouse and have fun, as well as to play great music together, and to dance to the music of some of the best English country dance musicians around. The fun is what distinguishes this from a lot of other workshops. And yet the teachers are also highly accomplished renowned experts in the field of early music.

Come and feel the special magic of CDSS Early Music Week at Pinewoods, no matter your age or level of ability. Discover why people return year after year and why others wish they’d found out about it earlier!

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photo by John Sidtis

Our program offers musical challenges and opportunities to players and singers at every level, from highly experienced to those who are just beginning. From morning technique and consort classes to afternoon special topic ensembles, we will play and sing music from the vibrant Middle Ages to the virtuosic Baroque.

If you’ve never played a musical instrument (but wish you could) or if you studied music years ago (and fear you’ve forgotten everything), there are classes to get you started or to help brush off the rust. Introductory classes are offered in recorder, viol, and harp.

Advanced and intermediate players have a wide array of classes from which to choose. Singers of all abilities will benefit from singing class, chorus and mixed ensembles with instruments. EM 2010 Driving in-1_whoDancers and dance teachers can learn an instrument and participate in the nightly dance parties and the daily dance classes, including high-level technique classes, challenging ensembles and historical dance.

All classes are led by the outstanding and dedicated performing faculty. Our staff features active professionals and acclaimed teachers of early winds (recorders, reeds and brass), strings (viols and violin), harp, harpsichord, voice and dance.

This year, we are offering a class called What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body. This class (sometimes called Body Mapping) leads musicians to play and sing with greater ease, to avoid injury, and even heal from injury. It’s eye-opening, relaxing, practical and fun.

— Frances Fitch, Program Director

Comments from some recent participants:

  • Outstanding! Sang things I never knew I was capable of.
  • So amazing what we learned and accomplished.
  • This was the most I have ever learned in a dance class.
  • It was as close to perfect as I can think of.
  • Great positive energy. Had a great time!
  • Loved my week here. Will be back next year!

Scholarship Opportunities

In addition to the scholarships available through CDSS, summer scholarships are offered by Early Music America (deadline: April 15) and The Viola da Gamba Society of America(deadline: April 15).

Early Music Week is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. We thank them for their support.

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Speaking Up for the (Participatory) Arts

by Rima Dael, Executive Director

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photo by Ryan Carollo

Today is National Arts Advocacy Day, hosted by Americans for the Arts, and we are celebrating by developing a new partnership with Children’s Music Network, a like-minded organization, to address how both our organizations can better connect with educators and artists that bring participatory arts into classrooms. We’re looking forward to our conversations!

I also want to take a moment to remind you of how we at CDSS advocate for the arts year ‘round and why…

First, we believe that participatory arts change lives. (Has it changed yours? Or someone you know?)

Second, we believe, and have experienced, that the participatory arts of English and North American traditional dance, music and song spread joy and build community which, in turn, change lives.

Next, with almost 100 years of experience, we know that participatory dance, music and song thrive within communities. And because we believe this, we want to make sure communities which support our participatory arts continue to thrive.

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photo by Erin Nolan

The work of CDSS is to ensure there are people, places and communities where this can happen. We will harness our resources nationally to build resilient communities which ensure the continuity and preservation of the traditional dance, music and song which we love.

We already share the work that CDSS does and its importance in different ways:

We advocate strongly for the inclusion of participatory arts for children, families and adults.

We talk to elected officials and legislators of the importance of the arts in our communities. We did that in October 2013 by testifying to the MA legislators.

We make available CDSS resources that you can take to build up your dance, music or song community: tools from past leadership conferences, our online library of resources: and our how-to-kits.

And as mentioned above, we are partnering with Children’s Music Network to discuss strengthening our connection with classroom educators and artists.

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photo by Sarah Strong

And, as always, places to find and build community and your own skills in dance, music and song are at our summer camps. Sign up for a week, and dance and sing your brains out this year!

Participatory arts change lives! Pass it on.