Current Camp Weeks

July 21-28, 2018



This is an intensive workshop designed for people with some contra, square, and/or community dance calling experience who want to feel confident calling squares. The focus is on both the history and styles of various square dance types, and on the teaching techniques, calling skills, and stagecraft needed to make them soar. Novice to very experienced square dance callers will benefit from this course; you will be met where you are, and challenged to grow. A wide range of participant experience is important to the success of the class.

This program, held concurrently with Harmony of Song & Dance at Pinewoods, is designed and led by Nils Fredland. Nils brings a distinct and valuable perspective to the unique art of calling squares of many styles, and has developed a thorough understanding of what makes a great square dance caller. He will help class participants develop that same understanding, with a focus on putting the essential skills to practical use right away, in a safe and supportive environment.

After participating in Harmony of Song & Dance program through the morning, the course takes place for a solid block in the afternoon. The daily class period will be broken up into two parts: a square dance lab, where we will focus on interpreting choreography, building repertoire, teaching dances, and developing calling skills; and a masterclass, during which class participants will both dance and get mic time, backed by Andrew VanNorstrand, with supportive and structured feedback from Nils, and class participants. Community building and leadership skills will be a focus throughout the week, as well.


Participation is limited to ten and before camp each student is asked to complete a preparatory assignment, which will be explained with acceptance. If the class is oversubscribed on March 13, preference will be given to the best qualified applicants and to applicants supported by their local community. Strong indicators for CDSS are our Group Priority and Matching Scholarship processes, where a CDSS affiliate vouches for a participant and may offer some scholarship, asking CDSS to match that amount ( This is a statement by people who know the individual, that the person is deserving of assistance and would benefit the local community by attending camp. That can count highly in this and in our scholarship considerations.


This course is designed for people with some contra, square, and/or community dance calling experience. A week is not a lot of time, so in order to hit the ground running, please make sure that you can fulfill these criteria by the time camp starts:

  • Provide two references who can describe your calling experience and skill level, and your effectiveness as community builder on the mic.
  • Know the difference between a jig, a reel, and a hoedown/breakdown.
  • Be able to tap or clap a rhythm in time with music played at various tempos.
  • Have called at least half of an evening of contra, square, and/or community dances.
  • Have an openness and enthusiasm to working with beginning dancers.
  • Have a repertoire of at least two square dances you know and feel comfortable teaching and calling; have called at least one individual square dance in a public setting.
  • Familiar with basic square dance choreography, culture, and music.
  • Be prepared to receive and incorporate feedback, even if you have a lot of calling experience.
Campers Week at Pinewoods


Each evening at Campers' Week ends with an all camp gathering, an evening dance, and post-dance activities. As dusk settles over the Camphouse gathering, a Pied Piper leads families with children age 8 and younger to their cabins, where the parents put their children to bed. 9-12 year old children join in the first half of the evening dance, until their bedtime. While adults and teens are at the evening dance, roving monitors listen for wakeful children. If a child is uncomfortable, the monitor will alert the parents at the dance. Families are expected to prepare their children for these scheduled bedtimes.


July 28 - August 4, 2018



Join us for a wonderful week of English dance, song, and, especially this year, music! Experience the vitality of English country and display dances, stirring tunes, and the shared repertoire of songs from England and North America, all with world-class teachers and superb musicians in the magical setting of Pinewoods Camp.

We are delighted to welcome inimitable dancing master Andrew Shaw back to English Week! Andrew will share a wide selection of his own reconstructions of 18th-century repertoire, including many from his newest collection, Elephant Stairs. Gene Murrow will lend his wit and musical expertise to a country dance class for all, Robin Hayden will offer hands-on instruction in moving to the music, Linda Nelson will prepare the “For Those Who Know” dances drawn from favorites of Boston’s repertoire, and Kalia Kliban will enliven the afternoon with classic and contemporary contras.

You love to dance, you love to sing, and – you asked for it, you’re getting it: a full instrumental music track! I’ve scheduled an instrumental class every period, including Jacqueline Schwab working with pianists, Audrey Knuth leading string players in group and individual sessions, Anna Patton on how to Deliver the Rhythm, Jeff Warner offering Playing for Singing, and Gene Murrow’s band workshop for all and a reprise of his popular Music Theory class.

During the day, challenge yourself by choosing something new – or relax and enjoy the familiar – from a packed schedule of classes. Alongside the country classes and music track, we’ll have Cotswold morris from bright young star Crispin Youngberg, longsword from Kalia Kliban, and song master Jeff Warner leading Songs from the Atlantic Nation and the ever-popular song session on the camphouse porch.

Evening dances will include a wide range of English country dances accessible to all, with exhilarating music from our extraordinary staff of musicians. (Just take a look at that roster, will you? Shivers!) Further revelry will be woven around, through, and between classes and into the wee hours, including all camp Gathering, pub night, the morris tour, the Porch & Rail, frolicking in the pond, ceilidh dancing, and an afternoon auction/wine & cheese party in support of CDSS’s scholarships and programs.

All ye who revel in all of these traditions! English Week is where we greet old friends and make new ones, tread familiar paths and plunge into uncharted territory, revel in classic, beloved, and innovative repertoire, and learn new skills to take back to our own communities. Please join us!

~ Robin Hayden, Program Director


July 21 - 28, 2018



Come learn, dance, relax, and raise the rafters in song at Harmony of Song & Dance. The theme of the week is community dance and music making, and the goal is to have fun and create beauty together. A terrific teaching staff will offer a range of classes to build on your knowledge, skills and creativity. Daily classes include Contra, Square, and English Country Dancing; Gospel Songs, Songwriting, Songs of Struggle, Madrigals, and Traditional Ballads; instrumental ensembles including a Honky-Tonk Band; and traditional dances from Sweden, France, and England.

Camp participants will come together from near and far bringing their songs, talents and curiosity. This year's excellent and intergenerational teaching staff will offer their deep knowledge and rigorous commitment to their craft while setting a supportive, friendly tone, meeting learners wherever they are in their learning process. The program offers inspiration and support for all levels of experience and a wide range of interests.

Mornings begin with vocal warmups and the All Camp Chorale where the entire camp sings together in harmony, building a common repertoire throughout the week. The singing staff take turns leading songs, some by ear, some from written music, some a little of both. Expect folk songs, country gospel, polyphonic choral music from around the world, traditional chorus songs and more.

After the Chorale we give our limbs a good stretch and go dancing. Our dancing leaders offer English Country, Contra, and a beginner-friendly session.

In the afternoons there is a cornucopia of opportunities to sing, dance, and play instruments. A few suggestions:

  • Take Songwriting with Cindy Kallet, who teaches with kindness and humor to guide us through this perhaps-daunting project.
  • Settle into a state of creative flow in Julie Vallimont's Crankie Making art class.
  • Zone in on harmonic skills in Harmony Singing By Ear, or on rhythmic skills in Anna's “Deliver the Rhythm” Dance Band.
  • Learn more about traditional singing in classes with Bob Walser, Suzannah Park, and Arthur Davis. Their classes are not just about repertoire and style, but also about the community-building aspects of social singing.
  • Interested to branch out from English and Anglo-American traditions? There is a strong international theme to the week this year, with World Music Harmony, Yiddish Singing, and French and Swedish folk dancing.
  • Take a break! Drink in the beauty of Pinewoods. Sit on a dock and rest your feet, voice, and brain!

After a delicious dinner there is a short, intimate staff concert, often featuring new collaborations between staff members. Following the concert, we make our way to C# pavilion for a social dance party for the whole community: contra and English country dance, squares and waltzes.

The dance ends with a closing song, bringing the day full circle. For the nocturnally inclined, merriment often continues with more music, dance, games, or other hanging out in the camp house.

The fun and full days of singing, dancing, and playing together are packed with so many kinds of connections – from the magical moments when a hundred or more of us lock into a rhythm to informal music-making where you discover a fellow camper who shares your obsession with a favorite song or tune. Take pleasure in the beauty of participating in the forms of music and dance you already know. Take a risk and try something new, knowing that the program's diverse offerings include something that is new to every person there. Network, share knowledge, meet new people, laugh, be moved.

Shut down your computer and take a week in the woods for your musical and dancing nourishment!

~ Anna Patton, Program Director

Camp Cavell Run Programs
(No additional charge, covered in registration fee)

  • Technical Tree Climbing: This activity is unlike any other that you have experienced before! As a climber, you will use arborist safety equipment that includes a rope system and harness to work your way up a tree. Enjoy the view as you tower over friends below. You may climb up to 35 feet in one of our beech trees! (2 groups - 30 minutes each)
  • Kayaking at Camp Cavell (Beginner to Intermediate): The kayaks we use are Old Town Loons and are special kayaks that are very stable for the beginning kayaker. We will do introductory lessons and will go over boating safety to help ensure that no one tips. If the lake is too rough, we will kayak in the stream. Everyone must wear a life preserver and stay with a guided group. (1 hour)
  • Archery & Atlatl: Try your hand at Archery! We provide a trained instructor who will give basic lesson and safety orientation. Afterwards, it’s in your hands! This is definitely a “bullseye” for all ages! (30 min)
  • Great Lakes Walk & Talk: Our Great Lakes Session is a walk and talk about history, nature and the lake shore. We first do a hands-on presentation and then spend the rest of the hour looking for treasures along the shore. We cover topics such as fossil identification, how sand is formed, beach mechanics, lake formation, zebra mussel invasion, and much more. (1 hour)
  • Hayride w/sing along: Our hayride takes you for an enjoyable tour out into the rural community for a scenic ride. To immerse yourself further, you’ll be sitting on festive, yet comfortable, straw bales. Singing is strongly encouraged. (1 hour)
  • Stream Ecology: By stepping into our streambed, you will be stepping back in time and onto an ancient sea floor! Examine the biodiversity and the amazing ecology found within a 20 foot radius of our starting point. See the stream’s determined action to change the topography of Camp Cavell. Dig samples of clay deposited 500 million years ago. There is an easy entry point to the stream bed with only a 8 stair steps. During the last part of the session those who are able can continue on downstream. (2 hours)
  • Create Your Own Walking Stick: Use your creativity to make a one-of-a-kind walking stick to remember your time at Camp Cavell. Camp will cut the stick for you, but you become the designer. You can decorate it by carving your name, stamping a leather “dangle”, wood burning, and more! Start your special walking stick this year and add to it each year you come back! (2 hours)
  • Orienteering: Here is your chance to learn how to navigate with a compass! This is an important survival skill when your gps fails you! This orienteering activity teaches the basics of map reading, using a compass and ways to make your own compass in an emergency. You can also try your orientating skills on our trails. (1 hour)

Supplemental Programs
(Additional fee, pay at camp, est. fee $50-100 based on number in group)

  • Kayaking in Lexington Harbor (More Advanced): Experienced paddlers will enjoy this kayak excursion out of downtown Lexington, only a ten minute drive from Camp Cavell. You’ll have a great time kayaking around Lexington Harbor. We will share information on the history and geology of the ancient rocks with thousands of fossils that make up the harbor walls. You will also have the opportunity to try beginners rock scrambling (or just watch), and explore cave like areas within the walls. If the lake and weather allow, we can venture out further into Lake Huron. (1/2 day including travel time - Off Site)
  • Horseback Riding Trail Ride: With Pine River Stables (1/2 day including travel time - Off Site)
Early Music Week at Pinewoods


August 11 - 18, 2018



Euterpe meets Terpsichore

Explore the many ways that music and dance inspire each other. From Pavans, Bransles, and Galliards of the Renaissance to Minuets, Sarabandes, and Courantes in Baroque suites, the sense of movement and shape in dance is an integral part of rhythm, expression, and form in music. This year's offerings include a focus on dance movements and dance-related music, and opportunities to experience historical dance in addition to our usual English country dance offerings.

Early Music Week offers joyful opportunities and challenges to players, singers and dancers of every level, from beginners to the highly experienced. As classes unfold through the week, we will explore and discover the innovation and creativity that lie behind some of the world’s most vibrant and compelling music, listening and playing with deeper understanding, as well as dancing together and enjoying all that the Pinewoods community has to offer.

The week also offers Accademia, an intensive program of High Renaissance Ensembles for advanced voices, viol and wind players with strong sight-reading skills (16th c. viols and recorders provided for student use).

Less experienced recorder players who want to focus on improving their technique and rhythmic skills can opt for Recorder Boot Camp classes.

14EMcovInstrumentalists may focus intensively on their primary instruments, enjoying the opportunity to play with others in mixed ensembles and find time to explore something completely new. Singers can delve into early music repertoire in small groups and sing in a chorus and/or a mixed consort, and try an introductory instrumental class. Dancers (and those interested in dance) will find classes in English country dancing and historic dance. Everyone is invited to enjoy English country dancing, with instruction during the day for all levels. This elegant, low-impact, fun and welcoming style of participatory dance is the highlight of every evening. Dances are led by expert callers with music played by an elegant live band. All are warmly encouraged to participate.

Our outstanding faculty includes active professionals and acclaimed teachers and coaches of early winds (recorder, flute, capped reed/bagpipe, shawm, dulcian, sacbut, cornetto) strings (viola da gamba, Baroque violin, vielle, rebec), voice, chorus, harp, lute, and keyboard. The program also includes mini lecture/recitals by faculty as well as side-by-side play/sing-ins, with more advanced participants assisting those less experienced. The week closes with a faculty concert and student performances before a final banquet and celebration.

Experience this in-depth music and dance week surrounded by exceptional natural beauty, with time for relaxation -- swimming, hiking, canoeing -- and delicious home-cooked meals in the open-air dining hall. What better way to get inside music, and to bond with others of like mind, than to play, sing, dance, and learn together in this magical environment?

Lisa Terry will be the Viol Maven for Early Music Week this summer. She'll have a supply of nylon strings to sell, a few Sensicore strings to lend, and the expertise to get your pegs turning and your soundposts upright. See the Viol Maven each day during breakfast and lunch to make an appointment before first morning or afternoon class. Please read Viol Survival Tips, and put them in practice BEFORE camp!

Family Week at Pinewoods


July 14 - 21, 2018



Put down your screens. Leave behind the hustle and stress of your every-day life. Pack up your dancing shoes, your instruments, and your festive attire. Come to laughter, music, song, and dance. Come and remember the joy of creating something new and fun with others. Come to the woods, to the land between the ponds!

Family Week at Pinewoods truly is a place of magic and joy. The week provides campers with opportunities to share traditional English and American dance, music, and song, as well as the beauty of the outdoors. Nestled between two beautiful New England ponds, Pinewoods camp offers idyllic swimming and canoeing options. And Family Week is a great way to spend time with your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, or other children dear to you. Adults without children are also welcome.

Our staff includes top notch teachers and musicians from across the country. Daily programing includes English country dance, contras, squares, ritual and clogging options for teens and adults. Youth participants enjoy age-appropriate music, song, and dance classes during their morning classes, with art and drama mixed in. In the afternoons there are opportunities for intergenerational learning, such as a community chorus, dance band class, slow jam for beginning musicians, a community art project, woodcarving, and more. During the camper-led offerings time, everyone is encouraged to organize or lead an activity of their choosing.

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 at Pinewoods will fill you with inspiration to sustain you through the year. We hope to see you there!

~ Katy German and Elvie Miller, Program Directors

American Dance & Music Week at Pinewoods


August 4 - 11, 2018



Contra! Tango! Swing! Harmony and shape note singing! American Dance & Music Week is heaven for dancers and players alike as some of the finest callers and musicians gather to share their expertise. This week features a wide variety of exciting opportunities, from workshops geared towards skill building and technique, to delightfully engaging workshops for more relaxed enjoyment. Plus we have the 5th period “Hot Shots” session, designed for campers to lead their own innovative workshops.

Check out the Class Descriptions for details about the classes we have planned, and here’s a taste:

  • Swirling social dance: Argentine tango, East Coast swing and two step, waltz technique, English country, AND CONTRAS!
  • Making music: Fiddle repertoire, swing guitar, cool tunes session with Max Newman, lots of jamming and two singing workshops.
  • Creative expression: Drawing Pinewoods with Will Mentor, Hot Shots (the open fifth period—we already have plans for Dutch Crossing, juggling, blues dancing, a band groove with Pete’s Posse and more), and a daily gathering to showcase the talents of both campers and staff.

And finally, there’s a great evening dance every night, along with informal social gatherings and parties. Folks come from all over the country, and we have a great time dancing and playing together. Join us!

We will be joined by the Sierra Club, with 20 people using camp as their home base while they do service work with the Wildlands Trust. They will eat with us and, during their off hours, they will join us for dancing, swimming and socializing.

~ Lisa Greenleaf, Program Director

Campers Week at Pinewoods


August 18 - 25, 2018



When you arrive at Campers' Week, you will be joined by young hearts, old souls, and all those in between. Together we make the woods ring with song, dance, music, stories and laughter.

A small, but mighty staff provide classes for children, and a few “staple” activities (such as contra and English dance, harmony singing, and community band). But the most amazing piece of Campers' Week is YOU. When you attend Campers' Week, we want to hear from you! We want to learn from you! We want to celebrate your traditions and talents! That's why, at this week, the campers are by and large the leaders of classes and workshops. The campers lead songs, play tunes, call dances, perform at gatherings, host parties, jams, or share skills.

The basic schedule includes a period each morning and afternoon when younger campers join with others of their age for classes in music and dance, while the rest of us choose from dance, music, song, crafts and whatever else people dream up. Teens are welcome to join in adult activities, and also have a daily class of their own. 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, there is an evening dance, where those not past their bedtimes can enjoy a lively combination of American and English social dances. After-dance activities often include skit night, an auction, a pub sing, jamming and dancing. We love it when campers offer additional activities -- bring your party games, lead a chestnut, or start a sing-a-long!

Campers’ Week offers a special opportunity to camper musicians, who form the bands for the evening dances and who have many chances to play for the varied daytime classes. Musicians at every level are welcome to join the Community Band. Love to sing? Join the Harmony Singing class or an informal song swap on the porch. And of course, there are always games, swimming, boating, relaxing, and just chatting with new and old friends. Come be part of the joy that is Campers’ Week!

~ Hannah Naiman, Program Director


Each evening at Campers' Week ends with an all camp gathering, an evening dance, and post-dance activities. As dusk settles over the Camphouse gathering, a Pied Piper leads families with children age 8 and younger to their cabins, where the parents put their children to bed. 9-12 year old children join in the first half of the evening dance, until their bedtime. While adults and teens are at the evening dance, roving monitors listen for wakeful children. If a child is uncomfortable, the monitor will alert the parents at the dance. Families are expected to prepare their children for these scheduled bedtimes.

CDSS Adult & Family Week at Timber RIdge

English and American Dance and Music


August 12 - 19, 2018



We have a very special CDSS camp in West Virginia. Our unique combination of an adult and family camp gives us the best of both worlds. At Timber Ridge, parents, grandparents, singles, couples, young adults, teenagers, and young children all come together in a joyous mix of dance and song. Add art, swimming, storytelling, canoeing, friends, and late-night snacks, and we have a wonderful, memorable good time.

Our callers this year are Scott Higgs from Philadelphia and Adina Gordon from Burlington, VT. Scott and Adina are known far and wide for their joyful, spirited dancing and dance leadership. Both are experts at calling American contra dances and English country dances. We look forward to a wonderful mix of dances every day.

We have amazing musicians coming to camp this year. You will love dancing to the music of Andrew and Noah Van Norstrand, Eden MacAdam-Somer, Rachel Bell, Dave Wiesler, John Devine, Sam Bartlett, and Josh Burdick.

Mornings at camp: lots of dancing, and kids classes for ages 2 and up.

Afternoons: lots of variety! Art, singing, swimming, canoeing, jamming, dancing, and our Camper Led activity hour - your chance to share something you like to do with your camp community.

All Camp Gatherings: Each day the entire camp comes together before lunch and again after dinner. We start with some dancing, and we share songs, skits, talents and stories. Some folks find this to be the best part of camp.

This year Adina Gordon will lead a calling class to teach interested campers how to call dances. Our storyteller, Ed Stivender, will teach the craft of storytelling. Leslie Jeanne will lead her nature walk, and we have two community art classes planned this year! Leslie Sudock will lead collaborative printmaking and Sam Bartlett will guide us in the Theater of Moving Objects.

Each night our evening dance party combines English and American dance styles, with music that is just marvelous. Our tradition is for our younger campers to follow John Devine, our Pied Piper, to their cabins each evening after Gathering. Once they are settled their parents head to the dance while our Roving Monitors continuously check to make sure all is well. The teens and the adults dance into the night and then share scrumptious snacks and entertaining late night activities.

On the last day of camp we have a big parade with stops for class performances and a May Pole. After that we have a fun-filled pool party with our annual balloon toss.

We would love to have you come join in our week of traditions, making them yours as well.

Scholarships are available. Please visit and follow the Scholarship tab. We would like you and your family to be able to join us at camp this summer!

~ Janet, Robert, Imogen, Cecily Mills, Program Co-Directors

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