CDSS News, Fall 2021


Kate Barnes, by Kayla BurnettPhoto by Kayla Burnett.

We are delighted to invite you to the Lifetime Contribution Award Celebration for Kate Barnes!

Sunday, September 26, 2021
4:00-6:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. PT)
via Zoom

Last year, we announced Kate Barnes as the 2020 recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award. The award ceremony we originally planned for September 2020 was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic, but we are delighted to announce the details of the rescheduled event. Although some in-person events will likely have resumed by this point, we have decided to create an online celebration so that we can in clude as many people as possible, and to make it eas y to attend for Kate’s friends, family, and well-wishers from across the continent.

Register for the event.

Web Chat Updates

On August 12, 190 participants joined the fifth installment of our “Reentry” Web Chat series! To review materials from this chat and find updates about the next one, visit the Web Chats page.

We’ve updated our Reentry Resources for Organizers to include input from the recent Web Chat. Check out the page for a new statement from CDSS and an added section of important perspectives from a long-time public health professional.

Annual Report 2020 cover

2020 Annual Report Now Available

2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty, and also, ultimately, a year of discovery, awakening, and rising to meet the needs of our community. The annual report is our way of thanking our thousands of members and donors, who ensured that CDSS held on, adapted, and soared to new heights, and who made it possible for us to navigate every financial and logistical challenge of 2020. We are deeply grateful to you for making it all possible.

Read the 2020 annual report online

Member Survey Now Open!

The 2021 Member Survey is open now! We are seeking your input as we begin our next phase of strategic planning. In early September, all CDSS Members should have received an email with the link to this very brief survey. Not getting email from us lately? This is a great time to log in to the Commons and update your email address yourself, or if you prefer, simply email using the subject line “current email address.”

swing dancersSwing Video Workshop: 20 Swing Variations

By John Sweeney

From the UK, these videos teach you how to swing, covering all the basic concepts and techniques, plus 20 fun variations, entries, and exits.

Go to the ContraFusion website or just search for “twenty swing variations” on YouTube.

Teacher: John Sweeney; Demonstrator: Karen Sweeney.

Photo courtesy of John Sweeney.

Joanna smiles at a group of musiciansCalling with Alchemy (Karen Axelrod, Eric Martin, and Rachel Bell) on the last night at camp. Photo by Susan Kevra.

From the Director of Programs

August 2021

Hello from English Dance Week at Pinewoods!

Every day, at the beginning of the all-camp gathering, program director and gathering leader Alex Cumming asks us to listen—what does the air sound like today? One day, the breeze wafting through the trees is predominant. Another day, the stillness. And now, at almost the end of the week, it’s the sound of the constant rain that fills in every quiet moment.

From the very first time I went to Pinewoods more than 25 years ago, the indirect sound experience was such a key part of my time there. As a Scottish Week camper, I found it amazing that you could hear bagpipes through the woods at all hours of the day (I didn’t find out until later that there was a piper who lived across the pond; yes, sound does carry that far—be careful of those late night chats on the dock...). As a Pinewoods crew member, I was enchanted by the sound of recorder-playing wafting through the woods, even if less so by the recorder player practicing on the crew dock at 6:00 a.m.

This year’s sounds were more precious than ever because so many of them were missing for the last two years. Here are just a few aural memories to tide me over until next year:

An overheard solo piano player practicing one of the tunes from a dance I taught in class earlier in the day

The sheer volume of conversations in the dining hall when the rain curtains are drawn

Sounds drifting across camp into my cabin, keeping me company as I prepare for the next day’s classes: the rhythmic pounding of fifth period English clogging class, French tunes from the after-dance bal folk party, the muffled sounds of my neighbors up the hill debriefing the day with conversation and laughter

The cacophony of the frogs in the vernal pool next to C#, the main dance pavilion

The almost-holy silence of my early morning and late night swims

The bit of the tune I ask the musicians to play before each dance to get the dancers to settle down, hear the meter of the music, and feel the mood of the dance. The first dance of English Week was “Farmer’s Joy,” a great dance by Joseph Pimentel to a fabulous tune of the same name by Adam Broome. And it was played by three musicians playing together in the same place, at the same time. I don’t think I’ll ever take that for granted again.

As I finish this note, I’m home from camp and my clothes are clean and dry at last. I’m impatient for everyone who took pictures at camp to post their photos on social media so I can relive my immediate past. And today, those snapshots and all of those soundbites are just a bit more poignant as the news is spreading that our camp season has to come to an early close. I am so grateful I was able to dance and be in company with 150 of my closest friends. I can’t wait to be there with you next summer.

Joanna's signature
Joanna Reiner Wilkerson, Director of Programs

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