About

Our mission is to create an enlivening program of dance, song, music-making, and other activities that is fun for all ages. The organizing committee for Swing into Summer is

Allison Shapp

Allison hails from Brooklyn, New York, where she was one of the founders of the Brooklyn Contra. She is a contra dancer, a player of flute, and is developing a recently discovered love of playing English Country Dance music. She first learned of contra dancing while working at a 19th century living history museum, and she was wearing a full hoop skirt for her first dance. When she is not dancing, Allison is making productive use of her PhD in linguistics.

Ben Williams

Ben Williams began contra dancing in 2009 while attending UMass Amherst, and has been in love ever since. He is also a life-long singer and plays a number of instruments badly, including bones, jaw harp, and guitar. He lives in Western Massachusetts where he works at the Country Dance and Song Society, as a meditation leader, and tiny house builder, among other things.

Donal Sheets

Donal Sheets is a musician, dancer, and graduate student from Connecticut. He first got involved with organizing contra dances during his time at Oberlin College and is excited to join a committee of other enthusiastic dance organizers to continue the tradition of Swing into Summer.

Emma Schneider

Emma Schneider was hauled along to a contra dance at Oberlin College and fell headlong into a world of song swaps, roll-switching swings, hankie waves, and circling swords. She also worked in the kitchen at Pinewoods for a couple summers, where she developed a deep love for star gazing in Long Pond. Emma is delighted to be part of continuing this world of well-fed musicians, dancers, and silly olympians.

Mary Wesley

Mary was raised in the cradle of Vermont’s green mountains where she still lives. As a caller she loves to share her infectious joy for traditional dancing with dancers of all ages and she has something to offer every crowd. She calls family and community dances with great joy and finds “chestnuts” absolutely irresistible. When not calling, Mary works for the Vermont Folklife Center. She’s also the host and producer of a podcast for CDSS about dance callers: From the Mic!

Guillaume Sparrow-Pepin

Guillaume Sparrow-Pepin is a dancer and member of the band Nova. His first experience at Pinewoods was Swing into Summer in 2011 and has been attending whenever possible since. He lives in Southern Vermont with his partner and works as a software developer.

To get in touch with the committee, please email info@swingintosummer.org.


Previous Years

Before it was called “Swing into Summer”, Swing into Summer was just called “First Weekend”. In 2011, CDS-Boston Centre, which had been in charge of the weekend and had seen declining attendance, decided a new direction was needed. They brought on Chuck Gordon to rebrand the weekend. Chuck recruited Max Newman, Alex Krogh-Grabbe (now Ellis), and Jeremy Carter-Gordon to help, and Swing into Summer was reborn as such. Jeremy & Chuck both cycled off the committee, but Alex & Max stuck around and in 2014, they were joined by Allison. They were joined by Ben and Eleanor in 2015 or so, and Max bowed off the committee after 2017.

First Weekend used to be more specifically designed for families than Swing into Summer is. While the current idea of the weekend still considers families an important audience, the programming is designed to appeal to all ages, with a special eye to the young adults who can bring a special type of energy to a dance weekend. It seems to be going okay so far!

We have had rockstar staff every year since that transition. Below you can find a listing of who graced the stages of Pinewoods in previous years.

2019

Nova, Anna Patton, Audrey Knuth, Aaron Marcus, Dugan Murphy, Adina Gordon, Jeremy Carter-Gordon, Max Newman, Fynn Crooks

2018

The Faux Paws, Alchemy, Sarah VanNorstrand, Dan Blim, The Vox Hunters, Fynn Crooks

2017

Nova, Kate Barnes, lydia ievins, Andrea Larson, Adina Gordon, Will Mentor, The Vox Hunters, Fynn Crooks

2016

Gallimaufry, Rachel Bell, Eileen Nicholson, Adina Gordon, Michael Hamilton, Emily Troll, Julie Vallimont, Fynn Crooks

2015

Gallimaufry, Free Raisins, Rachel Wallace, Karen Axelrod, Rachel Bell, Eric Martin, Adina Gordon, Nicole Singer

2014

Gallimaufry, Nor’easter, Scott Higgs, Will Mentor, Karen Axelrod, Rachel Bell, Emily Troll, Brendan Taaffe, Jan Elliott

2013

Nils Fredland, Scott Higgs, Karen Axelrod, Liz Rose, Anadama, Jan Elliott, Max Newman, Mia Bertelli, Jeremy Carter-Gordon

2012

Lisa Greenleaf, Nor’easter, Brad Foster, Mary Lea, Jacqueline Schwab, Emily Troll, Mia Bertelli, Erik Erhardt, Nicole Singer

2011

Nils Fredland, Nor’easter, Marcie Van Cleave, Mary Lea, Jan Elliott, Jacqueline Schwab

Committee members emeritus

Alex Ellis

Alex Ellis is a singer, organizer, and erstwhile contradancer living in Providence, Rhode Island. He started dancing at NEFFA in 1999 and found his love of pub songs in 2015. He is also organizes volunteers for NEFFA and has also been involved in organizing BIDA, Youth Dance Weekend, and various dances around New England.

Eleanor Lincoln

Western MA native Eleanor Lincoln weaves her love of music and dance between teaching elementary school kiddos and participating in the New England folk dance scene. She is a classically trained viola player and now spends time playing fiddle tunes and English Country Dance hits along with Bach and Beethoven.  She and her partner Ben sing in a choir, sit on the Fiddler’s Green Dance committee, and live in their tiny house together. 

Max Newman

When not organizing, Max spends a lot of his time playing music, often with the bands Nor’easter and Stringrays. He served a term as the Youth Projects Intern at the Country Dance & Song Society, leading workshops and creating resources for dance organizers and the like. He also serves on the organizing committee for Youth Dance Weekend. Swing into Summer is a chance for him to lead by example, showing that you don’t need to be good at the ukulele to have a blast playing it. Known to shout “Money Musk!” in a crowded hall, he is also an avid fan of root beer. Current obsessions include the idea (at least) of playing lots of board games.

Chuck Gordon

Chuck led the revitalization of the weekend from “First Weekend” to “Swing into Summer” in 2011. He has been attending Pinewoods for decades, and has been to many of the Swing into Summer weekends recently even after he ceased organizing it.

Pinewoods

Our venue, Pinewoods, is a traditional dance and music camp. Located on twenty-five acres in a beautiful pine forest between Long Pond and Round Pond in Plymouth, Massachusetts, it has four custom-built dance pavilions, rustic cabins, swimming in two clear water lakes, an open-air dining hall that looks out over the pond, and a cozy camphouse for gatherings.

Folks often describe it as “magical” and we couldn’t agree more. It’s relaxing, with plenty of opportunities to read in the shade, take a walk in the woods, play games in the sun, or jump into the pond for some swimming. And the beautiful dance pavilions in the woods are the envy of many!

The facilities of Pinewoods Camp are operated by Pinewoods Camp, Inc. (PCI), a non-profit organization. PCI is dedicated to supporting country dance, folk dance, folk music, and early music programs by providing an accessible and beautiful setting which enhances the programs offered by the user groups.

For more information and to get involved with this fantastic place, visit its website.

Country Dance Society, Boston Centre

Exciting Times at Pinewoods
Photo by Jeff Bary

Since 1915, the Country Dance Society, Boston Centre has been working to preserve and promote the knowledge and practice of the traditional and contemporary dancing and dance music of England and New England. The Boston Centre sponsors and produces classes, parties, workshops, and residential and special events featuring the best performers and practitioners of English and New England country dancing. Events are open to all, and most feature teaching; no experience or partner is required.

To learn more about this lively group sponsoring the weekend, visit the CDS-Boston Centre website.

Policies

CDS Boston Centre adopted a Code of Conduct policy for all its programs as of January 2018. You can read the policy here.

In 2020, after successful gender-free terms used in previous years and upon consultation with our callers, Swing into Summer will be a place you can dance to gender-free terms! These may include “larks/robins” or positional calling. If you haven’t done that before, it’s similar to “gents” and “ladies” but since people of any gender can dance any role, it’s less confusing. We’re excited about it, and hope you are too!

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