Location: Astoria (Queens), N.Y.
Occupation: Administrative Director of Clinical Program at New York Law School; clinics provide opportunities for upper-level law students to learn about law by practicing it! Our clients typically are indigent or otherwise cannot afford legal services. The resulting educational experience for our students is priceless. I work closely with our faculty and staff to create a dynamic learning environment for our students while providing quality service to our clients.
Connection to Balkan music/dance: I recently began teaching Greek dance to small groups and in private lessons. I’m still developing my website, but you can visit www.wellermovement.com to dance with me. I am a member of the Greek American Folklore Society performing group and also take classes with Traditional Movement and drop in on occasion at Folk Dance Fridays (Laura [Pannaman] and Emily [Cohen]). Last year was my first Golden Festival, which led me to camp this year, and just as you all said I would be, now I’m hooked!
Number of times at Balkan camp: First time at camp.
Experience at camp: Balkan Camp was the most wonderful string of moments I could ever imagine happening all in one week. I interacted with many wonderful people, so there are many wonderful stories that I could share, from bonding with Cabin 18 (the best cabin ever!), to killing my feet Pontic dancing in flip-flops (big mistake), to an epic Girls with Drums blender band (IzreyalaAaAa), to going cross-eyed figuring out which santouri string I was supposed to hit (there's like a million of them), to finding someone at any time of day to practice violin with on a random front porch (or tree stump). I have rewritten this paragraph so many times; how can I truly express the joy this week brought me?
Maybe it was the moment I realized I needed some time to myself. I decided to take a kayak and paddle out to the middle of the lake. I began to hum some of the songs we learned earlier in the week and then found myself belting them out. In these beautiful open surroundings, breathing in the fresh air, I took some time to reflect and meditate. I remembered how afraid I was at first to come to camp, not knowing anyone, and not knowing what this experience would bring. I realized how welcomed I felt by every camp "veteran" I met, how patient the teachers were with every wrong note I hit, how excited I could make someone else feel, just by helping them catch up and join in a dance. I laughed aloud at myself and decided to go back to all those wonderful people I was so grateful for. Thanks, EEFC, for reminding me that I feel like my truest self while I am back on the dance floor.