Location: Elkins, W.V.
Occupation: I attend Davis and Elkins College. I am a senior set to graduate in Spring 2017 and will receive a B.A. in American Vernacular Dance (the only program of its kind in the world)!
Connection to Balkan music/dance: I tour with the college's group The Appalachian Ensemble, which presents all varieties of traditional Appalachian music and dance around the East Coast. The only current opportunity I have to connect with Balkan music and dance, given my geographic location, is through brief trips to Pittsburgh or by reviewing recordings I have taken from my trip to Bosnia this past summer as well the East Coast Balkan camp 2016. Even though we have a heritage center in my town (the Augusta Heritage Center) it is a good three-hour drive to anywhere with a live Balkan atmosphere.
Number of times at Balkan camp: This last year was my first time at camp and what a gem! I cannot wait to go back.
Studied at camp: My main focus at camp was singing and I thoroughly enjoyed the Bulgarian and Greek singing courses I was blessed with. The magic of it all!
Memorable moment at camp: In particular my favorite moments were at the end of the day when I had the last session [Greek singing] class with Sandy Theodorou, when I would just let the songs ooze in and out of my heart. Maybe it was that time of day when exhaustion from the rigor of hours of listening, singing, dancing and being present lent to the warmth of the learning or maybe it was Sandy's own technique that did it, but somehow those moments in the day sealed in the song. What a trip. The fervor of it all and the many hearts of people who care about these particular traditions were astounding. (Even the zurlas grew on me.)