Forest Dancing is celebrating more than twenty years offering dancers the opportunity to do what they love best in one of the most glorious settings on earth, the virgin pine forests of Western Pennsylvania.
Here is the Story of how Forest Dancing came to be, as told by Artistic Director and Founder, Joan E. Van Dyke:
“Growing up in the suburbs and spending much of my life in the dance studio, I had little time to explore the glorious outdoors, until I moved to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A friend and terrific ballet mom, Mrs. Cooper, invited me to teach for a summer dance camp in the Allegheny Mountains in 1988, so I joyfully set out on a new adventure of teaching dance among the trees and river. Little did I know that all good campers bring their own towels and sleeping bag! I assumed that those things were provided, sort of like a hotel. Luckily, one of my five-year-old campers, Emilie Cooper had an extra Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag that she let me borrow for the week. It kept me warm from the waist down and somehow I managed to survive.
As the week progressed, I realized how spectacular it was to be doing what I love best in such a gorgeous environment. Our final day at camp was a bittersweet epiphany and I vowed that all of my students would have this experience at least once a year, every year. Thus, Forest Dancing was born.”
Watch for updates to this page to learn more about the history of Forest Dancing.