History

Forest Dancing is celebrating more than twenty years offering dancers the opportunity to do what they love best in a charming beautiful setting.

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.