Joanna Reiner WilkersonNew Director of Programs!

Welcome aboard Joanna Reiner Wilkinson, CDSS’s new Director of Programs! You will hear more from Joanna in the summer issue of the News. Keep your eye out for new program announcements, and read more about Joanna’s background at

2021 Summer Camp Updates

While there is some positive news about vaccinations, the pandemic is by no means over. We feel (and hope!) that there is a chance of camps happening this summer, but we don’t think it’s a sure enough bet to open registration and ask for deposits now. When and if the likelihood of camps is high enough, we will open registration (and scholarship applications) and spread the word by email, mail, Facebook, and on

CDSS runs camp programs at four different locations in four different states, and we are working with each facility individually to determine if it is safe to hold our programs there this year. It is possible that decisions about each facility will be made at different times, and that programs will run at some camp locations, but not at others.

If we can’t gather in person, we will find ways to bring our camp communities together online. We know that our communities are strong, and we know that, however long it takes to get there, singing and dancing together will be sweeter than ever after the pain of separation.

In the meantime, check out our other online programs at!

Board Nomination Deadline is June 30!

The CDSS Governing Board will have positions to be filled next year and would appreciate your nomination suggestions. We are looking for a mix of folks passionate about traditional dance, music, and song, with the skills, experience, time, and energy to serve a three-year Board term. Skills that are always needed are fundraising, accounting/financial expertise or business acumen, or experience serving on other boards. If you’re interested in being involved in other ways, there are also opportunities for non-Board members to serve on committees and task groups. If you or someone you know fits any of these criteria, please send your suggestions to us with the following information:

  • Person’s contact information (email address and phone number)
  • How they are involved in CDSS traditions (e.g., singer, dancer, musician, organizer, etc.)
  • Professional and personal skills they would bring to the Board (or committees/task groups)
  • Why they would be a good Board (or committee/task group) member

Send suggestions to the CDSS Nominating Committee by June 30, 2021, via email or mail: Juliette Webb, PO Box 58532, Nashville, TN 37205-8532.

CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award: 2022 Nominations Open!

Do you know someone who has made an exceptional contribution to the mission of CDSS? Has this contribution benefited multiple geographical areas or generations of people? Have they worked in conjunction with CDSS for more than 20 years? If the answer is “yes” to all of these, then you may know a future recipient of the CDSS Lifetime Contribution. CDSS is now looking for nominations for next year’s award, and we’d love to hear from you. Nominations for the 2022 award are now open, so please visit for more information and to make a nomination. The nominating period is open until March 31.

The 2021 award for David Kaynor will be celebrated at an online event later this spring, so stay tuned for further details on that soon. The 2020 award celebration for Kate Barnes, scheduled for September 2020, was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic and will be rescheduled when it is safe to hold in-person dance events.

Dena Ross JenningsDr. Dena Jennings, Physician, Master Naturalist, musician, and lecturer. Photo by Dena Ross Jennings.

Cultural Equity Advisory Group Facilitator Hired

We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for nominations for our Cultural Equity Advisory Group! Thank you so much to all of the wonderful people who put themselves forward or nominated others. We know we have a lot of work to do to fully realize our commitment to cultural equity, but seeing the depth of talent and passion in our communities makes us believe that we can do it.

We are pleased to announce that we have hired Dr. Dena Ross Jennings to be the group’s facilitator. Dena is helping us select the rest of the group, and will then guide us through this process over the next year. We are extremely excited to be working with her. Dena Ross Jennings is a human rights activist, musician, instrument-maker, and a physician, and brings more than 20 years of experience working on conflict transformation with her organization Imani Works.

Learn more about Dena’s work.

Web Chat Update

Since all music, dance, and song communities will continue to evolve as the pandemic unfolds, we’re waiting to see which needs are most urgent before planning our next Web Chat. Visit for the latest updates, as well as materials and videos of all previous CDSS Web Chats. Feel free to send questions to

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