The number would get that much more accurate if you did that survey for every night of the
month - well, at least you would have a fairly accurate estimate of how many6 people have
contradance in that month anywhere in the world. Since Houston dances on the 2nd and 4th
Saturdays, May 5 would not include us.
What an interesting question - and what an interesting process to develop what will only
ever be a best estimate but never a precise number that is correct.
Fascinating, even for this non-mathematician!
Dorcas Hand, Houston
From: callers-bounces(a)sharedweight.net [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf
Of Rich Hart
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2012 3:10 PM
To: millstone(a)valley.net; Caller's discussion list
Subject: Re: [Callers] number of contra dancers?
What do you mean by "regularly"?
- At least twice in the past 5 years?
- At least twice in the past 2 years?
- At least twice in the past 12 months?
- At least twice in the past 3 months?
- At least twice in the past week?
I say twice, because I assume that by "regularly" you mean at least more than
once. Then depending on how you define "regularly" you will get quite different
answers. If you pick the first definition above, you will get a much bigger number than if
you pick the last definition.
A slightly easier question to answer is, "How many people attend a contra dance on a
particular night?" On any particular night, worldwide, there will be many regular
dancers dancing, as well and some new people.
A few regular dancers will not attend because they are sick, or vising relatives in
Alberta. The new dancers and the missing regular dancers may cancel each other out, at
last to some degree.
So, the number of people dancing, worldwide, on a particular night might be a rough
estimate of the number of regular dancers, worldwide. It may be a bit low if we pick a
night when there are no dances in Denmark, or Oregon, but it would set a good lower
So, how many people will be dancing, worldwide, on the the first Saturday in May, May
The members of these 2 lists probably have contacts with or attend nearly every regular
dance in the world (and quite a few irregular ones, too). If everyone on these lists who
attends a dance on May 5th would take a count and send both the name of the dance and the
attendance to someone, a count of the total number of dancers at the known dances could be
made. It would take some work, as people would need to find a contact at dances they
could not attend, but wanted to report. And the organizer who was doing the analysis would
need to do enough planning ahead of time to be sure that as many dances, worldwide, were
covered, as possible.
On 3/25/2012 1:31 PM, David Millstone wrote:
[Duplicate posting to trad-dance-callers and
A friend recently wrote me, "I am trying to pin down an unpindownable
number: namely the number of people in the world who regularly
contradance. Any idea of this number, or anyone who might steer me to
I'm wondering if anyone on this list has tackled this question, has
developed even a crude methodology, and would be willing to share what
you came up with.
As for "the world," with the exception of the folks in Denmark and in
England, I think we're really talking about the US and Canada in terms
of any significant numbers. I can ask friends ub Denmark for their
estimates. The annual country dance festival in Prague brings together
several hundred dance enthusiasts from central Europe, though their
definition of "regular" is certainly different from someone in the
Boston or SF Bay or DC areas.
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