i am now on a committee writing new bylaws for cbdc.
there seem to be two opposing views on decision making.
A. a board be elected and it be responsible for making decisions. the board
can ask for general dancer input, but only the board can vote and make
B. that all meetings be public meetings, and everyone at the particular
meeting gets to vote on the decision.
of course there are both tiny, medium, and large decisions to be made in the
course of time, and no distinction was offered. just the desire that all
members (or perhaps, anyone that shows up) be allowed to make all decisions.
to me this obviates the whole point of a board: having a small group that
can retain focus, be responsible for decisions, be available for making
decisions on short notice.
comments on the B approach? has anyone tried it? how did it go?
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Callers] dance in transition
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2008 06:58:59 -0500
From: Lisa Sieverts <lisa(a)lisasieverts.com>
Reply-To: Caller's discussion list <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
To: Caller's discussion list <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
And I'll just add one short story:
I founded and ran the dance in Boise Idaho for about 8 years. We had
a committee, but I took care of most of the details. When I was
getting ready to leave and move east, I was worried about what would
Not only did the committee step up to the plate, but they got many
more people involved, with the result that the dance is FAR STRONGER
now than when I was running it single-handedly.
Sometimes the best thing is for the obsessive-compulsive founder to
stop. The reality is that she doesn't need to do everything, and the
dance is much better off if a bunch of people share the work.
Or, as Alan says, let it die. (great post, Alan)
Callers mailing list
Subject:Dance in transition
Dance venue in transition Qs?
Just curious as to longevity of dance series.
How do you handle organizer burnout?
I know an organizer who has been at it for 12 years and wishes to turn
over to a new 'generation'.
How do you generate support and bring new people in to the organization
(dancers scatter when there is mention of organizing!)
There is a small loyal group of dancers. The problem is no one wishes to
take up the duties of organizer. This is compounded by the fact that the
main organizer needs to
be a resident of the town where the dance is held. (I do what I can. I
organized a dance and found it was not my calling. esp. as the sole
organizer, dancers want to dance not organize!)
Dance started in 1996
In a beautiful medium size hall.
First 2 years averaged 65-70 dancers
In the third year there was a problem with parking at the hall. Number
of dancers dropped off. Parking problem was resolved but the numbers did
A "Flashier" dance series, 50 miles away, was created for the same wknd.
off more dancers.
Over the next 8 years attendance fluctuated between 20-40. which is the
sustaining level for this dance.
In the past year attendance levels have dropped to 10-30
The dance is having problems hiring the "Name" talent that brings in
dancers from more than an hour away (Though Randy Miller from western NH
is a fan of this dance and
plays for the take of the door)callers and musicians ask for guarantee
The organizer just does not want the hassle of it anymore.
There are several of us who help when we can.
Some of the reasons the dance is struggling (along with the above)
Very few local dancers.
Lack of flashy talent (dance can not provide the pay out)
It's a community dance that welcomes beginners/families
At one time there was a rowdy teenage group who frequented the dance,
they were very energetic, too much for some dancers. (they do not
attend the dance anymore, but the stigma is still there)
It's to far off the beaten path (Where is ----------- anyway?) [ I
choose not to include the name of the dance without permission of the
Its to long of a drive! There are better dances closer by...
Is that dance still happening?
It is a shame to see the demise of this dance series due to lack of
gas prices, an aging dance community, apathy.
Perhaps it is time for this 'community' dance to close it's doors. I
wonder how many other smaller dances are experiencing the same problems.
Here is in southern NH dance venues (new dance halls) are becoming
increasingly hard to find and it would be a shame to see this one fall
Hope to start a dialogue and get some ideas for keeping this series
Thanks in advance
mail2web.com - Microsoft(r) Exchange solutions from a leading provider -
Alan, Gale and all,
I'm replying to both the organizers and callers lists, since I think
Alan's comments are quite keen and hope those of you on the organizers'
list who missed them can look at them (he sent them only to the callers
I have a somewhat unique perspective on passing on leadership roles in
dance communities. I've been one of the primary organizers for the
contra dance here at Oberlin College for three years, now, as well as
the primary organizer for our dance weekend, the Dandelion Romp, last
year, and one of the organizers this year. Our dance has existed for
five or six years, now, and our dance weekend has been an annual event
for the past eight years. As our dances are student run, nobody has run
any part of the dance for more than three years at a time, which means
we have to find creative ways to pass it on. Many of our dancers, too,
are students, and so we have to constantly advertize and find new ways
to attract people to dances, since few of our dancers have been
attending for more than three and a half years.
In the past, we've relied on one or two people to do most of the
organizing at dances, and particularly for the Romp. Things have slowly
changed, however. As Alan suggested, having meetings about the
direction of the dance community and splitting up tasks into manageable
commitments has been vital for us. There is more you can do for your
community, though. We have somewhat regular potluck dinners, where the
dance organizers and interested dancers can socialize and talk about our
contra dance scene. These can help create a sense of stewardship;
dancers will start to feel like the dance is a part of their community
that's worth investing time in, rather than just a service that some
people provide for many others. Also, for us, our dances became more of
a group effort when we officially chartered them as student
organizations with Oberlin College. I really think that making an
organization, and writing bylaws, can help keep the dance going when the
people who started the dance no longer wish to organize it. I don't
mean that you should necessarily immediately incorporate your dance
community as a nonprofit and start declaring all your income and
expenses, of course, but even a short document explaining the purpose of
the dance and perhaps outlining some distinct jobs that people can do to
keep the dance running might help a lot.
Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing wrote:
>>Dance venue in transition Qs?
>>Just curious as to longevity of dance series.
>>How do you handle organizer burnout?
>>I know an organizer who has been at it for 12 years and wishes to turn
>>over to a new 'generation'.
>>How do you generate support and bring new people in to the organization
>> (dancers scatter when there is mention of organizing!)
>>There is a small loyal group of dancers. The problem is no one wishes to
>>take up the duties of organizer. This is compounded by the fact that the
>>main organizer needs to
>>be a resident of the town where the dance is held. (I do what I can. I
>>organized a dance and found it was not my calling. esp. as the sole
>>organizer, dancers want to dance not organize!)
>You're not looking for an individual to whom the organizer can hand the robe
>and sceptre; you're looking to (a) get a certain minimum set of duties done and
>(b) develop a broader sense of ownership of the dance so that people feel
>motivated to help get the duties done (and possibly expand the stuff that gets
>One of those duties is to be the resident interface to the town, but that
>person probably doesn't actually have to be the person who books the staff,
>sweeps the floor, and bakes the cookies (if any).
>People are wary of open-ended commitments, so "could you be the organizer of a
>dance series" is a scary question. "Could you bring refreshments in
>even-numbered months?" is a much less scary kind of question.
>I'd suggest that you announce at a dance (maybe two dances) that at date X in
>the future, so-and-so plans to retire from running the dance, and that at
>(well-defined date and location well before that time) there'll be a meeting
>for those interested in having the dance continue to discuss what to do about
>You do need somebody to host that meeting and somebody to facilitate/lead it
>and it would be helpful if the organizer could, beforehand, make a list of the
>stuff that he or she does for the series.
>If there's nobody willing to even come to a meeting, then the dance series
>doesn't have enough dancer commitment to function, and it'll have to die when
>the organizer retires. If you get some people, you can start discussing what
>needs to happen and who can do it, and possibly extract commitments either to
>do those things or to recruit people to do those things. If nobody's willing
>to make even the commitments necessary to keep the dance functioning, then it
>has to shut down. Maybe they'll miss it enough when it's gone to start it up
>I don't have an answer if you've got enough volunteers to keep it going and
>nobody fulfills the residency requirement, except to ask the current organizer
>to keep functioning in the reduced-obligation role of resident interface to the