I'm just home from the awesome dance organizer's conference that just took
place in White River Junction, VT.
My mind is buzzing and I want to share some of my thoughts.
First, I feel so validated in my choice to invest lots of time and energy
into our local dances. Giving people the opportunity to experience
community in the context of social dance is a worthwhile and valuable thing
to do. I knew that already, but spending time with 80 other organizers
helped me to see this again, with new eyes.
Second, I'm energized about our dances, and about broadening the team that
manages the events. I see clearly that being able to help with the dance is
a privilege and an honor. I can feel good about tapping a regular on the
shoulder and saying, "would you like to be part of the team that puts this
I'm so happy that we already have this venue of Shared Weight - Organizers.
Let's keep the energy and support that we had this weekend flowing.
Thanks to CDSS, NEFFA, DEFFA, New England Dancing Masters, MFS, and the
hard work of Chrissy Fowler, Delia Clark, Linda Henry and Mary Wesley.
For Thursday NEFFA Contras at the Concord (MA) Scout House, full price is $8 (regular) and $5 (ages 22 and under). About the time of the waltz before the break, we start collecting $3 from all comers. With about one hour to go, we put out an "honor box" with "suggested $2 donation" on the top with the expectation that people will make their own change.
Our thinking is that we don't want the Price/Benefit ratio to be too high for people who may be considering arriving at or after intermission. We'd rather have them dancing (effectively replacing the people who leave early) so as to maximize the fun.
An exceptional situation happened some years ago when July 4th landed on a Thursday. Our pay policy that night was "Suggested donation: $1 per half hour" with the full expectation that people would be arriving late or leaving early for fireworks displays in various communities.
At the Montpelier Contra Dance run by the "Contra Dance Umbrella", we don't
offer an official price drop part way through the dance. However, after
the ~9:30 break (dance runs 8:00 to 11:00), we often close up the money box
(after taking out almost all of the cash, usually in one of the
pants-pocket of one of the male committee members). A few people may come
in after that; some of them will make change out of the box.
We've discussed this at our committee meetings; one of the responses to
"can I get in for less if I'm not staying the whole time?" is: "Well, the
band plays all night, so we prefer to have you pay--most of the money goes
the band and the caller, and the rest to rent the Grange Hall".
I think all of us are somewhat flexible about this, and responsive to
dancers who say they don't have all the admission price. I usually tell
them to make it up the next time if they can; we like to have people keep
coming. Our price is $8.00 for 16 and up, $5.00 for up to 15.
Similar approach is used at the Traditional series--there, we offer 1/2
price admission to new-comers.
Thanks for the replies thus far. Nice to learn what some others are doing and why.
I suspect our committee discussion will get philosophical, so I especially love Paul's offer of logical inquiry on that front. (Indeed. If we give discount to late arrivers then why not give discount to early leavers too?)
A similar question: what else in our culture do you get for a discount if you arrive after the start time - concert? movie? baseball game? college course? yoga class? childcare? lap swim at the Y? massage? (I'm coming up empty. Are there any such things?)
I've heard people say, indicating it was problematic, "Some people (who arrived late) paid full price for only 4 dances." Any perspective on that?
What is your dance's admission price structure?
Does that admission price drop at any point in the evening?
If so, when (at what point)?
What is the rationale for either (a) dropping the price or (b) keeping the same price in effect for duration of the entire dance? (Why do you do what you do?)
We're having a committee conversation about our practice, and I'm curious what others do and why.