getting attendance up seems to be an constant problem/question. i haven't
seen a good single answer to that issue. my feeling is that if the
organizers pay attention to the dancers' needs and do a decent amount of
publicity, there is little else that can be done. re: accomodating dancers'
needs, this has to be balanced against the intended purpose of the dance.
eg: if i am organizing a dance because i want to hear a particular type of
music or more or less squares, then accomodating dancers that want other
music or less/more squares, isn't going to sway me. if it involves other
things, eg: decent sound, clean hall, places to sit, caller style, etc, this
is a different matter. accomodating the dancers in this way isn't apparent
in many dance communities i have seen.
i am interested in your comment about not being able to attract and pay the
flashy talent that dancers want. i suppose that this has something to do
with distance, but also something to do with community. if the dancers are
only consumers, and not attending the dance for social reasons then talent
becomes a looming issue. here in chicago we have never found there to be any
correlation between callers, bands and attendance. in town, out of town,
talent. its all the same. people generally don't seem to come to the dance
based on callers/musicians. weather does seem to impact attendance.
after looking at the details, to see if small things can't be changed to
make the dance appealing to dancers, if there isn't a group of people that
the dance can serve, then i suppose it is time for the dance to end. it may
have been more popular in the past, when there was fewer dances available.
times perhaps have changed. there have been several dance series' here that
have folded for lack of interest. (probably because the interests of the
dancers were not accomodated).
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Gale T. Wood
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 12:52 PM
Subject: [Organizers] dance in transition
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 the series
over to a new 'generation'.
How do you generate support and bring new people in to the
organization of dances?
(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 not rebound.
A "Flashier" dance series, 50 miles away, was created for the
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
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 organizer]
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 interest, attrition
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 from use.
Hope to start a dialogue and get some ideas for keeping this
Thanks in advance
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