(1) Easy question: ... What percent of the gate
you give to the talent? Would you retain any for the organization?
You need to establish the principle of Treating Your Performers Fairly with your very
first dance. This means that performers should feel that, for the circumstances, that the
pay is fair. The organizer's goal is to get the best, most qualified performers, and,
having treated them fairly, can get them back. To achieve this, you may have to forgo the
house taking in any money. Once the series is more established, and (with hope) attendance
is building, you can divert some money to the house to address expenses or maybe put some
away for a rainy day, so that you can give performers a reasonable guarantee.
If you have some seed money, so much the better, because it is all too easy to go into the
hole during a series early dances. Later on, once the viability of the dance has been
established, you can better estimate the amount (preferred to percentage) you'd
ideally like to divert to the house: Fixed Expenses + Rainy Day allowance.
(2) >Speaking just for myself, we may want to try to
continue to fill the niche that this dance always used
to. If in fact this
is the vision that others helping to organize this wan,t how do you
recommend we convey that to potential dancers? I am asking about how to
realize a vision once that vision has been developed?
Resurrecting the series with the same properties as before (talent pool, publicity,
refreshements [if any], sound system, etc.) is easiest for the dancers to get their heads
around. "Oh, the Deerfield dance is back. I went there once, and I know about
it." Making conscious changes presents an advertising challenge for you, and it may
be easier to make BIG changes than little changes.
For my money, the biggest influence to dance vision is the quality of the talent that you
hire. Hiring workman-like, adequate bands may not attract dancers from 100 miles away, so
the dance will have a more local community dance feel, especially if you hire a caller
that tends to cater to the newcomer's needs. On the other end of the spectrum are the
hot bands that draw crowds, and callers whose programs and presentation is more
appreciated by the diehards.
Of secondary importance to your vision are the "other things". Do you want to
have a community building/social aspect to the dance? Then have a pre-dance potluck (or
dessert potluck, or after-dance trip to a diner,...). Do you want to put out the welcome
mat for the new dancers? Advertise a pre-dance workshop. Do you want to raise the level of
the dancing? Tell this to the callers, and they'll push the dancers a bit.