The two monthly dances that I have been involved with producing have had organizational
structures that functioned thusly:
Conceived of by catalyst(s).
Work done by a team of people.
Infrequent formal meetings, usually 1x/year.
More frequent informal discussions and conversations to make decisions as things came up
(e.g. what do we do about weather?) Usually done in combination of phone and email.
No umbrella, just on our own as a functional non-profit venture (though not formal
In neither case was there a formal elected board or beneficent/benevolent dictator (much
as I'd have wished to be that person when I wasn't getting my way!)
Two enthusiastic dancers conceived of the notion of starting a series. They solicited
participation of a 3rd person (housemate of one) who had significant history in the dance
community (played in a long-standing touring band.) Much discussion of philosophy and
"best" practices ensued, "policy" decisions were made as a group, a
name was chosen, and the series was begun. Each of the three "committee
members" had different strengths, and various informally assigned roles were assumed,
- flyer production
- snack arrangements
- event management (the night of the dance, including setup, cleanup and gate management)
- performer arrangements (hosting, etc)
- bookkeeper (finances)
- statistician (tracking things like attendance)
- sound engineer for bands who needed us to do sound
- print publicity
- email publicity
- hall liaison
For major decisions, everyone in the group was consulted, even if the individual was
tacitly authorized to act independently. Sort of a check and balance system.
One person conceived of the notion, sketched out the rough concept, got input from many
others in the local (and dance) community, and brought three others on board to run the
series. The four of them discussed philosophy, finalized policies, chose a name, and
started the series. There are four core committee members, and eight significant
There are two major committee roles (duties were chosen informally, mostly by whoever took
- performer liaison
- hall liaison
- sound engineer liaison
2. - webmaster liaison
- publicity/marketing (including email and print media/radio)
- flyer production
The major job of the remaining two committee members is:
- coordinate the open band during the community dance
- Event management is shared among the 4 committee members and the 8 volunteers. (This is
arranged fairly informally, depending on who is available on the given dance night and
when they are available. Two of the volunteers coordinate the snacks. A team of people
handles set up, gate management and cleanup, with informal arrangements.)
We contract out to experts for:
- website management
- sound engineering
All 4 committee members serve to advise the others on an as-needed basis (another check
and balance system) especially on matters such as booking and website content.
Documenting what each role does is a GREAT IDEA for the franchising of the series
"product" so that there will be continuity for the dancers and the performers no
matter who is filling a given role. We have some documentation, but not quite enough to
ensure a smooth transition if all four of us were to jump ship at once.
I love the notion of being "custodians of the dance." I think that's
relevant to us too, and although we don't necessarily solicit broadbased feedback from
the dancers, whatever feedback we get, we consider most seriously.
It's exciting to hear about other ways people organize themselves to organize the
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