For the Lenox Contra Dance, in Lenox, MA (far Western MA) we have a
group of 6 people who help in various ways. The dance was started by
a "b.d." (below) and he ran the whole show himself for about 3
years. That meant that he hardly even got to dance! But he
eventually tired of that, so he invited people to join him in a
committee. He asked 5 to help, and we asked a 6th because that
person had web hosting and design abilities, which we needed. We
helped to support the b.d. with decision making and taking some tasks
off his shoulders. A year ago the b.d. decided to abdicate entirely,
and we had a very smooth transition to the 6 of us continuing to run
the dance. We each kept our portfolios of tasks, and shared out the
tasks that Michael (the b.d.) had continued to do himself, and one of
us (me) took on the job of overseeing the organizing. We keep in
touch with our dance community several times a year with
informational emails, and I think we make it clear that we see
ourselves as custodians of the dance. We seek input and support, and
occasional help when we need it. It has proved to be a very positive
way, amongst ourselves as the committee, and within our dance
community. People are very positive with us, many thanks on a
regular basis, and little/no negativity. I imagine that we might
have some turnover at times, but I think this will be handled in a
less formal way than an election, but rather by asking around for
people who might be willing and able to help.
I will add that our b.d. did a lot just in his head or in very simple
ways, because he really didn't have a need to communicate a lot, and
that worked very well for him, and for the dance. My interest when
the committee took over the entire job was to institutionalize the
work we do so that we can move forward even if there are changes in
volunteers. To that end we've documented a lot of what we do, we
have agendas and minutes, and we've developed some forms that allow
us to track our attendance and our money much better than
previously. We would not be able to work if each person just did
their own thing as Michael was able to do.
We also meet every other month for probably two and a half hours or
so, sometimes longer if there's a special event. These meetings are
very important for our energy as a group, so not to be overlooked.
Lenox (MA) Contra Dance
On Feb 5, 2008, at 9:55 PM, Rick Johnson wrote:
In San Diego we have a non-elected, self-selected
those who show up at the quarterly meetings.
I can see theoretical drawbacks to this method (hostile takeover
but it has worked successfully here for many years. I should
this dance committee operates under the umbrella of a larger, more
non-profit organization, although the parent organization is not
routine dance operations and decision-making.
------ Original Message ------
Received: 06:37 PM PST, 02/05/2008
To: "'A list for dance organizers'"
Subject: [Organizers] dance group structure (resending)
sorry, i sent this under a different email
address so it was held
approval. i am resending under the correct address.
i am interested in hearing about different methods of dance group
i am aware of two basic methods: 1) elected board method, which is
responsible for making all decisions by vote and 2)the beneficent
method (b.d.). the b.d. may or may not have people that act as a
are appointed, but in the end all decisions are those of he b.d.
re: elected board voting methods: there are a couple of variations
voting process: 1) dancers get the right to vote by buying a group
membership, or 2) whoever is at the dance on the day of the
vote. (my feeling is that regularly attending
dancers ought to be
voting, but i haven't figured out a good way to track attendance)
a side issue of the elected board method is how the positions are
established, sometimes individuals run for positions (eg president,
secretary, treasurer, booker, etc). in other groups a certain
people are elected to the board and the board decides the different
are there other methods or permutations?
any comments on the pro or cons of these different methods?
Organizers mailing list