In 2017 and 2018, Portland Intown Contra Dance (PICD) partnered with
Friends of Congress Square Park (FoCSP) in downtown Portland, Maine in
putting on a series of outdoor contra dances. Info about the 2018 series
*Logistics*: FoCSP is a nonprofit that has an agreement with the City of
Portland, Maine to organize events in the park, but other organizations can
do so as well through the Parks and Recreation Department by paying for an
event permit and providing proof of insurance. FoCSP provides the
insurance for these events and fundraises money to pay performers for
events throughout the season, including the contra dances. PICD handles
booking. Both organizations do promotion.
*Dancing on asphalt*: It's not awesome. I don't think there's anything
else to say about it. If people are dancing on concrete, you might tell
the experienced dancers to minimize their stomping, if anything. I do know
someone who sustained an injury that way at an outdoor event in Cincinnati,
Ohio. I don't know if there's something you would need to say about grass.
*Sound*: At Congress Square Park, we shoot for 92 decibels. We also make
sure to comply with the municipal sound ordinance in regards to maximum
decibels and how late an amplified event may run.
*Dance repertoire*: This can be so variable that a caller needs to be very
very flexible in choosing and teaching dances. If no more than a few
experienced contra dancers show up, then you need to treat it as a
community dance. But even if a whole bunch of experienced dancers show up,
the total number of dancers and the proportion of new dancers is likely to
vary unpredictably throughout the event. While the experienced dancers are
more likely to stay for the whole event and dance each dance, the new
dancers are more likely to drop in and out, which means that you cannot
expect to build up the level of complexity in choreography over the course
of an event, as you usually can at a regular indoor contra dance. This
variability is especially the case in a downtown setting like the events we
host in Portland because people will stop as they're walking by, try one
dance, and either stick around or more on.
That's the info I got. Good luck!
dugan at duganmurphy.com
Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2019 18:05:48 +0000
From: Chrissy Fowler <ktaadn_me(a)hotmail.com>
To: organizers shared weight <organizers(a)lists.sharedweight.net>
Subject: [Organizers] outdoor dances in parks?
Anyone have tips/advice for ways to successfully structure a free (no
charge) outdoor dance series for the general public in public parks?
* Tips for dancing on grass/pavement
* Dance repertoire
* Promotion, including language to help welcome in non-dancers
* Hydration that doesn't involve single-use plastic bottles from
aquifer- draining profiteers (ooops, crankpot editorializing...)
We're working with our parks & rec director and other local groups to
produce a series this summer. Would love any 'hot tips" from the hive.
Belfast Flying Shoes, Belfast ME
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Dance Calling | Transcription | Belfast Flying Shoes