FYI: Receiving the Montpelier letter from Dana in the mail caused me to want to re-think
how we do our performer confirmation aka performer info sheets. (We send a detailed
document via email about one month out, mostly repeating what we send when we first book
them.) I LOVED getting the hard copy in the mail. So much harder to ignore key points.
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 11:07:20 -0400
Subject: Re: [Organizers] Examples of agreements/information provided to callers &
Pasted below is the confirmation the the Montpelier dance sends to bands/callers/sound
people. I do most of my booking communication via e-mail, but I still send these out by
snail mail — yep, real live paper that you can write a friendly note on! The confirmation
is mostly to give bands and callers each other's contact info, detail the payment
scheme, and give contact info if people need places to stay, along with a few other pieces
of helpful info.
I've been thinking we might want a general info sheet for bands and callers who have
never played Montpelier before, though, and I like your example. Your caller archive book
is an especially cool idea!
Montpelier, Vermont CONTRADANCE CONFIRMATION
This is to confirm that on [date], you will be [calling/playing/doing sound] for the
Montpelier contradance at the Capital City Grange. This dance is presented by the
Contradance Umbrella and takes place the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Saturdays of each month. Any
changes in this agreement must be made with the consent of all parties involved.
Caller: [caller name, phone, e-mail]
Band: [band members, band contact phone and e-mail]
Sound provided by: [sound person name, phone, e-mail]
If necessary, individuals may be subbed or added on at the discretion of the band or
caller. However, if the band size decreases, the financial arrangement between the caller
and band will change; if the band size increases, the financial arrangement will not
change. Please let us know if you need to sub members or invite other bands or callers to
do guest sets.
Financial arrangements: $650 minimum guarantee after sound is paid out, plus any
additional payment based on attendance.
Sound: [$75 to band if they are bringing sound, $150 if separate sound person is
Caller: [percentage of the net income to caller based on band size — we do an even
split up to four-person bands; once there are five or more musicians on stage, the split
is still 1/5 and 4/5]
Band: [percentage of the net income to band based on band size]
The hall usually opens at 7 p.m., however, [first Saturdays only; other confirmations
just say "hall open at 7 p.m."] there will be a grange meeting that evening and
so the hall will be open at 6:30 p.m. Grange potluck starts at 6:30, and you are welcome
to join in.
Places to stay: Let us know if you’ll need a place, and we can arrange homestays.
Contact people: [my name and info, grange hall contact people's name and info]
On Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 9:23 PM, Emily Addison via Organizers
Hi Shared Weight organizers!
Ottawa Contra started working on a 'caller information' handout earlier this year.
On the heels of Puttin On The Dance 2, it's time for us to get 'er done!
Below is our early draft based strongly on Belfast Flying Shoes but also Scout House
Thursdays, Harvest Moon, Glenside Thursday, Philadelphia, John C Campbell, & Farmers
Ball. We still have to discuss it as a committee but it's coming along.
Arising for my working on this, three questions have come up:
1. Do you provide programming type requests of the band?
3. We would like to be able to provide feedback to the very occasional caller. We
don't know how to set that up in the wording though. I've seen (and like!) Scout
House Thursday's working of "If you haven't called a full evening for us
within the last two years, we ask that you be open to feedback following your performance;
most likely we will contact you by email." However, the 'if you haven't
called for us in 2 years' wouldn't work for us. How could we word this to set it
up to provide feedback to the odd person we get every year, especially since we
haven't had that feedback loop set up in the past???
3. What basic logistical information do you provide? We talked about the need for this at
POTD2 but we didn't have time to flush it all out and I'd love to get your
thoughts! In no particular order...Disseminate among other people coming.
Directions (actual address important + directions)
schedule (announcements, hall open & can hang?, when sound check,
when breaks, lesson, start, etc)
Dance series mission statement
Billeting (who to contact and timeline for set up + what's offered for
meals and letting know issues)
Contact (for more info, cell last minute issues etc)
Connecting bands and callers
If running late…
With thanks,Emily in OttawaPS - hi to the POTD2 peeps that have just joined the list in
the last few days!
NEW Fall 2015
- PLEASE READ!
We are excited that you will be calling in Ottawa! We asked you because we
think you are a great fit with the vision of our series. We
believe that callers are leaders within the dance, establishing the tone of the
evening and that they can make or break
a beginner's experience. We know you can
help the dancers and band have a great night, so keep the hints below in mind but call to
Dancers at our series range in age from six to eighty and are used to the basic
contra figures (e.g., contra corners or 'dancing outside your set' are not
but are not overly common in Ottawa). Our overall style has been described as
friendly, fun-loving & enthusiastic.
We have many long-time dancers of mid-level experience, a smaller group
of very skilled dancers, and then many new dancers. On average, we have 120
dancers a night.
Our series welcomes new dancers! We have
on average 15 brand new dancers each dance plus others coming back for their
second or third time. Expect relative novices and rank beginners of all
ages. We have recently started to work particularly hard on enhancing the
experience of beginners to the point that they catch the bug and come back to
be regulars. Anything you can do to help
would be wonderful!
In your own way, please make sure to encourage regulars &
beginners to ask each other to dance.
Other ways of encouraging & supporting brand new or
relatively new dancers are welcomed.
The introductory (beginner) lesson is from 7:30-8pm. Unless you tell us otherwise with a
notice, we expect you to teach the lesson. We appreciate as much of a focus on
connection, having fun, the dance structure, and transition/formation? than on learning
moves. The one particular move we wish to have taught is the swing. (too much? I'm
thinking of those people that only teach moves)
Note that in Ottawa, beginners tend to collect in the back
corners of the contra lines so those are good spots to watch!
Clarity and conciedness in teaching & calling is very
much appreciated by all dancers! (e.g., short walk throughs with no more than
2X through the dance)
etiquette & safety:
We appreciate judiciously sprinkled tips and reminders of ways to make dancing
fun and safe for everyone. A few of these style tips, described from the
stage or demonstrated on the floor, and definitely issued with good cheer or
humor, are encouraged by the committee and will be welcomed by most
dancers. Not to outweigh other topics, timing is a challenge for our
Variety: Variety in
programming is appreciated in Ottawa! Although
dancers will expect a program that is has many duple improper or becket
contras, we encourage inclusion of 'other' dances as well. ("Other"
could be a different formation such as a square, four-face-four, Sicilian circle,
or triplet; or another type such as chestnuts or mixers.)
Choreography: We prefer
reasonably interesting dances with logical flow (enabling us to enjoy the music
and each other) over complex choreography that requires intense concentration
(hampering our enjoyment).
up: In the interest of mixing dancers up and getting used to
dancing with different partners, we would encourage the programming of a mixer
(e.g., scatter, circle) sometime in the first three dances.
dances: As a heads up, we usually finish the first half, start the
second half, and finish the dance with a waltz – that's three! The band may
also play a hambo or schottis at the dance if they are keen.
o ??? Challenging or Gender mixer dance in second
half? (committee to talk)Bullet re one guest slot each night plus mentoring?
We have started an archive book that lists past programs, which you may refer
to before/during the dance. Please record
your called program there – name of dance, composer/author, comments, etc. This
is shared with other visiting callers to get a sense of pacing, types of dances
called, and challenges they come across. ???For Ottawa?
We do much to develop the culture of our community in terms of
being a welcoming, friendly, and safe space.
Thanks for your help in that regard!
If you are open to feedback after the dance, feel free to let us
know and if you would have any feedback
for us regarding this sheet or on other aspects relating to the experience in
Ottawa, please talk to us at any time.
- The Ottawa Contra Dance Organizing Committee
(with inspiration and
wordsmithing help from the Belfast Maine Flying Shoes series)
Organizers mailing list
graphic design & layout
Organizers mailing list