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364Re: [OutlandsDance] Requesting information on how you are organized

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  • Keith McClune
    Oct 7, 2005
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      Hi there:

      Odelia Banks wrote:
      [...]
      > I would appreciate it if your director or some of the members could
      > help me out ...

      Well, we this list serves individuals from several groups in Colorado, New
      Mexico, El Paso, and friends. So we don't have a single director. We do have
      local leaders, so perhaps some of them could reply?

      I know I'm behind in my email. Hopefully some others can join in.

      I am one of the leaders from Denver.
      >
      > 1. Are you a group of friends who dance for the fun of it and
      > occasionally do public performances? Or are you strictly a
      > historical group? Or are you a performance group with a focus on the
      > entertainment of the audience?

      Hmmm. We are principally (but not exclusively) SCA members, and hopefully
      friendly. Any may join in, however, so existing friendships are not required.

      In Denver, we practice historical dances for ourselves, not performance. From
      time to time, individuals may choose to demonstrate a dance or perform for a
      special function, but we do not have any formal troupe to do so. We dance at
      SCA events on occasion, but these are almost always social events, not
      performances. If I may be so bold, I will say that this is true for all
      Colorado dance groups in the SCA (if anyone knows otherwise, please correct
      me!).

      > 3. How often do you practice and for how long at each session?

      Ideally, once a week for about 2 hours, getting through about a dozen dances.
      I have a repertoire of 76+ dances, so this lets me practice each dance about
      once every six weeks. More practice would be better, but isn't currently an
      option. Worse, we've lost our preferred practice site, so we are now looking at
      twice a month at varying sites (and have lost many regulars).

      > 4. Are there people in charge of different aspects in the group?

      Not in the sense that you indicate. My wife and I teach all the dances, but we
      have no special titles for this. I have been called a master of dance, so I
      sometimes use this as a label to indicate that I am in charge. I teach Italian,
      French, and English dances, but usually not the languages. Costumes are the
      responsibility of the individual dancer, although there are often friends to
      help (standard for the SCA). I know of non-outlands groups that adopted a guild
      format with guild ranks, but I don't think anyone on this list is involved in
      one (jump in if there are any!). Some groups in Texas/Oklahoma did this for a
      while, but have since abandoned the practice.
      >
      > 5. How serious is the dedication in your group? Is there a contract
      > or some written agreement, or is it more of a "show up and join us
      > whenever you feel like it"?

      Entirely "show up and join us whenever you feel like it." If some people
      prepare a special performance, then they will probably limit participation in
      that performance, but otherwise we are pretty open.
      >
      > 6. Do you have a handbook or set of rules you follow from year to year?
      No.
      > Is there an infrastructure to the group so that it could run itself ...
      Not really. At least not for the dance group. The local SCA chapters do.
      > Do you have regulations the group follows?
      There are SCA rules about finances and basic participation, but otherwise no.
      We do have rules of etiquette and courtesy, but I don't think these have been
      formally recorded.
      Hmmm, sounds like a good project.
      > How do you make plans for the future? How are major changes made?

      I decide, or my lady wife decides, or some of us discuss it and we decide. If
      we had formal performance contracts, it would be different. But we don't.
      >
      > 7. Is there anything else you feel is important to the smooth running of
      > your group that I should know? Any advice for keeping a group together?

      Ah, these are the magic questions. I, too, would like to know these things.

      My thoughts at this moment: keep things interesting by adding new material, but
      not too much, as perfecting old material is good (just don't get bored). Don't
      be afraid to try out different parts from time to time, even if just for part of
      an evening. This can help people appreciate what is going on and builds
      confidence as they accomplish more. This can mean changing places in a dance,
      or having somebody else teach, call, or direct.

      Meet regularly. Irregular practices can lead to people forgetting, losing
      interest, or getting distracted.

      > ... check out our page ...
      > (it has not yet been updated to include my new married name...

      Congratulations!

      I don't know if this is any help to you, but it's how we do things here. Lady
      Jayne has a semi performance troupe in New Mexico. Perhaps she will respond (or
      has and I missed it).

      Keith / Guillaume de Gonzac S:}>
      Denver / Caerthen Master of Dance
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