Requesting information on how you are organized
My name is Kathryn Serrano. I am a member of the dance troupe
Terpsichory. We perform 15th and 16th Century Italian, English
Country, and Irish. We have been in existence since 1998 and dance
out at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and the Siouxland
Renaissance Faire. I joined your online group to learn more about
how other dance groups are organized and run.
I would appreciate it if your director or some of the members could
help me out by letting me know the following information:
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?
2. Do you have any spoken lines or scripts in your shows? If so,
how are the performance pieces evolved and the parts chosen?
3. How often do you practice and for how long at each session?
4. Are there people in charge of different aspects in the group? Do
you have a director, and a teacher for Italian, another for English,
perhaps someone to help with garb/clothing, etc? Are there stations
or titles for these people, and how are they decided? By vote?
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"?
6. Do you have a handbook or set of rules you follow from year to
year? Is there an infrastructure to the group so that it could run
itself, no matter how new the leader is? What is the structure
like? Do you have regulations the group follows? How do you make
plans for the future? How are major changes made?
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
I am grateful for any help you can offer. If you would like to, you
can respond to these questions in an email to me katriniac@...
(or katriniac @ yahoo . com in case the post cuts off the rest of
the email address) or call me at 320-253-5494 after 6pm Central
Time. We appreciate any and all information you can give us. All
information will be kept confidential and will be used only to aide
us in creating a better dance group. Thank you very much!
"Lady Odelia Banks" of Terpsichory Dance Troupe
P.S. Feel free to check out our page on the MN Renaissance Festival
(it has not yet been updated to include my new married name, so I am
still listed as Kathryn Northenscold)
- Hi there:
Odelia Banks wrote:
> I would appreciate it if your director or some of the members couldWell, we this list serves individuals from several groups in Colorado, New
> help me out ...
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.
>Hmmm. We are principally (but not exclusively) SCA members, and hopefully
> 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?
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
> 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.
>Entirely "show up and join us whenever you feel like it." If some people
> 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"?
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?
> 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
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.
>Ah, these are the magic questions. I, too, would like to know these things.
> 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?
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 ...Congratulations!
> (it has not yet been updated to include my new married name...
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