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Requesting information on how you are organized

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  • Odelia Banks
    Greetings, 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.
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 18, 2005
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      Greetings,

      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
      group together?


      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!

      Sincerely,
      Kathryn Serrano
      "Lady Odelia Banks" of Terpsichory Dance Troupe
      katriniac@...
      320-253-5494

      P.S. Feel free to check out our page on the MN Renaissance Festival
      website:
      http://members.tripod.com/MRFfriends/pages_groups/terpsichory.html
      (it has not yet been updated to include my new married name, so I am
      still listed as Kathryn Northenscold)
    • Keith McClune
      Hi there: Odelia Banks wrote: [...] ... Well, we this list serves individuals from several groups in Colorado, New Mexico, El Paso, and friends. So we don t
      Message 2 of 2 , 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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