In support of no briefings at formal balls, Don MacQueen asks (rhetorically):
>Why shouldn't we aspire to the highest possible level?
How could anyone find fault with such aspiration? However, there is a chain
of reasoning here that is based on this hidden assumption:
"A dance done without a briefing is a _higher-level_ activity than one done
with a briefing."
I am hard-pressed to affirm or deny such a claim--there is no reason
apriori why it should be true or false. I am not even sure it is a
However, the following is true: A good briefing gives the dancers more
preparation for the dance than no briefing. Notice that there is no
judgement here as to whether or not "more preparation" is good.
I have already made it abundantly clear than I believe that such additional
preparation IS good regardless of the formality of the occasion. There is
nothing inherently informal or patronizing about a briefing.
Our Local Association (Branch) does briefings at all of our functions.
However, you might be surprised to know that the "detail" of the briefing
is generally inversely related to the complexity of the dance:
(1) for simple dances we walk through one couple and then brief the dance.
The aim here is to be sure that the less experienced
dancers are encouraged to participate.
(2) for intermediate level dances we brief the dance.
The briefing is quick (less than 1 minute), but in
sufficient detail that an experienced dancer who is
a verbal learner could do the dance from the briefing.
(3) for advanced level dances we give only a quick sequence reminder.
The premise is that the dance is usually too complex for a
full briefing to be helpful.
Moreover, the MC is given the flexibility to "read" the floor. If it is
clear that no one wants a walkthrough of a basic dance, then the
walkthrough will be dispensed with. Sometimes for advanced dances, the MC
may even omit the sequence reminder if the floor indicates that it is not
needed. Or, if an advanced dance is making its first appearance, the MC may
allow the dancers a walkthrough if there is a general expression of
nerviousness about the dance.
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