Annual Branch program of dances

Dianna Shipman

Message 28109 · 12 Nov 2001 23:07:09 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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thanks very much for the reply - sounds like a good system - I have some
notes somewhere on similar systems but couldn't but my hands on them.

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2001 11:47 AM
Subject: Re: Annual Branch program of dances

| Dianna Shipman has inquired as to how we compose our annual program of 50
| so dances (re San Gabriel Valley Branch in Southern California).
| Our system has been developed and refined over several years, and here, in
| somewhat of a nutshell, is how it works:
| In June the Branch teachers meet to choose the program that will run
| September-August upcoming. This is our Teachers' Committee, which meets
| regularly throughout the year as well. Dances chosen have a term limit of
| three years. On the rare occasion that we find one that we really dislike
| goof in choice from the previous year!), it can be booted sooner, but even
| those that we love MUST go after three years, though they can be brought
| after a rest in a subsequent year. Given that, about 2/3 of the annual
| program remain, and it is only about 1/3 of dances that needs to be
| chosen/replaced.
| The selection process is part objective, part subjective. First and
| we are seeking a balanced program, i.e., a roughly equal count of J, R, S
| (and perhaps a medley or two), and within each a roughly equal count of B,
| A. Next we attempt to be certain that all basic set-types, progressions,
| figures are represented. If we are losing a dance with a particular
| we seek another that has that figure. Once we have covered the basics, we
| have a somewhat open-ended situation. Teachers are encouraged to be on
| lookout for new dances, and we try to have them presented at a Teachers'
| Committee meeting prior to annual selection day, as that is full enough
| already. We try not to choose dances purely from written instructions; we
| hope that any dance we choose some teacher has at least danced somewhere.
| This is a guideline, not an absolute. A good variety of beginner dances
| sometimes hard to find, and we've not been unknown to just grab something
| of Pillings or some other source, particularly if we need a figure and if
| is a relatively simple dance. Another balance for which we strive is to
| a good mixture of RSCDS "book" dances and dances from other sources. We
| attempt not to have TOO MANY four- or five-couple dances, nor TOO many of
| anything. We like to include at least one dance, perhaps unpublished, by
| local composer. And so it goes, no doubt with much that I've left out.
| We've, mostly the same teachers, done this for quite a number of years
| so that we all seem to have a mutual understanding of what we're mutually
| attempting to put together; happily we seem to work well as a group. Each
| branch doing a similar thing probably has a somewhat different approach.
| Additionally the teachers produce and distribute to Branch members a
| of all
| of the dances on the program; we aim for September to have these in
| hands. Particular dance programs are devised by individual teachers in
| there is some latitute for choice, but also an accepted formula so that
| programs are balanced individually and over the year: such things as
| limiting the number of new dances from the annual program (generally three
| per event), repeating newly introduced dances for the next two events,
| limiting the number of times any dance may appear in successive programs,
| al., this of course in addition to always balancing each event in terms of
| J/R/S and B/I/A of each. It sometimes becomes a challenge to devise
| toward the end of the dance year (late spring, summer), being cautious
| nothing has been overdone nor neglected, but it always seems to work out.
| Given our careful choices in June, teachers can then, over the course of a
| year, be teaching all the important general aspects of SCD while at the
| time be preparing students to dance the specific dances of each upcoming
| event (which always seems to be THEIR overriding conern!)
| Reading this description may give the impression of a system very
| and limited; we actually find it not to be so, but one which gives us
| and order to our task, rather than chaos and randomness. Despite all of
| guidelines, our Branch teachers do not lose sight of the fact that above
| we want and MUST have dances and dance programs that are FUN!
| Robb Quint
| Thousand Oaks, California, USA

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A Django site.