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  • Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith Sept. 17, 2001, 8:50 a.m. (Message 27393)

    Re: attracting new/young folks

    We in Bristol, UK, organise a dance under the caption "Newcomers' Dance"
    once a year in the early spring. This gives people who have just started
    dancing in the autumn a chance to experience a fairly simple evening, and as
    every dance is talked/walked through we do get children, young people, and a
    few normally non-dancing partners along, and in fact, and there is a lesson
    here if only we would learn it, it is our best attended dance.
    We have also, this year for the first time, introduced a reduced rate for
    tickets for young persons and students.
    I am convinced that there is a strong element in SCD that is guilty of
    intellectual snobbery as far as dance simplicity vs. complexity is concerned
    and it will lead to the demise of SCD as a popular activity if we are not
    careful. We are in danger of losing the simple social pleasure, and IMHO we
    will fail to attract new and (more essentially) younger dancers if we are do
    not more consistently supply a simple but lively programme.
    For me a "good" dancer is not one who can execute a very large number of
    complicated figures to perfection, but one who can move easily to the music,
    with neat footwork and above all an enjoyment in so doing which is
    communicated to the others dancing in the set through example, body language
    etc and by helping and encouraging those less advanced in these skills. I
    know one or two technically very accomplished dancers whom I have seen
    sailing on through chaos, executing the dance irrespective of the fact that
    the rest of the set has virtually lost the plot. This is far from
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2001 10:22 PM
    Subject: attracting new/young folks
    > We have had much lately about getting new folks and young folks to come
    > dancing.  This weekend I played for a dance in a situation where about 1/4
    > folks had little or no experience but got a ticket for the dance to do
    > something for the evening.  I noticed a number of things.
    > The MC was trying to get 4 couple sets organized.  In the contra world
    > would be encouraged to join hands in a ring of 8.  And then be told this
    > the set and these are the folks you dance with.  It took a while to
    > the sets.
    > Several young people asked about doing round the room dances and Dashing
    > White Sergeant.  As a gesture to them Strip the willow was done but not
    > after intermission.
    > A philosophical decision had to be made, does the dance organizer
    > re-structure the program so that all the people can get up and dance at
    > every other dance, and perhaps irritate the expeienced folks, but perhaps
    > entice beginners to go dancing again.
    > Or does the dance organizer continue with the published program, do 2 or 3
    > easy dances and please the experienced dancers.
    > While I don't know the correct answer I feel that an opportunity to
    > newcomers was lost.
    > Cheers,
    > Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

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