[SCA-Dance] advice on starting a small sca dance practice

Lisa Marx shusmarx at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 9 11:56:56 EDT 2008

Another dance practice!  Hooray!
Where do you live?  Your kingdom/princpality may have a dance guild of some form that can help with music, instructions, instructors, etc.  I know back in Atlantia the Academie provided a set of CD's to any group starting a practice, and there were folks willing to travel to teach.  Even here in Oertha (Alaska), where travel's a bit tougher, we find ways.
As far as keeping people interested, I've been leading regular practices for something like 6 or 7 years.  I've found...
Have a couple of dances you do frequently (at least one or two per practice) so that folks feel like they know something and have some self-confidence.
Have at least one new dance each time to keep folks challenged.
Pay attention to what your group likes, which will probably take a few practices to figure out.
Themed practices are sometimes helpful: 15th C Italian Night, Inns of Court Night.
Be careful not to call individuals out and critique them, as they usually won't come back unless they are dedicated.
Be willing to be the one who "sits out" so that others can have partners.
We keep a basket of ties for the inevitable nights when we have girls dancing with girls, to keep track of who's dancing the guy's part.  We also have a spare skirt or two for the reverse situation, but not many takers on that one.
Location is important, especially if parking and/or weather is an issue; folks are less likely to come if it's hard to get there.
We found going out to dinner together afterwards was good, as it builds the community, and many folks rushed to practice straight from work.
Advertise to the local community. A lot of the dancers at my practice here are from the contra dance community rather than the SCA.  The more, the merrier (and there are more dances you can do when you have more dancers.)
Having an email list of the dancers and sending reminders a couple of days in advance made a HUGE difference, as has offering rides, depending on the availablity of local public transportation options.
And the MOST important (which we sometimes have to remind ourselves): Smile and have fun!  If you're having fun, your dancers are more likely to have fun.
Best wishes!
Elisa von Sophey

----- Original Message ----
From: saporling2 <saporling2 at yahoo.com>
To: sca-dance at sca-dance.org
Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 7:03:50 PM
Subject: [SCA-Dance] advice on starting a small sca dance practice

i might try to start a small dance practice where i live.  any advice 
on where to start & keeping it simple.  i have danced in the sca twice 
over the years, & remember gathering peascods especially.  just looking 
for the best way to start & keep people interested.  thanks, sap

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