[SCA-Dance] Dancing at non-dance events

Justin du coeur jducoeur at gmail.com
Tue Jan 21 08:55:05 EST 2014

On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 5:34 PM, Sonya <patches023 at verizon.net> wrote:

> However, when I have attended an event that is not dance
> focused, such as the ones listed above, the dancing is usually scheduled
> for
> right after the feast and it only happens 20 percent of the time.  What
> usually happens is that court runs long or the feast runs long or both run
> long and then everyone wants to pack up and go home or people need to help
> clean up in the kitchen (which IS a very worthwhile thing to do) and
> dancing
> is dropped.

Yep, very common pattern.  Around here (Carolingia, East), Gundormr and I
have evolved a fairly hard-and-fast rule that we do not *allow* dancing to
be scheduled if we believe it's going to fail.

Frankly, I think there's a nasty downward spiral that develops quite
easily: dancing gets scheduled late, so a lot of people leave before it, so
you wind up with relatively few dancers, so it comes across as kind of sad
and pathetic, so even fewer people stay for it next time.  So to combat
that, our rule has become that we will only run dancing if we think it
stands a good chance of being *fun*, to create the reverse spiral instead
-- we have a good time, folks *see* that the dancing is fun, so more are
inclined to join in next time.  It's not a panacea, but it helps.

In general, this has led to us largely abandoning the old tradition of
dancing after feasts: as others have observed, we've collectively gotten
older, and folks are on average less interested in starting to dance at
8-8:30pm.  (And, sadly, fewer are staying for feast nowadays.)  So we've
tended to instead schedule the dancing in the afternoon lately, at events
where that makes sense.  We tend not to try when the event has a core
"showcase" that everyone is paying attention to at that time, but at a
typical everything-to-everybody event it often works well to stick an hour
or two of dancing in the main hall in the afternoon.

I'll also agree with Darius that running dancing at cons can be
surprisingly successful.  Arisia is the big convention in these parts (3500
people or so), and I ran the ball there this past weekend.  I'd say we had
about 75 people dancing: not exactly the Pennsic Ball, but plenty enough to
make for a really fun, full dance floor, and a pretty good turnout for 3pm
on a Sunday.  That's becoming one of our more significant recruiting
opportunities each year...

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