Sometimes it’s a success just to “get ‘er done.” And so Circle Dance Kitsilano is launched.
And that’s what we did on Saturday. Bina and I (and Surita of course) arrived at 9:30am to begin circle dancing at 10am. Here’s a tip: Don’t ever schedule your group for the first event for an event that goes from 10 am to 3 pm.
There were half hour events scheduled all day long, and most of the people in the hall were dressed for their square dance event that was next on the lineup.
So there were 7 of us at peak time. We’d particularly planned a family friendly event, but Surita and Juliet were enjoying looking around the hall for most of the time, and I got to watch the mothers, dancing but also watching the kids.
We’ll call that one a dress rehearsal more than a launch.
More people talking (pretty loudly) than dancing and one of the few people who responded, I saw later and said, “Oh, darn! I *really* wanted to come but caught up with face painting.”
The coffee for volunteers was hot and strong. I got a free reflective sash from Walk and Be Seen and hugs from Joanne and others.
And… we are launched. Looking forward to the evening sessions where people will RSVP and there won’t be a dozen other activities happening simultaneously.
What I learned:
I’d got the tip to start with energetic ones first and that was a good idea.
Because the laptop wasn’t in easy reach and the volunteer who was ready to help, didn’t really know what we had planned, we just let the sequence go on from one song to the next and that actually worked just fine. I taught the dances during the first sequence, and had chosen dances that were about 5-7 minutes each.
A centrepiece is important (I knew that, but because I was caught up with organizing playlists etc it was only the night before when I realized I needed to do that. With kids I think an intriguing centrepiece that draws them to the centre is a good idea. Both kids came in to examine and danced for a bit before they went exploring.
Ask the organizers to quiet people down and round other people up and to help move chairs etc. Send them the plan in advance and also print it out to hand to them so you’re in sync with each other. (we weren’t!) Make sure the greeters know what you’re doing so they can welcome people and send them up. With more people on our team, we could actually have had someone downstairs from 9:45 on playing music on a laptop and maybe even demonstrating. Later I realized that many of the neighbourhood people who show up for everything were busy with their own booths: demonstrating origami, straw painting, Mexican cut-outs, face-painting, etc. etc.
The sequence worked well. We did “Make New Friends” (repeated many times) to learn the grapevine. I’d found a version that has two claps before each verse, so that was helpful. Then I did “Thank you for this day” as the steps are pretty easy and energetic.
Bina did “I am a walking tree” which was pretty free form.
I did “One” and “As One” as they were the settling down ones that worked quite well. With kids I think if you had a focused group you could actually do some poetry with them to develop additional lyrics for One. My own proposed additional verse is:
- One for the day and one for the night;
- One for the dark and one for the light.
And then we played “Dem Bones” by Fats Waller in honour of Hallowe’en which was scheduled to end exactly at 10:30. Unfortunately the MC took the mike at 10:28 so we didn’t have the photo finish I was hoping for. We just did this free form, but it worked really well and had a couple of new people join us (Probably had arrived on site at 10am and only just managed to find their way there.)
Sure, if our monthly evening sessions go well and we develop a group of neighbourhood families to circle dance together, I’d agree to do it again.. with a whole group of regulars there.
And we’re launched! and that’s a good thing.
I’ll post some photos once they’re available.