[Anst-dancers] Fall Arts Symposium - Dance Business

Russell Kinder russmax at sbcglobal.net
Sat Nov 1 00:45:31 PST 2003


Capricia,

Thanks for the e-mail I am replying to. It clears up a lot of things, 
and hopefully salves some of the hurt feelings and anger that are going 
around. And lest I forget, and you feel you have a thankless task: 
Thank you so much for all the work you are doing. Sorry there's being a 
lot of crap about dance lately.

Your post to the list is in a great discussion form and makes a lot of 
good points that can be effectively responded to. The one problem with 
discussions of this type is that it takes everyone a lot of time to 
carefully read and learn the points that are being made. No medium is 
perfect, I guess.


On Friday, October 31, 2003, at 11:11  AM, Scot and Michelle Henry 
wrote:

> Just a semantics issue:  editing is
> to check for errors in the print (punctuation, spelling, etc.), 
> proofreading
> is to check for errors in meaning and for clarity.  So, yes, we will be
> doing both in November.

Only in the interest of semantics, that's not quite right. A "proof" 
read is an error check of the "proof" copy of a printed document. It 
checks for typographical and layout errors. Editing includes all of the 
checks you mentioned: grammar, spelling, punctation, clarity, & 
meaning. Not a big deal, but it is a term oft misused.

> Isabeau was the original idea generator of the Who's Who page.

Isabeau says it was Philip. But still, we like the idea.

> My personal
> preference slowed this project down because I do not want my picture 
> on the
> web, so when asked to do a bio and picture, I asked her to start this
> project with other people.  Most people think this is a good idea, so 
> I will
> also participate and deal with my privacy issues.

You know, you could submit a portrait drawing or painting, or perhaps a 
nice caricature. :-) Whatever. The picture can be optional.

> This project could be
> undertaken by someone else if Isabeau would like to lighten her 
> workload (or
> someone really really wants to do it).  We would then have to 
> coordinate how
> it would be uploaded to the website.

Isabeau is looking forward to doing the Who's Who. Ariane will be 
helping, since she already has a lot of this info in the KWDS event 
proceedings.

> My main purpose for wanting more than one person to have access to the
> website was exactly because it is so much work.  I think if we can 
> have some
> automated forms for registration and uploading dances then managing the
> website becomes less time-consuming because everything doesn't have to 
> be
> retyped and reformatted.

Since there are only 2 or 3 membership updates/registrations each 
month, there is really not a time issue. It would take lots more effort 
to make a registration form, and to deal with maintaining it, than it 
takes us to update the membership roster and web page.

There's not going to be a substitute for manually reformatting the 
dances that people submit. It requires a good deal of intelligence to 
take a dance submission, fix its problems, and format it for the 
manual. Also, not all reconstructions are good and worthy of including 
in the manual. I'm not saying that Isabeau & I should be the only ones 
who decide what reconstructions are good and bad, but someone should.  
I would be against any system that automatically takes reconstructions 
and uploads them to the web page, and includes them in the manual.

Besides, the process is not,
"This reconstruction sucks, we reject it."

Rather, the process is,
  "This reconstruction needs to have step timing added before it can be 
put in. Would you add that?" or "This sequence is unclear, can you tell 
me what you're trying to tell the dancer to do?"

It is a process of working with the submittor until the problems are 
fixed, and the reconstruction/choreography is of high enough quality to 
publish. The criteria is not whether Isabeau and I like the dance, but 
whether dancers can figure out how to do the dance from the 
instructions given.

Maybe there could be a "Submissions Under Review" page, where dances 
could be uploaded, and commentary could be gathered. Still, there is 
the problem of "punks" on the internet. People with no relationship to 
A.G.E.D. or Ansteorra, or even the SCA could submit junk over and over, 
simply because the form is fun. I think it's better to have the dance 
sent as an e-mail, even if it's entered into a form. A "submissions 
under review" page might be better than having people submit their 
dances to this list or to us personally, or it might not. It seems like 
it would be a good place to put new submissions, though.


>  It also reduces the risk of e-mails getting lost.

That's a fair critique. Still, I don't think we've ever lost an e-mail 
containing a submitted dance reconstruction.

> Having the automated forms available doesn't give everyone access to 
> the
> website, but does make updating the website easier.  The web manager 
> still
> has final say and all changes will be sent to the dance manual 
> coordinators
> as well (currently the same people) so that everything is kept 
> up-to-date.
> I had asked Lowrie to help with these forms because I knew she had
> experience.  Isabeau and I had thought that Lowrie would be able to 
> send the
> code somehow.  Neither of us thought about needing to test it.

Well, of course the software would need to be tested. If it has a bug 
or two, those could be addressed. It could still be sent to the web 
managers, instead of placed directly, as well as subsequent bugfixes. 
Generally, though, 99% of problems should be fixed in a test 
environment before being uploaded to the web page. As I've said, there 
are not enough registrations or dances submitted to make it worth the 
effort of programming a form. E-mail is fine.

>   If I had
> realized previously that there were personal web issues here, I would 
> not
> have asked Lowrie to do this project.  She has graciously agreed not 
> to be
> involved but I still think that we need this project and I would still 
> like
> to spread out the work so that it is not a burden.

I'm not sure how to respond to this. I think any issues that exist are 
between Lowrie and us, and we should address them to her. I regret that 
this has become public before we could address it privately. Lowrie 
deserves better.

As for the actual issue: the burden of updating new members. It's not 
really a great burden. In the grand scheme of maintaining the website, 
it's not a big deal at all. Only one person has not been updated at 
this point, and she sent hers 3 days ago.
>
> As to formatting issues for the manual, since there is a prototype of 
> the
> new format  I would like to see it posted.  Perhaps linked off the 
> website
> so that everyone can see what it is we are putting together.

That can be done. It just hasn't been done yet, because Isabeau and 
Ariane are still discussing the formatting. When they have it in a form 
they are happy with, they will make it public. They are getting close.

> Ownership of the dance manual still seems to be an issue.  Most people 
> do
> not want to contribute their dances and variations to a work that will 
> be
> veiwed as being owned by one person.  If however, the manual is 
> presented as
> more of a group effort then people are willing to participate.  Those 
> who
> are doing the compiling and publishing do in reality get the final say 
> as to
> where things go and how they are presented, but the group ideas should 
> not
> be rejected without discussion.

If by "ownership", you mean "it's mine and no one else gets any credit 
for it or is allowed to touch it," then no, I don't have or want 
ownership.

If by "ownership", you mean "I am the one responsible for seeing that 
this is done correctly and is a good product," then yes I want to "own" 
the dance manual in that way. I want others to contribute. I want 
others to get all possible credit for their contributions. I want 
others to review the manual for errors. That's part of the document 
being a quality product. I am absolutely not going to try to take 
credit for others' work. And even now, it's not just one person's work. 
There are 4 people who are doing major amounts of work for the manual, 
and everyone who has submitted dances is greatly appreciated.

Here is how things are currently attributed in the manual:

Prendente in Gyro
Dance by Master ihon macFergus of the Barony of Stargate, 1999.
(dance follows)

or

Quen Quer Que (cane care kay)
A carola by Master Sion Andreas of Wynedd, 1999.
(dance follows)

Everyone who submits a dance will continue to have creative control 
over their reconstruction or choreography. They will have the 
opportunity to review their entry in the manual, and revise as needed. 
I don't know how I could do more to assure people that their 
contributions will be properly credited and treated with respect.


> As proctor, I have asked all dancers to look at the online manual to
> determine if dances they do are not yet included and if they have
> variations.  I have now set a deadline for this.  I personally do not 
> feel
> that anyone currently working on these projects needs to be replaced, 
> but I
> do feel that public opinion could easily be improved by a more 
> cooperative
> and informative attitude.  If people knew what was going on and how 
> things
> were being planned, they would understand a lot better.  That is why I
> called Isabeau before the event.  I knew people who had concerns would 
> be
> there and I wanted to present the proposed plan and questions that had 
> been
> raised.  People who are informed make better decisions and have better
> questions.

Yes, it's not like we are unreachable. Our e-mail and physical 
addresses are on the web site. We're friendly people. Really. Thanks, 
Capricia, for your one vote of confidence. But we don't appreciate a 
meeting being scheduled for an event where it is known we can't attend, 
and then being accused of being uncooperative, exclusionary, and 
non-communicative.

> And since I, as proctor, am officially over this project I would 
> appreciate
> knowing as soon as decisions are made in regards to this project.  
> While I'm
> at it, I would appreciate knowing if any one is working on any 
> projects that
> fall under the proctor's responsibilities.  Full disclosure.  If you're
> unsure , check the bylaws.  Even if you're not working on a project, 
> check
> the bylaws especially since we may be changing these in the near 
> future.

Strong language, to be sure. I have no problem with the fact that you 
are in charge of this project. That is, indeed, the way it is stated in 
the bylaws.

However, if there are projects that you are not now aware of, then by 
definition, they do not fall under the proctor's responsibilities. The 
manual and web page are the only official guild projects as of now. As 
Proctor, you may start projects in the name of the guild, and appoint 
people as needed to do those projects. Putting on a Kingdom dance event 
can be a good project for the guild.

During my terms as Proctor, I started no other projects in the guild's 
name besides the manual and web page. I can't speak for Master ihon, 
but I don't think he did either. No project automatically belongs to 
the guild and its Proctor simply because it is a dance project in 
Ansteorra. People's individual efforts remain their own. This includes 
running dance at events, coordinating classes, and doing performances. 
A person could put on a Kingdom Dance, and if they were warranted by 
the kingdom, they would not have to involve the Guild if they didn't 
want to.

> As to meetings, two have been decided in different regions.  No one is
> expected to make it to both except the proctor.  They are close 
> together
> because we have a lot of important decisions to be made and I don't 
> want to
> drag it out and I will remember what was said (and the attitudes 
> behind it)
> better if they are close together.  Hopefully, this will also 
> eliminate hard
> feelings about "things were already decided at that other meeting, so 
> my
> opinion doesn't matter".  Basically, the way I see this working is I 
> will
> plan an agenda - some of which will be discussion topics and some of 
> which
> will be voting (money issues, bylaw changes, etc.).  After both 
> meetings, I
> will compile the information and post the results.

Fair enough. I respect and appreciate your decision to have the 
meetings this way. I can imagine I would make a similar decision, were 
I willing to travel to moderately distant events on consecutive 
weekends. I appreciate your willingness to travel this way.
>
> I love the idea of tying the dance performances at 25th year together 
> with
> some theater!
> If the guild is going to perform L'Caccia d'Amore then we will all 
> have to
> be doing the same version.  Besides the video and Guillaume's version, 
> who
> else has a version of this dance?  If those are the two choices, then 
> we
> will need them both posted so a decision can be made as to which 
> version to
> practice.


OK, this is not a guild issue. This is not a guild project. Whose 
reconstruction of La Caccia we'll be doing at 25th year is not up for 
debate. Isabeau has been asked to coordinate dance by the people 
running the event. We told people several months ago our intention to 
perform La Caccia at 25th year. Anyone who knows that I am working on 
La Caccia, who tries to substitute their own reconstruction is being 
spiteful. There are lots of other dances people could reconstruct and 
perform for greater fame. Please don't steal my current project from 
me. I have mentioned to other dancers in Ansteorra that I am currently 
working on La Caccia, so we don't accidently try to do the same dance, 
not so someone can beat me to it. Show some class, people.

A nice performance idea for the guild would be to showcase each local 
group's research and efforts. Each would present a performance of a new 
reconstruction or choreography that they have researched and practiced. 
It seems impractical to me that we could, as a guild, do a collective 
performance of any single dance of significant complexity. As dance 
coordinator for the event, Isabeau would love to showcase the work of 
other Guild members, though. She'll be wanting teachers, too. In my 
mind, this is greater glory than performance, for it brings new dancers 
to the fold.


> Along those lines, I think some pages of our website need to be sort of
> hidden like the ones on the KWDS website that were only available to 
> the
> staff.  I'd like to have full roster information (SCA and mundane 
> names,
> e-mail, phone, address, etc.) available to members only and maybe only 
> name
> and e-mail available to general public.  I think full information is
> necessary for the proctor or those working on group projects to be 
> able to
> contact people privately as needed.

Well, we weren't really planning to make all that information available 
to anyone via the web site. Only the SCA name and home group. No 
privacy at risk whatsoever. A fake name with a fake home location. 
Perfect. I thought you, Capricia, were all into internet privacy. We 
*can* make a database document available to select officers in the 
group, but I hesitate to put up a web page with all that info. Search 
engines can still find this type of document, even if it is hidden. I 
think the best way is for the proctor to have all the info, and others 
to contact the proctor if they need to contact someone in particular.

> Our voting on the version of the above
> dance should be a hidden thing I think.

And as I've mentioned, La Caccia is my own project, not a Guild 
project. It is not subject to Guild voting or debate. Before you call 
me a glory hound, think it through: I've mentioned I'm doing La Caccia. 
Then someone else in the guild says, "Hey, that would be fun to do." 
Then someone says, "Do we even want to do Guillaume's version." Then 
someone else says, "Let's vote on whether we'll be doing Guillaume's 
version, or someone else's."

If people in the Guild want to help me with this dance performance, 
then I welcome that help. I am not stingy with gratitude. But I don't 
welcome the Guild stealing this project from me. How could you think I 
would not be offended by this? I suppose there is nothing to prevent 
the Guild from stealing it. Nothing but decency.


> I think having to vote in person on money issues may be a bit difficult
> since we don't hold all that many meetings and not everyone can make 
> it to
> each one.  Just my opinion.

There is nothing in the bylaws about needing a vote to decide how money 
should be spent. A responsible, ethical proctor will consult guild 
members and try to get or build a consensus before spending money. The 
Kingdom Treasurer has the job of not letting the proctor spend money 
improperly. Having said that, a vote is not a bad way to ensure that 
money is being spent in the way the guild wants. That is if anyone 
actually shows up at meetings. That's why I think your idea of allowing 
people to send you their opinions by e-mail is good. The argument that 
not everyone has access to e-mail is no longer valid. Every library has 
internet access, and e-mail accounts are free. And their's always snail 
mail.

It is apparent that changes to the bylaws are needed. The teacher 
levels need to be removed, I think almost everyone agrees with that. 
How we decide to spend money needs to be addressed. We don't even have 
a section on how to change bylaws. This is a gross oversight that I 
accept responsibility for.

> The idea of getting the dance geeks together on a regular basis was 
> brought
> up at the event and again by Tahira.  As mentioned, we have two places 
> in
> the metroplex to hold such a get together.  We need places elsewhere as
> well.  I was thinking quarterly, but if there is enough interest to do
> monthly that could also be a possibility.  Although this appears to 
> make us
> insular, I feel it actually helps us to prepare our students (whether
> regular class attenders or those we get just once at an event) for 
> travel
> and participation with other Ansteorrans.   And if we draw together 
> more as
> a community as well as participate in our local non-dance groups, we 
> gain
> more visibility and credibility.

So, I want to be clear on what is being proposed here. Are we getting 
together to just talk? To share reconstruction and dance techniques? To 
trash-talk anybody who couldn't make it?

Before everyone takes me wrong, and Pug gets his flamethrower out 
again, let me say that I think this would be a good thing for almost 
any of the reasons given, except for trash-talking people behind their 
backs. I don't think it makes us insular. If you do this to the 
exclusion of mixing with the rest of the SCA, then it's insular, but it 
is apparent that we in the European dance community need some relaxed 
social time together with each other. Even if all we do is dance 
together, it would go far to promote harmony in our ranks.  At least it 
will if everyone doesn't immediately start bad-mouthing the other 
dancers as soon as they leave the get-together. Anyway, I want to get 
together socially with the rest of you, but I'd like each meeting to 
have a preset purpose. It doesn't always have to be the same thing.

Thanks, again, Capricia for all your work on the guild. It's something 
near to my heart, so I am really grateful for all that you are doing.

Guillaume de Troyes




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