Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the way we did it from before I got
here in 1985 to about 2008 was:
You could get in free if you sat at the door for two dances. You'd have
to get there pretty early to be able to sign up for your two-dance slot.
We recognized that there was a conceptual problem with having the people
who were most broke being in charge of the money, and this meant that
managers would come by every so often and harvest all the big bills from
the cash box.
(English dances, generally a lot smaller)
Dance manager (same person or a substitute they'd arranged) would sit at
the door with the box for the first fifteen minutes before the dance
started and duration of the first dance. Cash box honor system
thereafter. After that, if somebody who was sitting out felt like
sitting at the door they could but they didn't get anything for it.
We switched over to have not only a supporter/regular/member/student or
low income scale but a "pay what you can" option (which can be zero,
though not negative!) at a time when attendance at our contras was
getting pretty low, and contras - Palo Alto first - were getting
reorganized to be run by committees rather than by caller/programmers
with occasional help. The organization didn't decree a switch, but what
we do now (possibly led by the Hayward Contra dance, which wasn't a
BACDS dance at the time but is now) is ask people to sign up for
one-dance slots for which they get nothing but satisfaction. These are
often committee members or dance regulars. Everybody's getting more
relaxed about gender balance and cis men are dancing together more often
than they used to, but there's still a little bit of inclination among
some people to take a turn sitting the door if they're in the majority
gender. The signup sheet is visible at the table and if there are a lot
of open slots and people aren't volunteering for them, the current
person sitting out will point out to people coming in the door that
there are slots. We have people sign in (for insurance purposes,
originally) so we can get to a rough idea of how much ought to be in the
box at the end of the evening and there hasn't been a problem with being
way out. (When we had one price it was pretty easy to count the people
on the floor and get pretty close to how it should be.) When I sat the
door at Hayward recently and nobody had signed up to relieve me I asked
someone to ask the caller to announce the openings, but did end up
sitting out two dances rather than one, so it's not perfect.
Berkeley English has sometimes had injured folks who sit the door out of
community spirit when they can't dance or dance much anyway. Sometimes
the evening has started and there's nobody to sit the door, so they
close the box and put it away and then make an announcement at the break
to pay if you haven't. Another English dance recently left their box
(actually a hat) unguarded and somebody walked off with it, so they're
reviewing their procedures.
English dances still tend to make it the manager's responsibility to
babysit the box or find someone to do it; contra dances tend to rely on
community members volunteering as they arrive. Some of those members
are committee members of other dances. None of our local dancers have
more than one person at a time doing it. There's no advance schedule.
We don't really vet the vols but we don't recruit unfamiliar faces to do it.
Shifts now are one dance at a time in general.
Because "pay as you can" lets you dance free if you want, there's no
incentive but community-mindedness to sit the door, so it's usually
familiar faces doing it. Larger dance committees mean there's more
committee members to take a turn but it's not, I think, limited to
Claire's dance is a BACDS dance but anything she says about her dance
supersedes what I've said about BACDS dances in general.
On 12/28/17 11:22 AM, Chrissy Fowler via Organizers wrote:
We're curious about how other dance organizers handle the task of
sitting at the door and taking money.
Who does it?
- a mix?
- how many people at a time?
How is it done?
- scheduling people to do the task (how?)
- vetting/soliciting the vols (any parameters?)
- how long does each person sit at door on a given dance eve?
- any compensation/barter?
Other relevant info?
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