Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the way we did it from before I got here in 1985 to about 2008 was:


(Contra dances)

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 community members.

Claire's dance is a BACDS dance but anything she says about her dance supersedes what I've said about BACDS dances in general.

-- Alan
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?

- organizers?

- volunteers?

- a mix?

- nobody?

- 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?

Thanks,
Belfast Flying Shoes board of directors
Belfast, ME


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