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Ballroom Dance

J M (Mike) Nelson
Phone: 612-810-0157

Selection Policies

A critical aspect at any dance is the music, yet many venues seem to give it little attention in relation to its impact on the dance. Having an association with almost a dozen organizations, groups, and clubs that sponsor "variety" ballroom dances, and being of the sort to collect, compare, and contrast data, I have a few observations and recommendations. The information discussed here was collected from venues in central Minnesota, predominantly, but not limited to, the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, and Houston, Texas.

Variety Dance. If you purport a "variety dance," know what you mean by "variety." Some contacts, when asked, couldn't even describe the scope of their music, others used dates, such as "50's and 60's," some said "mostly rock," and others listed some of the American smooth and rhythm dances. Some simply said "ballroom variety." I gravitated toward the latter; even so, my experiences were varied.

One venue I tracked for over a year had a tendency to allow a few members to dominate the music. The music was unpredictable; any weekend could be dominated by whatever dance style the leadership for that particular evening wanted. This unpredictability led me to abandon that venue, friendliness and convenience notwithstanding. Another, a favorite despite their bias, clearly advertised "ballroom and Latin." They kept their word with a good variety dance mix that was about 50% latin. Two other venues purporting "variety ballroom" also provided an equitable mix.

Unfortunately, most venues had no clear guidelines, and guidelines are important. With so many dance styles available, an equitable mix would mean only one song per hour for most styles. Most venues limit the play list to some extent, and some limit it extensively; thus, there is a covert "policy," awareness notwithstanding. Considering the inherent constraints imposed by any selection strategy, whether deliberate or not, the proprietors should be able to articulate their policy for creating their play list, for, just like your local library, overtly or covertly, there is a "selection policy." Dance Home Page Dance Curriculum Dance Articles

Copyright (c) 2006, J. M. Nelson. All rights reserved. Reproduction of contents prohibited without prior permission from the author.