Author Archives: Eva Westheimer

Announcement on Dance Location

ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT DANCE LOCATION FROM THE CONTRA COUNCIL:

It has become clear over the last few weeks that Winchester Thurston is not working out as a home for our dances.  The school recently informed us that we cannot hold dances in the gym at all during their basketball season, which is a big chunk of the year.  The other spaces available at the school are too small or otherwise unsuitable as a permanent location for us.  This is disappointing, especially since we were very upfront about the effects of dancing feet on a polished floor before we agreed to the arrangement.

We are working now to find a stable, long-term solution for our dance venue and will share information as we investigate options. We want to be as transparent as possible with the community about this process. Please get in touch with the contra council if you have any suggestions or leads on potential venues.  Email us at pittsburghcontradance@gmail.com or call us at (412) 945-0554.

We want to emphasize that our dances will continue.  Right now there’s a question of where our dances will find their home, but this community surely will continue to come together to share dancing and music.  We are trying hard to minimize the confusion caused by changes in location so that coming together to dance is as easy as possible for everyone.  Please sign up for our weekly emails, if you haven’t already, you can do so here http://eepurl.com/bO9PaT, or check our website (pittsburghcontra.org) or our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pittsburghcontra/) for updates about dance location and scheduling.

FUTURE DANCES:

For December, it is confirmed that dances will be held every Saturday: For the 9th, the 23rd and the 30th at the dance studio at Winchester Thurston.  The Holiday Ball on Saturday the 16th will be held at the Swisshelm Park Community Center (1050 Windermere Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15218).

For January and February, we are working to arrange to hold dances on Friday nights in the small room at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland, which is where the Fall Dance Weekend is held (419 S Dithridge St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213).  This plan is not yet confirmed–we will keep the community informed about developments.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the contra council.  We are sorry that our dance life is a little out of rhythm right now, but we hope to be back in step together as soon as possible.

Planning meeting for FDW 2018

Please join us on Sunday, October 8th as we begin to plan our Pittsburgh Fall Dance Weekend 2018. Join us to discuss which bands and callers we’d like to invite for the wonderful weekend of dancing.

During the meeting we will take suggestions on bands and callers that we think would make a great weekend of dancing. After receiving feedback and input, the Contra Council will follow up with our list of possible bands and callers to make a fantastic line up (making sure to balance styles of bands and callers)!

Potluck dinner to follow.
207 S Aiken Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

A little more about our process:

Community planning meeting for the 2018 Fall Dance Weekend

Three-stage process for selection of bands and callers:

First stage—idea generation.  The first stage will involve participants making suggestions about the bands and callers they would like to perform at the 2018 Fall Dance Weekend.  Participants may have specific bands and/or callers in mind, or they may describe general musical preferences (for example, old time, modern or jazz-influenced), calling preferences or other considerations that are important to them (for example, thoughtful matching of bands and callers or a having variety of musical styles).  The goal of the first stage discussion will be to generate lists of possible bands and callers.

Second stage—voting.  The second stage will involve identifying the community’s preferences for possible bands and callers by using “dot-voting.”  Dot-voting (voting with dot stickers) is a method of consensus decision-making in which participants vote on their chosen options using a limited number of dot stickers.

Dot-voting involves the following steps:

  • Participants are each given a set number of dot stickers.
  • Participants place stickers next to the options presented that they like (they may place any number of their dots on any number of the options).
  • Options with the most dots at the end of the voting “win.”

The benefits of dot-voting as a method of decision-making include the following:

  • It is a quick and simple method for finding the priorities of the community in a long list of options.
  • It allows participants to express a preference for more than one option at the same time.
  • It leverages the collective wisdom of the community and provides an equal way for all voices in the community to be heard.
  • Since the community’s most-preferred bands and callers may turn out to be unavailable for the 2018 Fall Dance Weekend, it is important for the contra council members to understand the community’s preferences generally and not just to have “top choices” that may be unworkable.

Third stage—booking (occurs after the community planning meeting).  The third stage will involve contra council members reaching out to the community’s preferred bands and callers to check their availability for the 2018 Fall Dance Weekend and then officially booking bands and callers.

News from the Community Meeting

News from the Community Meeting:  We’re moving?! We’re moving! At our June community meeting we discussed many important things such as what we’ve accomplished over the last year, volunteer roles, and mostly about our need to find a new venue and our research thus far.

We have been looking into moving dance venues for some time now to make the dance more accessible to people who do not have cars and to address parking issues.  After much research, and feedback from the community meeting we have decided to move our weekly Friday night dances to Winchester Thurston (555 Morewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213). We are very excited to be making this move this summer (more details coming soon about when). There’s a great dance floor (with room for our community to grow), a great connection with the school, accessibility by bus and location near the Universities, a parking lot, and lots more! Keep your ears open for more details coming soon. If you have any questions give us at call at (412) 945-0554 or email us at  info@pittsburghcontra.org.

Contra Dance Community Meeting and Potluck

Please join us for a Pittsburgh Contra Dance Network Community Meeting and Potluck. At the community meeting we will share updates from the past year and seek feedback on important issues within our community. After the community meeting we will share a potluck dinner together. Please bring a dish to share (if you are unable to no worries!), feel free to post in comments what you plan to bring.

When: Sunday, June 4th at 4pm

Where: Gaye and Wayne’s house- 1125 Laclair Street, Pittsburgh, PA

Our agenda will consist of:
-Updates and milestones
-Volunteer opportunities & discussion
-New dance venue search & discussion
-General feedback & discussion
-CDSS Conference

Volunteer

The Pittsburgh Contra Dance Network is 100% volunteer run. Volunteers sit at the desk to welcome dancers, come early to set up, stay late to clean up, help with the sound, and much more. Would you like to become one of these volunteers? We will work with you, your skills, and your availability to determine how your skills can best support our community. Have new ideas? We’re always open and welcome new ideas- so please share with us!

Please fill our this volunteer form: https://goo.gl/forms/tQLx2H0loGYKqwBB3

Or email info@pittsburghcontra.org directly.