The Pasadena Folk Dance Co-op is a non-profit cooperative group where we share the work and fun involved in folk dancing. We have an elected board of directors consisting of: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Representative to the Folk Dance Federation of California South (Federation Rep), Member at large in charge of MCs, and Member at large in charge of publicity. We hold yearly elections for board members every June. Members also share various tasks related to our Friday night gatherings or special events.

Being the MC

Every Friday night we have a volunteer MC who sets up the play list for the evening and keeps the music playing when we need it and stopping when we don’t. Our MC coordinator (currently Rick Cofield) is in charge of scheduling volunteers for the job and training those who don’t yet know how.

You learn how to MC from the MC coordinator or from others who know. It’s not difficult, but below are some notes to help you remember.

  • The Week Before: Obtain the key for the sound cabinet and storage cabinet from the previous Friday’s MC.  
  • The night you MC:  Arrive at the Church early to allow time for setting up. Use your own judgement on how early–a half hour seems good for most.
  • By the end of the night: be sure to hand over the key to the next MC. 

Setting Up

Get out the equipment cart and plug in the main cord. Set up the laptop and turn it on. Set up and plug in the speakers.

There will be a large manila folder in the cabinet containing printed playlists for each night of the current month. (Marshall Cates generates these and puts them in the cabinet.) When the laptop boots up, the Windows Media Player screen should appear with our full dance list in a scrollable pane on the right and a blank playlist on the left. You’ll be creating the playlist for the night by dragging and dropping dances from the full list to the playlist. Once the playlist is done, set up the display boards showing the dance list. (Often someone from the group will volunteer to do this while you’re creating the playlist.)

Creating and Editing the Play List

Drag-and-drop dances (or Request place holders) from the dance folder to the playlist. There is a Request item in the full dance list that you drag over to hold the place where Request is indicated on the printed program.

Re-order play list entries by dragging and dropping within the playlist itself.

To remove an entry from the playlist, right-click it and select “Remove from Play List”.

People will make dance requests by pulling the card for the dance and placing it on the table next to the box of dance cards. Add the dance to the playlist at an appropriate Request slot (see guidelines below.) You can do this while another dance is playing if you take special care:

  • Use the USB mouse not the touchpad
  • Make sure that the mouse has enough open real estate to move without running into the laptop or running off the table.
  • Be clear on where you are dragging from and where you are dropping to.
  • Grasp the mouse and press the left mouse button firmly and don’t release it until you’ve reached your target.

Saving the Play List

Right Click on the top margin of the Windows Media Player window
Select File
Select Save As
Name the play list: month-day-year (Example: 7-3-15 )
Click on Save

Re-Saving the Play List

Right Click on the top margin of the Windows Media Player window
Select File
Select Save

Starting and Stopping the Music

Select the song by clicking on it in the play list. The song that will be played will appear in the left panel of the Media Player window. Click on the (Triangle) icon to start the song. Stop songs with the (square) stop icon.

The list will play the next song automatically. Let it play if people are up and ready to dance, or stop it when they need time to get partners and form sets.

Guidance for Selecting Requested Dances and Adding Them to the Program

On many nights, you can simply add the requested dances in the order they’re requested, but below are some principles to follow to ensure the resulting dance list provides a good balance.

  • Do your best to see that everyone can participate and have a good time: (The printed program is not sacred. You can adjust it to meet the needs of the group.)
  • Try to serve everyone and not to allow any one person to monopolize the dance requests.
  •  Insert easy dances that anyone can do among more difficult dances so that everyone can participate throughout the evening.
  • Insert more difficult dances among the easy dances so that longer term members can enjoy themselves
  • Follow fast dances with slow dances so that people can catch their breath, and follow slow dances with fast dances so that people can get their pulse going again.
  • Avoid following set dances with set dances.
  • Avoid playing too many dances of any one type or ethnicity in a row.
  • Reach out to new people who have previous folk dance experience or who have particular ethnic backgrounds and see if you can add a dance early in the program that might interest them.

Volunteers for special events

Needs for volunteers will be announced when we have special events coming up. Some things that are usually needed are:

  • Someone to coordinate decorating the hall for the event
  • Volunteers to help put up and take down the decorations.
  • A volunteer to set up the refreshment tables and ensure they stay stocked with napkins etc. The refreshment are usually potluck.