As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
One of the considerations is, "Would someone from Boston drive out there for dancing?" I've encountered Bostonians at major swing venues like Hartford Swing Dance in Hartford, Connecticut. On second Saturdays, I know a lot of dancers drive out to the Longfellow Dance Club in Wayland, MA (close to I-495) for West Coast Swing dancing.
At the same time, I feel that Bostonians are less likely to drive outside the city for dancing, though the people in the burgs will drive in for dancing. Dom V and His Swing Out Big Band got a great turnout at the Arlington Town Hall while his gig at the Winchester Town Hall got less than a sellout crowd and the two locations are only a couple of miles apart.
Sure, some venues get listed anyways, like the Connecticut Swing Dance Society because they're a sponsor of this website and they're a member-run, member-oriented club, and they're one of the Big Three in Connecticut. Hooked on Swing Society in Northampton should probably get their big monthly dances listed in the Boston calendar too. However, everyone else will have to demonstrate they're actually a major swing dance venue that draws Bostonians in order to get listed in the Boston calendar...something on the order of one of the Boston Swing Dance Network dances.
For those of you outside the immediate Boston area, note that the Massachusetts page was broken up into four regions so that people living in those outlying areas won't have to sort through a state's worth of information to find nearby dancing. This is intended to help the local venues attract more dancers and help me figure out which areas deserve more attention.
Note that I started that newsletter (and this website) on my own as a side activity to let my new dance friends know about the cool places to dance so that I could find friendly faces at those venues. The newsletter is mine and there's no one else who works on it. That the case since I started it 9 years ago. When I took over the Boston Swing Dance Society in 1993 (when my 2 co-conspirators bailed), I associated the newsletter with the organization to show that the organization was doing something. Even after bringing in other people to run the group, I was the only one to work on the electronic newsletter. When there was an issue on the independence of the printed newsletter, I decided to pack up my toys and find a better playground.
As an independent, there is a great sense of freedom in that failure or success is not dependent on a committee. The newsletter and the website both remain editted by one person who retains complete editorial control over content. Since I have no advertisers to worry about and am not in the dance business, there's no one who has any real influence on either publication. Even my website sponsors have no control over the content. They've just covered the costs of running this website on an ISP. And I don't have to argue with any co-workers.
The existence of DanceNet in its various forms is not tied to the existence of any organization or business. The newsletter and website will continue as long as I am interested in dance.
Never mind. I thought I had an interesting Soapbox for this week, but I just realized that it was more or less a repeat of something I wrote back last year, so never mind.
I did, however, originally have a dilemma over a workshop that some local teachers are going to give. I had no problems announcing it, but I was pretty sure I didn't want to list it in the calendar and wasn't sure why. Even listing it on the events page didn't seem right, even though I had done it before.
The special announcements were intended for one-shot events (once a year or so special that it felt like once a year) that might be of interest to a wide variety of people. They might even attract local dancers who hadn't been getting out on the floor in a while. This policy would typically include teachers (and, I suppose, bands, too) from around the country or from overseas. It was not intended as a showcase for local talent that might give an occasion (non-regular) workshop. I didn't like that, all things being equal, they might be given an advantage over other local teachers. How "special" are they, really? As it is in other areas, familiarity breeds complacency in dancers and I would imagine that if I see people who dance socially in the local area, they lose that "professional" status with me, even when they're extremely talented and good friends. They're just another local teacher. Of course, every teacher is a local teacher *somewhere*. I just don't think of them as something special if I see them all the time and hang out with them.
Anyways, I feel that local teachers have a valuable advantage in that have access to a large local network of dancers that visiting teachers don't have and that I don't need to do much more than announce these local workshops. Some of the local teachers are starting to "pre-announce" their workshops in hope of pre-empting others from holding a workshop that same day or weekend. That's fine, but if someone decides to bring in someone from the outside for a workshop (especially if it's a *Name*), there's not much anyone can or should do about it. It's a rare situation where a national *name* doesn't trump a local name in a particular dance form, regardless of talent; sad but true. We should allow the free market to prevail, even if the market can't support two workshops on the same weekend.
I'll admit that Sommer Gentry and Dorry Segev's special November 19th day of workshops and dance made me think of this week's Soapbox. However, this is a policy that I think that I will continue to follow across the board for all teachers who clearly have a locally recognized "professional" status. Local teachers giving special workshops is "news", for which this website was created; they're just not "front page news". Considering the readership of this website and which pages they read, the local teachers have no reason to be concerned about this policy.
P.S. Those websites that require special downloads should check whether or not those websites can be viewed on specific machines with those special applications. For instance, some website *require* Macromedia's free Flash player. While Flash Player is supported on Linux and Solaris (24-bit color only), I wonder if Flash can be used on HPUX or AIX machines...and I know there are alot of those.