Since you're here (first post, yes!!) you probably know something about us already, but I'll give you the most salient details real quick like: we formed as a contra dance trio 4 years ago (2009) in Illinois, played a lot, and now we have to turn down good gigs all over the country. The three of us had a dream and know we're living it! However, we had to figure it all out on our own and now, over the course of this blog, I'm going to reveal all our SECRETS!! (Yes!)
But why, you ask? "What is your motivation, Dr. Ben?"
It is manifold, but the foremost items are: I want to dance to more exciting bands, I want the contra scene to be burgeoning all over the country, and I want to save you time! There were so many things we did that I feel would have been so easy if someone had already written this blog. But alas, no one did.
You came to the right place if you're interested in playing for contras, making your band all it can be, taking your band as far as it can go, or just knowing more about what bands do!
The real "secrets" will be forthcoming but before we get there I want to lay a few foundational points on you:
- As we started to get national gigs (the first time someone flew us to a camp!) I was asking the band "What did we do right? How did we get here? Could we do it again?" Between the three of us we've played in dozens of contra dance groups. How did this one take off? The final word is: we don't really know. Luck? Fortune? Fate? But everything we can point to as leading to success I will try and detail here.
- Will it work for you? I don't know. Somethings are too complex for us to simply extract and transpose to a new situation. I sincerely hope the ideas in this blog will inspire you to find ways forward that work for you, and if they parallel our steps, that's great. But maybe they won't, and if we still meet on the dance floor then it's all good!
- Clear on the Goal: one thing I really don't want to do is cause inter-band strife. So here's the first point of advice: talk with your band-mates and work out what your vision, goals, mission as a band is. This is key. Without a consensus on this you will have issues all along and much unhappiness may occur. Once you know what you're interested in doing you can start identifying clear ways to accomplish it. If you're group only wants to play regional gigs that's great! If you only want to play once a month, that's great too! If you want to play 52 weekends across the country every year... well, you've got your work cut out for you! In every case I think there'll be something here for you.
I look forward to reading your comments and continuing the dialog of music for contra dancing (in a web 2.0 kinda way)!