Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A New Structure for DANCE QUEENS

A New Structure for DANCE QUEENS 130220

I have taken several weeks off and thought a lot about DANCE QUEENS and where it should go. Let me share with you the direction for the Group as I see it.

First, let me say that this group was started by me and I have been the leader for almost all of its life, but I think many of you have a feeling that you also are a part owner of DANCE QUEENS since it serves the entire dance community and many of you have been involved in some way. I think almost all of us want to see DANCE QUEENS continue and grow in providing information and leadership in dancing.

I have decided to end my role as leader of DANCE QUEENS on March 30. The recent discussion of the Cutie Awards seemed to get stuck on what kind of structure is needed to make them work in 2013. So that structure won't be an issue for the broader DANCE QUEENS Group, I will try to set up a structure for continuing DANCE QUEENS as a resource for dancers in SL. Here is what I hope to accomplish before the end of March.


There is a need for four types of work in DANCE QUEENS. The first is for people to volunteer to manage the information resources that we have developed, for example the list of Dance Makers, the Dance Database, this Website and the Who's Who of Dancing. The second is to continue and extend the educational aspects of DANCE QUEENS. The third is for leadership on what I will call special projects done by DANCE QUEENS, for example, the annual Dance Festival and the Cuties. The fourth is for leadership to point direction and address issues involved with the Group and dancing.

I will describe each in detail, then ask for volunteers to take responsibilities.


For the first area, managing the information sources, we already have some volunteers who help:

  • DANCING VIDEOS AND PHOTOS - Skyspinner Soulstar
  • BLOG COLUMNISTS - Yummy, Diawa Bellic

Here are the additional areas where I am seeking volunteers to manage the information resource and my estimate of the work involved. These are generally non-controversial roles, but do require an ongoing time commitment and posting on the blog the changes.

  • DANCE GROUPS - Keep up to date the list of SL Dance Groups on a once a month basis or when contacted. This takes about 30 minutes a month.
  • DANCE MAKERS AND DANCE EQUIPMENT MAKERS - Keep up-to-date the list of MOCAP Dance Makers, non-MOCAP Dance and Animation Makers, Dance Equipment Makers and the Illegal Dance List. This requires about three hours a month to add new makers and check whether existing makers are still active. There is a bit of controversy concerning illegal dance makers since they sometimes may attack the person who reveals what they are doing.
  • NEW DANCES AND DANCE EQUIPMENT - This requires someone who can join all the MOCAP Dance Maker Groups and report every time a new dance or new/revised dance equipment is released. This takes about 30 minutes a day to post on the blog.
  • DANCE SHOW/GROUP PUBLICITY - This requires posting the announcements of any dance group's performance on the blog as well as keeping the list of dance website updated and takes 0 to 30 minutes a day.
  • DANCE CALENDAR - So far we have not found a solution for this, but there are some ideas if anyone wants to give it a try. It takes maybe 30 minutes a day.
  • DANCE DATABASE - There are over 10,000 dances and animations in the database now which is a Microsoft Access Database. Adding new dances and animations to the database and publishing the data regularly so members can use it can take several hours a week.
  • DANCE CENTRAL - As of March 30 I will no longer host Dance Central on my island and will no longer provide space for dance groups to practice or put on shows. Dance Central needs some attention in terms of what is there but the idea is a good one for showing people equipment, freebies, theaters and many of the tangible things of our virtual dance world.
  • DANCE MISCELLANEOUS - This includes things like keeping updated information on dance costumes and props, managing the distribution of dance freebies, answering questions on the Dance Q&A, updating the Dance Terminology and keeping up-to-date the Who's Who in Dancing. This takes maybe an hour a week.
  • THE WEBSITE AND DAILY NOTICE - This is the main means of communicating with the DANCE QUEENS Group. If there are volunteers to do the items listed above, the main role will be to keep the look of the website fresh and appealing and to organize the and send the Daily Notices. This should take about 30 minutes a day.


One of the things DANCE QUEENS has done is to provide educational help for beginning dancers as well as information on new dance techniques and methods for advanced dancers. Not all of the things listed below have to be done every week or even every month, but to continue this aspect of DANCE QUEENS someone(s) has to feel the responsibility to make something happen. Here is what has been done in the past:

  • DANCE SEQUENCES - This is a teaching tool aimed at beginning dancers and can require two to three hours a week to develop sequences and create the note cards.
  • DANCE CLASSES - We have classes about once a quarter on Freestyle and Sequenced Choreography. We have had classes on many of the types of equipment used, such as the DB System, the DanceMaster and the XPOSE. We have had classes on theatrical productions. The series that Rachael Young is doing now on scripting is another example. All of these classes are aimed at developing or enhancing the skills of dancers in SL. Organizing the classes, developing the content and teaching the classes needs to be managed. This can take several hours when it's done. Also, deciding what classes are needed is part of this role and requires paying attention to new technologies and providing information on them.
  • DANCE DEMONSTRATIONS -  We have had a lot of demonstrations to help dancers see how dancing is done. Examples include Choreography Show I and Choreography Show II in which the details behind the dances were explained by the performers. Also, the series of articles on How to Switch from the Huddles to the Barre HUD and How to Put on a Dance Show are examples. These are specific 'How to ...' examples.
  • THE "HOW TO ..." LIST - The "How To ..." section of the website is intended as a reference section to help get information about specific aspects of dancing. This section needs to be managed and updated.
  • DANCE CURRICULUM - A nascent effort by Barbara Collazo has been made on creating a dance curriculum to have on-going classes. 

Right now there are two obvious special projects a year: the Dance Festival and the Cuties. Both require a tremendous amount of effort to make happen, a lot of organizational skill and some financial resources. If DANCE QUEENS wants one or both of these to continue (or any other special projects) leadership for the project needs to step forward. In late March I will contribute 30,000 Lindens to the DANCE QUEENS Group as a way to help pay for the effort for this year.

There are some less obvious Special Projects, for example, the Comparison of Dance HUDs and the Comparison of System-Wide Dance Systems. These types of projects require not only organizational skills but also technical skills. An example of a need that exists right now is a comparison of SL movement and positioning systems.
Again, leadership is needed to make any of these types of special projects work.


Just about everything that I have described above involves completing a set of tasks that are defined already or can be redefined. These are all important, but not enough for DANCE QUEENS to survive. Leadership with a vision of where the organization is going is needed. Let me list some of the things that DANCE QUEENS has accomplished or had a role in making happen:
  • Dance times on almost all MOCAP dances
  • Collaboration of dance groups
  • MOCAP Dance Makers seeking input from DANCE QUEENS members
  • Raising the bar on performance by showing the work of different groups
These things are not my accomplishment alone. Many people have contributed to this. There is no inner circle or core group in DANCE QUEENS. These things have happened because of ideas that others have had that they shared with me or my own ideas. Ideas have come by IM, note card, through surveys and many more ways.

There has to be continued leadership not just to manage the information, education and special projects, but also to provide vision of where we should go to make dancing more fun in SL. To me this is the most challenging part of DANCE QUEENS, but also the most rewarding. This is where a difference can be made.


The structure that we will have for DANCE QUEENS will be two parts. One is an elected leadership and the other is volunteer managers.


There will be a three-person leadership group. The three leaders will be responsible for the vision and overall management of the DANCE QUEENS Group, i.e. the three Nottoos. These three people are the decision-makers. I think there is a way to turn over all the DANCE QUEENS controls to these three leaders. They will make decisions as a group and use voting if consensus cannot be reached.

Anyone who is a member of DANCE QUEENS can run for a leadership position. If you are interested in being one of the three Leaders, send your name, a 50 word or less bio, and a 50 word or less vision of what you want to accomplish to me by 12 noon February 28. If there are not at least three people interested in being a leader, we will continue DANCE QUEENS without vision or leadership. It will be clear to me that the interest in DANCE QUEENS is not sufficient to keep it alive. If there are more than three people interested in being a Leader, we will have an election where each DANCE QUEENS member gets one vote and the top three vote getters become the Leaders. Voting will be set up similarly to the Cutie Award voting using an eight digit number and I will ask Xandi Mars to help. If there are exactly three people wanting to be a Leader, they will be elected unanimously without a vote. Any election will be completed by March 9. Leaders are elected for one year terms.


If you want to help but do not want to be a Leader, you can be a Volunteer Manager. Choose an area from the descriptions above on Managing the Information Resources, Managing Dance education and Managing Special projects and tell me what you want to do by March 9.


Between March 9 and March 30 I will train all Volunteer Managers and have any discussions with the Leaders that they desire. On March 31 the Leaders are in charge and the Managers can make things happen in their area of responsibility. At this point I will become a silent member of DANCE QUEENS and will be available only to provide technical know-how if needed.


I am not asking for input on the structure that I describe above. After March 31 the Leaders can make structural changes, but the only requirement is that any structural changes made in 2013 must be approved by a vote by the DANCE QUEENS members.


I am stopping as the leader of DANCE QUEENS because it just is too much to do and no longer fun for me. Like you, I am here for fun and when the fun stops, it's time to do something else.

I have lots of friends in DANCE QUEENS and I really hope the Group continues. It's up to you.