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  7:30 North Adams MA Mass MoCA Mass MoCA $10 Adults
$6 Kids

This page is maintained for historical reasons to provide prospective dancers an approximate idea of the conditions to expect.

Saturday, March 11, 2000, Ballroom. There was dance lessons from 7:30 until 8:00 and dancing until 10:00 p.m. 

The weather turned bad with snow and rain.  The final sales figure was 305 tickets.  A conservative estimate is that about 250 people showed up.  Dance conditions were moderately crowded. Judging by the actual dancing, the opportunity to dance was as high as 65% to 85%.  The Gerard Carelli Orchestra was excellent; they played two 45 minute sets with more dance instruction by Paula Kurman between sets.   Paula's instruction was wonderful.  We had a good time thanks, in part, to bad weather.  The lower turn-out enabled a greater opportunity for participation for those who braved the weather.
MassMoCA's target was 500 people.   Under those circumstances, dance conditions would have been much more limited and conditions quite crowded. Assuming only half the people are dancing at one time, 2500 square feet of dance floor space (see below) computes to only 4'x5' per couple for dancing - moderately crowded conditions for spot dances - inadequate space for traveling dances - so the opportunity to dance will be less than 50% when the sales target is met.

As a result of our experience with the Swing Dance, I sent an email to MassMoCA to inquire about the format of this dance.  I included copies of my earlier complaint and MassMoCA's previous reply.  I  was contacted by Jonathan Secor, Director of Performing Arts.  He said that there would be more space than they had for the Swing Dance, that three quarters of the space would be available for dancing with a smaller stage, bleacher seats on the sides, and food and drink at the very back.  Subsequently he emailed me stating: "We will have 2500 sq. ft of clear dance area." 2500 sq. ft. is enough space for about 100 couples to dance spot dances such as Mambo, Cha-Cha, Salsa, Rumba, etc., with moderate space, or about 75 couples to do the Waltz, Foxtrot, or Tango, etc..  Perhaps this will be worth checking out.  I asked:

What format do you plan for this dance?  What number of attendees do you plan for, and what percentage will be able to dance at the same time? Will the evening be taken up mostly with a show, or will the MAJORITY of attendees be able to dance comfortably at the same time?  Jonathan replied:

This event will not be about the "performers", as there are none. We will do 1/2 hr of dance instruction at the beginning of the evening (7:30 to 8pm). We will then have two hours of dancing to some amazing bands.

I would love to go 4 hours of straight dancing, but unfortunately because of the quality of the bands that we hire, the cost is prohibitive.  I have also discovered over the last 6 months that [our] audience is heading for the door at 10pm no matter how good the event is, as this is still very much a small town.

MassMoCA dance description: The smooth sounds of the Gerard Carelli Orchestra will make you swoon - and waltz, fox trot, peabody, and cha cha cha. Impress a date and learn the basics of ballroom dancing while you strut your stuff to a rousing big band. Dance instruction courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Tickets $10 adults/$6 kids

A copy of my earlier complaint:

If you advertise it as a DANCE, there should be room for most of the participants to be comfortably dancing throughout the evening. If you plan to have the evening filled with demonstration events and a dance floor too small for the MAJORITY of attendees to be dancing at the same time, advertise it as a SHOW or an EVENT, but NOT as a DANCE. I maintain a web-site dedicated to ballroom dancing, where the activity is primarily dancing, not being a spectator. We were VERY upset and disappointed. We gave up going to a perfectly good ballroom dance we know to try out your advertised swing dance; we were quite reasonable in our expectations to be able to dance swing, fox-trot, and waltz for most dances most of the evening. Granted, this was your first attempt, but, if you want to err on the tighter side, yours will not be the place for ballroom dancing, swing or any other kind.

A copy of MassMoCA's earlier reply:

You're right, it was crowded. As you may know, the event was scheduled for Courtyard D, which accommodates a dancing crowd of 800 with ease. When the rain -- which was forecast to pass through our area by mid-day -- failed to leave, we quickly moved the party inside at 600pm. Other events required the half-floor set-up.

We were shocked by the turnout. 150 reserved in advance. 650 showed up. Industry standards would say that a low-cost event like the dance might get a doubling of the advance reservations, but not a quadrupling. Nevertheless, the response was extraordinarily positive, and we've received over 50 letters and emails asking us to repeat the event. And next time, we'll make more room! (Though for last week's square dance, we made a large dance floor, and it turned out to be a tad too large to feel energetic. I'd rather err on the side of tighter, and action-filled.)  (my italics)


Friday, June 25, 1999,  Swing. We went to this dance to check it out.  It was fixedly NOT SUITABLE for ballroom dancing.  A large room was about 75% filled with bleachers. The stage took up half the rest.  The crowd was 650 strong.  The dance area was extremely tiny in proportion to the number of people.  Moreover, the event was more staged with a program than open for dancing.  There was room for less than 5% of the people to dance in very crowded conditions.  If you like crowds and watching the action, you might enjoy this programmed arrangement.  But, if you want to do ballroom dance - swing, foxtrot, waltz, etc., this is NOT the place to be.

This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2017-09-17 at 03:21 and has been accessed 5289 times at 19 hits per month.