Testimonial #1 from POTD2, Ottawa, ON, March 20-22, 2015

Spoken at the conference:
“Wow. …Wow.”
~ David Smukler, Syracuse Country Dancers, NY


Buzz about the first POTD, White River Junction VT, November 11-13, 2011

Conferees offered these perspectives as part of the evaluation process–irrefutable evidence that regional conferences for dance organizers serve a vital purpose.

“Puttin’ On the Dance was a transforming experience for me. The feeling of bonding and mutual support with other organizers has me energized for the next phase in the life of our dance. I have new ideas about how to find and develop volunteers, and new ideas about how to help attendees develop a love for our dance. At a time when my energies were flagging, I find that I’ve come back home full of ideas and energy. Most of all, my belief that this work is important has been validated many times over.”
~ Lisa Sieverts, Nelson Dance & Monadnock Folklore Society, NH

“The Puttin’ On the Dance conference was superbly organized. Workshops/discussions were held in most areas that organizers need help with. The ideas that we shared flowed throughout the weekend. This is something we have needed for many years, and I hope we can keep the discussion going through the listserve and future conferences!”
~ Paul Rosenberg, DanceFlurry Organization’s Family Dance and Community Barn Dance, NY

“It was fascinating to find that series are so different but yet share so many of the same needs and are facing so many of the same issues. I found learning how other groups have organized themselves and have attacked problems / opportunities to be hugely valuable; I plan to steal shamelessly. I also found after thinking myself “alone” for years is that I’m indeed a member of a supportive, larger, like-minded ‘organizer community’.”
~ Rob Lindauer, Jr., Hartford Community Dance, CT

“It was a fantastic opportunity to learn and share wisdom and challenges with other dance organizers and help/encourage CDSS to become an even more effective resource so that there will be more people enjoying dancing and more thriving dances. I’d happily go to the next one.”
~ John Gintell, LCFD Boston Gender Free Contras & Gender Free English, MA

“Puttin’ On the Dance Conference confirmed that our dance group is doing many things right. I came away energized and ready to make a good dance series even better.”
~ Susan Bunting, Peterborough English Country Dancers, ON

“This conference rekindled my enthusiasm and commitment for bringing more life and involving more people in our dance community to help keep it healthy and to attract more members as well as to offer ideas on creating a vision that will help sustain this for the future. As a dance leader, organizer, dancer and budding musician, this conference gave me a deep appreciation, a respect and most importantly, a real visible and meaningful value to all the work we do to help create a vibrant dance community, which is sometimes easy to take for granted when you’ve done it for so long. So often, we are like silos, creating our magic in individual communities. It was wonderful to be able to bring all these wonderful silos together to help create the bigger picture, the magic that will help us keep dancing alive, diverse and full of life for generations to come.”
~ Chris Ricciotti, LCFD Boston Gender Free Contras, MA

“This conference was an incredible space for thinking- about what we do, what we do well, what we could do better, why we do what we do, who we do it for, and how we can continue to spread the joy and excitement of dance. I left the conference feeling supported, appreciated, and rejuvenated; making our dance more successful is now something palpable and exciting, not something abstract and overwhelming.”
~ Catherine Elliott, Bates College Freewill Folk Society, ME

“It was a blast to be with so many like-minded people and learn so many new tricks to improve our dance back home.”
~ Steve Hoffman, Woodstock 3rd Friday Community Dance, VT

“It was a great opportunity to mine the collective wisdom and experience of other organizers, and to be reminded that many of us are struggling with the same issues.”
~ Robert Coren, LFCD Boston Gender Free Contras & Gender Free English, MA

“Without a doubt, this was the most energizing, informative, productive, and fun conference that I have ever attended. My husband and I went to different sessions, and we compared notes and talked about what we had learned all the way home. After seven hours of enthusiastic discussion in the car, we still weren’t finished! Thank you so much for the thoughtful planning and amazing organization that created this remarkable conference.”
~ Peggy Dempsey, Country Dancers of Rochester, NY

“Dance organizers are a diverse lot, with unique circumstances and experience in their own dances. A three day immersion in 78 sets of histories, experiences, problems, solutions, methods — and wisdom — is invaluable. Organizing a dance series is an act of singular optimism, caring, and energy. The conference reflects all these many times over for the organizer. To work with, talk with, think with all these generous people is to be spiritually refreshed both as a person and an organizer.”
~ Mac Sloan, NEFFA Thursday Night Dance Committee, MA

“I had high expectations of POTD which were all surpassed. From the ideas generated, community building, and creative synergism, to the great socializing, dancing and abundant fun, it was an energizing weekend that’s certain to have a positive impact on the dance community!!”
~ Suzanne Elliott, Rehoboth Dance, MA

“Thank you for a memorable experience. This was a great conference: fun, informative, and inspiring; everyone was taken to a higher level by the magic of multiple perspectives.”
~ John Schenkel, Adirondack English Country Dancers, NY and Across the Lake, VT

“I had previously underestimated the re-energizing element of being with so many enthusiastic dance organizers all at once. The opportunities to participate in many great educational sessions in which I could learn and share with others, without reinventing the wheel, were worth their weight in gold. I’d have to say the most overwhelming and exciting thing I learned at the Puttin’ on the Dance conference was through doing. Doing what? Deepening the community commitment through getting together to do more than dance. While dance is the beginning, the middle, and the end, the POTD conference helped me realize that creating and enhancing the spaces in between will help strengthen the dance community on the whole. … Oh, and did I mention that it was great FUN too! Thank you!”
~ Kim Roberts, Farmington Dance and DownEast Friends of the Folk Arts, ME

“This weekend provided us all with so much food for thought, ideas to try out, support from peers, and lots of fun. Oh, if only every conference I attended were so thoughtfully organized!”
~ David Millstone, Northern Spy Contra Dance, Norwich VT ECD, & Strafford Ball, and CDSS Board Member, NH

“A wealth of information, contacts, advice, reinforcement…all rolled up into one fun & incredibly organized weekend!”
~ Jean Monroe, Harvard Square ECD, MA

“Note to any dance organizer wavering on whether to attend this workshop:  As an attendee at the workshop in the northeast, I can assure you this will be a most valuable experience, worth the time, effort, and cost. The conference is very thoughtfully designed with useful discussions and exercises to capture group thinking. It will provide valuable organizational skills and shared experience by other organizers.”
~ Bob Henshaw, Old Songs Contra Dances & Dance Flurry Festival, NY

“This was undoubtedly the BEST and most amazing conference I have ever attended! My head is swimming with ideas to share and put into action. Kudos to the organizers, course leaders and all the participants. The workshops were inspiring, the games that pushed us to think were innovative and location was perfect.”
~ Sharon Schenkel, Adirondack English Country Dancers, NY and Across the Lake, VT

“One could not create a weekend that was more full of interesting, helpful discussion covering topics as varied as “what is involved in running the sound board” to “how do you attract people to your event.” The setting, a wonderful, a quirky, beautiful, old hotel loaded with other like minded joyful dancers and wonderful Contra Dances both evenings… This is an event that can truly be treasured.”
~ Alex Mann, Annual Old Fashioned Belfast Ball & Belfast Flying Shoes Dance Series, ME

“Vision, mission, action. Thanks to this conference, I now have new ideas for the future of my dance. What would dancers do without CDSS? Thanks CDSS for the grant that made the conference possible, and to all the sponsors for the scholarships that allowed more participants to come. Many, many thanks to the organizers of the conference. The conference was well-planned, well run, and very informative. It was much more useful than the conferences that I have attended for my day job. I gained insight as to how to run a dance and also gleaned numerous ideas for making my dance more attractive to more people. It was also of great benefit to meet with other organizers and hear what they do at their dances. The sharing of problems and solutions was of great value. I am meeting with my advisers soon to tell them about the conference and to discuss the many ideas from the conference for running the dance better and increasing attendance. There is a lot to talk about (social media, press releases, greetings, incentives….) and one evening will probably not be enough. The Puttin on the Dance conference has been very useful and I would encourage organizers around the country to attend such a conference near them.”
~ Alice Morris, Londonderry Dance, NH

“What an incredible job you did. I was blown away! Thanks many times over for the most awesome conference. I might even call it a life-changing experience. It’s even inspired me to head in a different direction work-wise.”
~ Emily Addison, Ottawa Contra Dance, ON

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