Update from the G.O.D.S. Board
August 2022

G.O.D.S. — how we got here

Our last in-person dance was on March 1, 2020 (caller John Rogers with the band Loco-Motion — held at the Thelma Boltin Center). Soon afterwards, as COVID-19 was rapidly closing down things everywhere, we were among the earliest groups in the country to suspend our dance. For the next 6 months or so, we, like other groups in the country, had Zoom get togethers – mixed programs which included dancing at home – usually to live calling & often to live music as well. These were the best alternative, were fun, but the appeal of the ‘Zooms’ eventually faded and they were discontinued. The 2020-2021 Board of Directors, in place at the time, made the decision in late 2020 to continue the suspension of dancing into 2021. In mid 2021, as the COVID vaccine began making conditions safer, the Board reconsidered the question of returning to in-person dancing. But then, the state law banning businesses (including non-profits) from requiring proof-of-vaccination from its participants went into effect on July 1, 2021. The law applied (and still applies) to G.O.D.S., since we are a non-profit corporation (under section 501c3 of the IRS code). We are a registered corporation in the state of Florida. The Board decided that without being able to require that attendees be vaccinated, we were not providing the safe environment that we wanted. A new G.O.D.S. Board was seated in September of 2021, and it reaffirmed the previous Board’s decision to not resume in-person dancing. That’s where we are now (as of August 2022).

It’s been a choice…
Providing a safe environment for our dancers is of utmost importance to us. Our view has been that having only fully vaccinated dancers is a key element of providing that safe environment. The decision to not resume in-person dancing has been just that — a decision. The last two G.O.D.S. Boards have concurred. Not being able to require proof of vaccination has been a major factor. A different makeup of our Board could well come to a different decision.

Our process…
Our Board decisions are made democratically. There are no superior board seats, and no lesser seats on the G.O.D.S. Board. The views and decisions of each and every board member are valued. All voices have equal weight — and all points of view are welcome. We try to not bring our personal agendas into our decision making. Hopefully our decisions represent the prevailing views and feelings of our dance community. Most often this is a subjective process, reiterating that a different makeup of the Board could well reach a different decision. The Board (hopefully) represents you. You are the dance community…and the Board only exists to serve you.

Important…
If you feel that your point of view is not being represented currently – or that decisions of the Board are NOT properly reflecting the view of our dance community, then I strongly urge you to consider serving on the Board where you can provide your input.

The survey shows…
We had a very good response to our recent survey. It’s clear that we all miss dancing. What’s not so clear is how we set about doing that again. Slightly more (but definitely a majority) of us would return to the dance floor only if proof of being fully vaccinated is a requirement of attending. But, a smaller, though significant, number of us say that having such a requirement would keep us away. Given that we cannot please everyone, how do we best appeal to both those that want to dance again with NO restrictions or precautions, and those that want to dance again ONLY IF proof-of-full-vaccination and/or other precautions are mandated? Either way, it will affect attendance, which affects the economics of putting on a dance…and also it affects the harmony of our dance community. We really want to bring our dance community back together, while not creating divisiveness.

A fish story…Dancing Fish that is…
The Dancing Fish of Lake Santa Fe (Dancing Fish for short) in Melrose resumed hosting dances in early 2022. In response to a few questions, Dancing Fish and G.O.D.S. have collaborated over the years in putting on some dance events, but Dancing Fish is a separate, private entity with its own governance and organizational structure. Dancing Fish is totally separate from G.O.D.S. Florida’s law banning vaccine mandates is directed specifically at businesses, not private entities. This year, the Dancing Fish has had a solid schedule of dance events, with quality callers and bands, in a fine facility. Dancing Fish, as well, has maintained a strong COVID protocol for its dances.

The Boltin Center…
Most of you probably know that the city-owned Thelma Boltin Center, our home dance venue for many years, is going to be rebuilt. It will not be available again until the new structure is in place, which could be a couple of years. The City has been accepting community input into the design of the new building — and G.O.D.S, as a long-time user/renter of the facility, had the opportunity to give such input. Some of the major items on our request list included a larger-than-before main dance area (ballroom), a proper dance floor/surface, a suitable stage, built-in sound system (one that meets our needs though), some requests for lighting, fans, etc (and a number of additional items).

Re-energizing our volunteers…
JoLaine and Barry were this year’s Selection Committee. They put together a slate of Board candidates for the 2022-2023 Board of Directors/Steering Committee [which was elected and seated in September ’22].

Meanwhile…
In the meantime, our current Board continues to organize for when we do resume in-person dancing. Our goal is to have as many of the pieces in place as possible for the new Board. These pieces include:
— finishing our compilation of previous callers and bands along with their contact information.
— continuing to look for a new talent booker (or two) to replace Steve Chesson, who retired from the job during Covid after many years of doing a great job. [In September ’22, JoLaine volunteered to take the position and is now the G.O.D.S. talent coordinator].
—continuing to look for a new sound tech, since it looks like our previous sound tech will not be available. Do you know someone? Do you want to learn?
— continue to follow up on leads for possible venues. We have some possibilities – but we want to consider all reasonable options. Other places have been investigated, but have been dropped from our list of possibilities for various reasons. Our list has included at one time or the other the city-owned Mlk Rec Ctr & Westside Rec Ctr, the city-owned Rosa B Williams Ctr, United Church of Gainesville, the local Elk’s lodge, the outdoor pavilion at the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center, the local senior center, the local women’s club. We continue to get good leads & will follow up on all. Currently these include a local school, a club, and a privately-owned dance facility.

Comments or questions? Please let us know.
dancewithgods@gmail.com

On behalf of the G.O.D.S. Board of Directors…
Al Rogers

G.O.D.S. Board of Directors (Steering Committee) 2021 – 2022:
□ Deni Breckenridge
□ Aerin Brown (Secretary)
□ Christine Bruels (Treasurer)
□ Judy McKendrick (Vice President/Co-convener)
□ Al Rogers (President/Convener)
□ Pete Turner (non-board Assistant Treasurer)
——
[G.O.D.S. Board of Directors (Steering Committee) 2022 – 2023 here]
________________________________________________________

Dancing With the G.O.D.S. 2023 Cancelled*
[* normally would have been held Feb 24-26, 2023]

Please continue to check our website here, our Facebook page, & our Google group (email list) for announcements about the eventual resumption of our dances.
________________________________________________________

G.O.D.S. In-person Dances Cancelled Indefinitely

April 20, 2020

Dear Dance Community,

With heavy hearts and leaden feet, we regretfully announce that all in-person events of the Gainesville Oldtime Dance Society (G.O.D.S.) are cancelled indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this time, we do not know when we will be able to resume our dances. We will follow health and scientific guidance from local, state, and federal sources in scheduling any event. Additionally, we must await the re-opening of Gainesville city buildings for larger events, with no physical distancing requirements, prior to resuming G.O.D.S. dances.

In the meantime, please continue to check our website, our Facebook page, and our Google group (email list) for announcements of virtual events and the eventual resumption of our dances.

We also encourage all members of our community to join the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) in alternative events that will bring us together through song and dance, even if not in person. Please check the CDSS’s calendar for a variety of activities that are accessible to the whole family!

We hope to see y’all on the dance floor again soon!

Regards,

Christine Bruels

[Sent on behalf of the G.O.D.S. Board of Directors]

2020-2021 Board:
Deni Breckenridge, Aerin Brown, Christine Bruels, Cayley Buckner, Mary McClead, Judy McKendrick, Mike Randall, Diane Schulbach, and Pete Turner 


Come experience old-time dancing with the G.O.D.S. — the Gainesville Oldtime Dance Society! Contra dancing is aerobic social dancing to live music. There is no need to bring a partner — everyone is encouraged to find a new partner for each dance. Our inclusive group of experienced dancers always aim to be good hosts. Check out our calendar for when & where we are having our upcoming dances. We would love to see you there!


OUR NEXT IN-PERSON DANCE EVENT:
TBA

UPCOMING:
TBA


About contra dancing and our dances:
• Contra dancing is energetic, social dancing that’s fun for everyone (all ages are welcome) and no partner is necessary.
No experience is necessary. Contra dances are taught, walked through, & called. If you are new, please come to the beginner lesson (workshop) that begins about 15 minutes before the dance.
• The music is live.
No special dress is required. Wear comfortable, casual attire & clean, soft-soled shoes.
Fragrance-free space. As a favor to dancers who are sensitive or allergic, we ask that you refrain from wearing cologne, perfume, or scented products, or clothes smelling of cigarettes or incense.
Snacks at the break are provided by dancers. If you snack, please bring something to share. Please bring a refillable water bottle to help our planet. Water is provided. Paper cups are also available.
Parking is in the lot across the street from the Boltin Center and in marked spaces on adjacent streets.

Please check our FAQ page.

G.O.D.S. is a Group Affiliate of CDSS (the Country Dance & Song Society)



G.O.D.S. contra dance at the Thelma A Boltin Center in Gainesville