The Art of the MC - HIFD MC Guidelines
(The following is largely taken an article written by Simon Guest
that appeared in SIFD News a few years ago adapted to the
specific HIFD environment and includes text from earlier guidelines provided to HIFD MCs).
Thank you for agreeing to run an evening.
Being a good MC at a folk dance is not easy.
The MC's function is to make
sure that as far as possible everyone goes home at the end of the evening having had a great time.
If, as MC, you also enjoy the dance then that's a bonus;
your primary duty is to work for the enjoyment of others, all the time.
We wish you luck and hope you enjoy yourself.
- The MC is responsible for ensuring that the dance area is clear of furniture and that the
audio system is operational (delegate if necessary and education on setting-up the audio system
is available on request).
- Start time - please be ready to start dancing by 7.30 (delegate if necessary).
If we are ready to start by 7:30, the dancers are more likely to turn up a bit earlier.
- Choosing the Programme - in general a balanced programme for your clientelle is the aim.
Make sure you have the right proportion of each country and category.
You may choose your favourite dances, but remember that if you are doing your job properly
you may not get to dance them.
The order of the programme is very important.
By all means put a couple of
similar dances together but mix the tempi, mix the difficulty, mix the provenance and mix the formations.
- Ensure the name of the dance is on the board before starting the dance and/or announce
the name of each dance and its provenance.
Reinforcing the names in people's memories is good policy.
- Don't leave long gaps between the dances.
Announce the next dance as soon as possible after the previous one finishes.
People didn't come to rest - they came to dance.
- Use any known experts at the dance to help lead or demonstrate.
They are usually flattered.
Keep a look out for anyone sitting out the dances and try to get them dancing
either by scheduling easier/more familar dances or giving them personal assistance as appropriate.
- Do not schedule a dance unless
you can be sure that there is someone available and willing who can lead or show it
or that you yourself know well enough to lead or walk through .
- Assist any dancers who appear to be struggling with a dance.
- Finish time - We have to be out of the club earlier during the winter months,
hence when the shorter opening hours are in force we need to STOP dancing by 10 pm
in order to clear up in plenty of time.
- End with a Makedonsko/Les Noto (or similar) as a cooling-down dance and
try to encourage everyone on to the floor.
- Ensure that the room is reset to however the steward-on-duty requests
and ensure the audio equipment is packed and stowed in the allocated cupboard.
- Please remember to check the website listings for previous weeks
for dances that have been taught or reviewed, in order to maintain continuity.
- If planning on the teaching of a new dance, either personally or by someone else, please ensure the
recording engineer has the music in a suitable form the previous week (or earlier) so that it can be added to the
club player in good time.
- More reviews are always welcome - please arrange these in advance with a suitable attendee.
- General comment - not just for MCs - please ensure that fire exits are always kept clear of chairs etc.