Canberra Centre 15Jun02

The Bush Dancers Display Group

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join the display group?

Do I need to come with a partner?

What do I wear?

Do I need to RSVP?

How do I join the musicians?

Do The Bush Dancers display group always do the same dances?

What is our relationship to other groups?

Are we insured?


Q: How do I join the display group?

A: Any member of the Monaro Folk Society Inc.(MFS) may join The Bush Dancers Display Group. All you need is the minimum dress of long skirt and frilly or period-style blouse, or dark trousers, white shirt and waistcoat, and ability to do at least one of the dances without calling but in the company of many others who know the dances and can help newcomers through them if necessary. You will quickly find that practice makes perfect.

Q: Do I need to come with a partner?

A: No. We do not form up sets until the day. This means that if you find you cannot come on the day, you shouldn't feel that you will be letting the side down, our numbers are not that finely tuned. It also means that if you unexpectedly find that you can participate on the day, then please don your costume and join us.

However, this means that we do not know until the day precisely what our gender balance will be. All we have is indicative numbers sufficient for us to confirm the event with our hosts.

If you find yourself in the majority, and are comfortable dancing as the opposite gender, then please do so. Please also keep an eye out for dancers who have to stand out during a dance and swap with them to share the dancing around. It goes without saying that everyone who turns up should get an adequate opportunity to dance.

There is no pre-planning of the forming of sets, please take partners and form sets on the day. If you do have a dancing partner it is quite ok to start the bracket with them, but please then swap if necessary and if you are both comfortable doing so.


Q: What do I wear?

A: The most suitable costume that you have or can obtain for the particular performance. We aim to deliver colour and movement to attract the interest of audiences that are not familiar with bush dancing, and to project our enjoyment from the stage. The purpose of our costumes is to attract audience attention and to give us stage presence. But, The Bush Dancers Display Group is first and foremost accessible and we are not trying to depict any particular era or costume style.

Options include starting with the minimum dress of long skirt and frilly or period-style blouse, or dark trousers, white shirt and waistcoat, or borrowing more formal dress from someone your size. Many of our existing dancers are happy to lend costumes to get you going and you will soon see the costume opportunities that are open to you.

Outdoor performance dress is daytime colonial or costume such as you might wear to the Shearers Ball. For indoor and stage performances, please wear your evening ball attire if you have it, but don't be daunted if you haven't - the minimum dress of long skirt and frilly or period-style blouse, or dark trousers, white shirt and waistcoat will usually be fine.

Runners and jeans would not look right in our outdoor stage or indoor performances, and you are better off with shoes with some slide (eg leather soles).

Q: Do I need to RSVP?

A: Yes please. We need indicative numbers sufficient for us to confirm the event with our hosts. We will confirm when we can form five couples, and we have contingency plans for the unlikely event that we only have three couples turning up on the day. We have never had numbers low enough to cause any doubt, but it would be a pity if we declined an event when there were people intending to participate that hadn't let us know. It is good for everyone to have an indication of our numbers and gender balance, and comforts the organisers.

Q: How do I join the musicians?

Please contact dance@pcug.org.au to be added to The Bush Dancers mailing list, and then contact the Musician Co-ordinator shown in the upcoming events Email. If you are a musician, please ignore calls for expressions of interest from dancers and stay in touch with the Musician Co-ordinator instead. If you don't have Email, please keep in touch with Daryl P., Ray M. and Bob H., our Musician Co-ordinators.

Q: Do The Bush Dancers display group always do the same dances?

A: As far as is possible.

Like the Rolling Stones, we rehearse and perform the same act to many different audiences. There the similarity ends, although some of us are in the same age bracket.

Our goal is to perfect an act and then perform it as many times and as well as is possible. We may change the act to improve its impact, or to fit in with an event theme, but not change for the sake of change. No event organiser or audience member has ever complained that they have already seen our act.

We have a body of dancers that are very well rehearsed, and this makes it easy for newcomers to join in. It's easy to dance when surrounded by folk who know the dances well. Similarly, most of the dancers don't need much rehearsal, but are happy to join in rehearsals to help newcomers.

Our aim is to attract attention through live music, colour and movement, to project our enjoyment from the stage, and to encourage members of the public to join in bush dancing. Having a fixed program allows us to concentrate on these aspects of our performance and, rather than spending time changing our routine, spend our time improving the impact of our act.

Q: What is our relationship to other groups?

A: We report to the Monaro Folk Society (MFS) by way of an annual report.

We don't accept performances that would clash with MFS bush dances. Our aim is to promote bush dancing so we don't want to take away from bush dance numbers.

There are a lot of other dance and MFS activities. We try to avoid clashes, but where we cannot we are guided by the responses from performers as to whether to accept a booking.

There are many other display groups, and a number of our performers also belong to other groups. We are interested in the activities of these other groups, and have many friends in them. We also respect the other groups because we know the extraordinary effort that all groups put into rehearsal and performance. We don't know the plans of other groups, and do not attempt to co-ordinate our activities. Like all groups, we simply express interest to event organisers and let them schedule the performances. Similarly, we leave it up to performers to decide which group they will perform with if clashes of performance occur.

The concept of the "massed display" is an excellent one for drawing an audience and demonstrating the joy and accessibility of bush dancing. We encourage members of other groups to join with us in our displays.

Q: Are we insured?

A: Yes. The Bush Dancers Display Group is an activity of the Monaro Folk Society Inc.(MFS) and is run by a sub-committee appointed by the main MFS committee. One of the conditions laid down by the main committee is that only MFS members may join The Bush Dancers Display Group, although of course members of the public are usually invited to join in some of the dancing on the day. The Bush Dancers Display Group sub-committee consists of Barbara & Lance C. (Primary Contacts) and Dianna & Daryl P. (Alternate Contacts). A copy of the MFS Certificate of Insurance that covers The Bush Dancers Display Group is available from dance@pcug.org.au.