New contra dance donation

Because our costs have risen, the donation for the second and fourth Saturday contra dances will soon increase for the first time in almost a decade. Starting in April, the regular adult rate will be $12/person. The rates for college students, children, and families will not change.

There were two significant increases in contra expenses this year. The City of Sacramento raised the rent for the Coloma Community Center, and we increased the payments to our wonderful bands and callers. This increase allows us to stay in line with other Bay Area dance groups that compete with us for talent. As the most inconvenient venue for most bands and callers to reach, it didn’t seem wise for SCDS to also offer the lowest pay.

To maintain the contra dance’s financial stability, the Board approved a donation increase that will exactly cover these increased costs. This rate is on par with other Bay Area dances. The donation for zesty and other special dances will be considered on a case-by-case basis throughout the year, depending on the cost of the talent and other circumstances.

Another way to offset the additional expenses would be to increase attendance. The Board will continue efforts to attract and retain new dancers, and we encourage all of you to invite anyone who might be interested to come and discover the fun of contra dancing!

How can you help SCDS?

Organizing dances is a lot of work, and the Sacramento Country Dance Society can always use more help! Volunteering is a great way to form stronger bonds with our community. If you’ve been enjoying our dances, here are some opportunities to give back.

First, you can support SCDS financially – even without giving any money yourself! SCDS uses Amazon Smile. If you sign up with SCDS as your charity through that link, a small part of the amount you spend comes to SCDS every time you shop, at no charge to you. Sign up today, and buy your holiday presents through the link.

Second, SCDS simply could not exist without volunteers!  Whether you’d like to work the door at dances, be trained as a sound technician, help with publicity, or guide long-term strategy as a board member, there’s an opportunity waiting for you.  Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, use your current skills, or learn new ones, and it’s lots of fun!

The Echo Summit Dance Camp requires a large number of volunteers, for tasks like greeting and cabin assignment, sweeping the dance floor, moving furniture, assisting the bands and callers, keeping water dispensers full, organizing the first night potluck, and many more. Though everyone is welcome to help, there are a limited number of work scholarships for low-income people who perform a required number of hours of volunteer work in trade for a reduced registration fee.

If you’re interested in volunteering your time, please speak to any of our Board members at dances, or send an email inquiry to  We’d love to have you!

Nominations for Board of Directors

Our volunteer Board of Directors helps guide our organization in promoting dance in our community.  Board members are elected for a one year term and may serve up to five consecutive years. The board provides governance for the Sacramento Country Dance Society, while our dances are organized and hosted by three committees: English Country Dance, contra dance, and Echo Summit Dance Camp. Ad-hoc committees are formed for nominations, Big Day of Giving and fundraising, and other activities. Each board member serves on at least one committee. The board meets four times per year, often with an additional strategic planning retreat, while the committees meet as needed.

Characteristics of a successful board members include:

  1. Desire to advance the mission of the organization to support dance and its benefits to the community.
  2. Availability to attend board meetings and committee meetings, and prepare ahead of time for these meetings by reading materials or researching practices and solutions.
  3. Desire to grow leadership skills.
  4. People skills, especially in difficult situations.
  5. Specific professional skills such as design, publicity, financial management, legal perspectives, technology, fundraising, and others.

Each winter we nominate individuals to serve on the board for the coming year. The board makes nominations, but any member (defined as anyone who dances with us) may nominate themselves. All nominees fill out the Board Member Recruitment form. You may give the form to people at the greeting table at a dance, to any board member, or mail it to Celine Pankratius, 5800 9th Ave, Sacramento CA 95820-1818.

People are elected to the Board of Directors each spring at the Anniversary Dance (April 23 this year), and serve from May through April. The board elects from among itself three officers (President, Secretary, Treasurer) and appoints both board members and volunteers to key volunteer positions such as communications coordinator, bookkeeper, Echo Summit Registrar, and others.

If you have questions about board service, please contact President John Seto, 916-595-2498,, or any other current member.

The Board of Directors is certainly not the only way you can serve our dance community. We need volunteers on all of the committees. People can help out by setting up the hall before dances and breaking down after dances, and sitting at the front table to greet people and take money (you need a brief training session and to be known to someone on the board). Echo Summit Dance Camp in particular uses a large number of volunteers to plan and prepare for the weekend, as well as helping out in a number of ways during the weekend.

We hope that you will join us in creating and maintaining a vibrant dance community!