CDSS Mentorship Program

CDSS promotes leadership development and training in the English and American traditional dance, music, and song communities through a variety of programs, including our Camp courses, outreach grants, publications, and support for mentorship programs. Mentorship relationships offer an opportunity for motivated students to seek out skills, knowledge and repertoire that they are excited to learn from experienced and respected leaders. Mentorship is more than just taking a lesson; it is an opportunity for student(s) and teacher(s) to work together over an extended period of time on a specific set of goals.

We encourage you to consider what you would like to know and be able to do, and create a mentorship program to pursue those interests. The range of possible topics is considerable; here are just a few examples: Morris dance repertoire, New England fiddle styling, piano accompaniment for English country dance, harmony singing, how to organize dances, calling square dances, music theory, etc. You can set up a mentorship program for an individual or for a group, such as a band or an organization Board.

CDSS offers the following types of support for Mentorship programs:

  1. A sample Mentorship Agreement form that students and their prospective mentors can use to clarify their goals, design their process for working together, determine procedures for feedback and evaluation, etc. This form can be used as is or modified to fit your specific needs.
  2. Assistance locating a Mentor. If you know what you want to learn but don't know where to look for a teacher, contact us and we will try to help you track down someone with the skills you are seeking. (Note: CDSS does not endorse or guarantee the qualifications of any specific person; we can suggest people we know who may be able to help you, but you'll have to take it from there.)
  3. Mentorship grants. If you need financial support to make a Mentorship program possible, you can apply for a grant from CDSS Leadership funds to help defray the costs. You will need to fill out an Outreach grant application as well as a Mentorship Agreement form, and submit them to CDSS. We encourage you to also seek financial assistance from local dance/music groups and arts organizations, and to consider ways to make your mentorship financially self-sustaining.