We believe that participatory arts change lives. For nearly 100 years we have been spreading joy and building community through dance, music, and song with its roots in English and North American traditions. CDSS is the leading national arts and education organization supporting these traditions. Our membership of over 3,000 individuals and families and 300 affiliate groups spans 48 states, 9 Canadian provinces, and 15 other countries. Our programs, services and resources are available to member and non-member participants in North America and beyond.

Numerous ongoing series and events are well-run by community volunteers and CDSS affiliates at the local level, across North America. In addition to supporting this work CDSS, as a national arts organization, is able to concentrate on big picture needs and trends, serve as a centralized hub for resources, support, and information services where they are needed, connect dance/music and song communities to one another and to CDSS, and advocate for the vitality and sustainability of traditional dance, music, and song far into the future. As an education organization, CDSS will continue to provide skill building opportunities in dance, music and song at our nine week-long camps and continue to support educational opportunities for dancers, callers, musicians, singers, organizers and teachers.

The CDSS Centennial in 2015 presents a special opportunity to capture the attention of the dance and song community and the broader arts and education community.

Our objectives are to:

  • raise the visibility of traditional dance, music, and song and communicate their intrinsic value in society
    promote and advocate for musicians, singers, dancers, dance and song leaders who teach and perform the
    traditional arts we are preserving
  • strengthen and connect dance, music, and song communities in North America
  • strengthen CDSS's role in the arts and education sector
  • raise money to support these initiatives and our organizational mission

We will use the CDSS Centennial in 2015 to communicate our vision of CDSS as a responsive, forward-looking, and effective arts and education organization. The Centennial Spread the Joy campaign will raise funds to accomplish these goals and create a solid financial foundation for our next 100 years.


Raise the Visibility of Traditional Dance, Music, and Song

  • expand and improve online resources
  • effectively drive traffic to our website
  • create ways to connect our 300+ affiliate groups in order to facilitate and support their work
  • seek strategic partnerships with folk and traditional dance, music, and song organizations
  • seek strategic partnerships with arts and education organizations with similar missions
  • connect with state cultural councils on behalf of our members, affiliates, and related communities
  • join the national conversation in the arts and education field
  • actively publicize our traditional arts through a wide array of media channels
  • amplify our message with tools that help local organizers, musicians, dance and song leaders promote their own activities

Strengthen and Connect Dance, Music and Song Communities

  • connect communities and our affiliates to each other, and organizers to resources, through conferences, forums, community stories, communal sharing of best practices and resources
  • facilitate multi-directional communication through social media
  • create a better online community for our members through the CDSS website
  • using CDSS as a hub, connect our members and non-members to other resources for dance, music and song
  • find more opportunities to connect in local and regional community gatherings

Improve and Expand Resources

1. Education Resources

  • create skill-building opportunities for organizers, dance and song leaders, musicians, and sound operators through the Centennial Tour
  • expand our menu of mini-courses at our camps
  • expand leadership training using our conference model
  • create an effective, easy-to-use mentorship program
  • create new resources for the contra caller community, as guided by the Contra Task Group Survey 2013
  • offer online courses with Antioch University of New England
  • offer continuing education credits for teachers
  • create toolkits and resources for K-12 teachers and homeschoolers on how to use the traditional arts in their classrooms
  • record, preserve, and archive the memories of our oldest practitioners; record, preserve and archive the history of our arts in North America
  • improve access to our library and archives at the University of New Hampshire

2. Services for Affiliates and Members

  • online members' Directory
  • non-profit consulting
  • logistical advice
  • skill-building opportunities for organizers, dance and song leaders, and musicians
  • continually evaluate member services and expand where possible and in response to the needs of our members and affiliates
  • enable online networking of affiliates through the CDSS Website
  • improve access to our library and archives at UNH

3. Outreach for Affiliates and Members

  • grants/matching grants
  • scholarships
  • fiscal agency support
  • conferences









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