This section of the Resource Portal contains COVID-19 resources for organizers, musicians, callers, singers, and sound techs. Check out the other sections of the resource portal (links above) for many other resources on a wide range of topics, in addition to links for online discussion forums.
Resources for musicians, callers, singers, and sound techs
Listed below are some links you may find useful. If you know of any others to add to the list, please share them here.
Add your name to the freelancer assistance directory
Promote your online events through our events calendar
CDSS is actively maintaining a list of online traditional dance, music, and song events and we promote the calendar widely through our various communication channels.
Sources of emergency funding and related support
Resources are organized by country, state, and city of residence.
- COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resource
- Recording Academy MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund
- Maestro Match: connecting musicians and learners for online music lessons
- COVID-19 and the Folk Alliance International Community: a robust collection of health and safely resources, worldwide sources of emergency funds, and other general pandemic-era resources
- Country Dance Music Radio is a new Internet streaming radio station. It exists to support musicians who are out of work due to SARS-2/COVID-19 dance cancellations. It supports the dance community at large by playing the music and musicians we're used to dancing to. If you listen, please go to the musician pages and find their donation/store links to donate directly to them. If you are a musician, please provide music to the station for the community to enjoy 24x7. This is a great way for folks to be reminded to donate and to reward them for doing so.
- Musicians Foundation (source for emergency funds)
- Equal Sound (funds per cancelled gig)
- Musicians who have lost of their income due to the pandemic can apply for aid through the Violin-Building Fundraiser for Musician Aid project.
Musician application form
Support the fundraiser
- Billboard's State-by-State Resource Guide
- Artist Relief
$5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies; application cycles run approximately every month through August
- Resources for Canadian Artists (a huge list, including sources for emergency funds)
- AFC (source for emergency funds)
- Unison Benevolence Fund
- COVID-19 Financial Assistance Resource List
- Northwest Connecticut Artist Emergency Relief Fund: $100 micro-grants to Connecticut-based artists to fund small COVID-19-inspired projects
Tips for holding online events
For help setting up your online event and creating the best possible sonic experience, we recommend these guides:
Resources for calling dancing online
Resources coming soon.
Other helpful information for gigging artists in the time of COVID-19
Archived Webinars from Us and Others
We Are Stronger Together: Navigating Crises and Sustaining Healthy Relationships in the Era of Coronavirus for arts professionals, from Americans for the Arts
Ask An Expert: Contracts, Insurance, Visas, Employment and Legislation in the COVID-19 Era for performing artists, from the Alliance of Performing Arts Conferences
CommUNITY Ep. 1: Coping with the New Norm and Connecting Folk for performing artists and arts venues (focused on music), from Folk Alliance International
Resources for Organizers
CDSS Recommendations for Organizers
CDSS is recommending that all in-person participatory dance events originally scheduled through the end of 2020 be suspended or cancelled. It may be necessary to extend this period. For those organizing no-contact, socially distant music or song events, we recommend outdoor or open-air settings only.
- See our July 2020 Web Chat, Let’s Talk About Reentry: Recommendations and Q&A for Organizers.
- Watch a recording of Dance Flurry's discussion with public health experts and dance community leaders, When Can We Safely Dance Again?
- Meet with your team to discuss ways to keep your community connected and engaged during this time. (Check out our list of crowd-sourced ideas from other organizers or our calendar of online events for inspiration.)
- Add your online music or dance event to our calendar! Be sure to choose Online Events in the Categories box and add your event URL in the Extra Info box.
- Actively monitor recommendations from the WHO, the CDC, and your state health department.
- Plan ahead now for cancelling events:
- Look into the costs you will have to pay facilities.
- Stay in contact with your community.
- Communicate with the musicians, callers, sound engineers, and other talent lined up for gigs, and remember that this is a hardship on those who depend on our gig economy. Be transparent and kind with them.
- Think of individuals in your community who you can reach out to for short-term financial help if needed.
- When cancelling an event:
- Consider providing pre-registered attendees an option to donate all or part of their registration fee to help offset event costs and reimburse talent. Be mindful that not everyone will be in a position to do this. See an example here.
- Also consider creating a way for would-be attendees to contribute to the musicians, callers, and sound techs who are losing income. See an example here.
- At this time, CDSS recommends cancelling all in-person dance events through the end of 2020. If you are going ahead with a modified music or song gathering, please think about ways to reduce the risk of transmission:
- Host the event outside or in an open-air setting.
- Follow social distancing protocols, including masks.
- Inform your community about disease prevention.
- Coordinate in-depth sterilization procedures for the facilities you use.
- Encourage people to wash hands before, several times during, and after an event.
- Think through adjustments to how people enter your event (hand sanitizer, encouragement to wash hands upon arrival, posted
- recommendations, etc.).
- Rather than providing communal snacks and water, encourage people to bring their own.
- Request donations of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
- Monitor your area’s current risk level:
Tips for keeping our communities connected during the pandemic
Many dance, music, and song communities are actively working to maintain connections among their participants throughout the pandemic. They are doing this work for a variety of reasons including fostering friendship, providing a support network during this time, and to be ready to gather again in person when we can.
Check out the ideas below for ways in which your community can remain connected during the pandemic. There were also many great ideas shared by community members as part of the CDSS Web Chat from April 29th, entitled Yes We CAN Keep in Touch: Connecting Our Communities During the Pandemic.
The Mermaid's Tavern Online Folk Club
Online sessions and "houseconcerts" for an international Zoom studio audience, livestreamed to Facebook. Sunday sessions 2-5: Ballad Sing (2x), Chantey Sing, Tavern Sing. Special guests 1-2 Thursdays a month 7-9pm, special events cosponsored with local/regional folk societies. DIY Digital coaching for musicians pivoting to online performance.
Zoom Tune-learning Sessions
During monthly sessions, our tune leader is unmuted and others are muted. This allows participants to hear the leader and themselves playing along, so they can tell if they’re missing a note, rhythm, etc. Leader pauses often to field questions, and everyone unmutes themselves for discussion.
Note: I’ve heard that Jamkazam software allows for “real-time” jamming but haven’t tried it.
Tapestry Home Alone English Country Dance
Join the English Country Dance community of Tapestry Folkdance Center EVERY Sunday night (this may change, check back!) for a social time and an hour of dance. Enjoy familiar and new dances adapted for one or two persons, called by Midge Olsen and guests. To receive the weekly Zoom link, email your first and last name, email address, and home dance community to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapting English Country Dances
I started adapting dances to give our ECD dancers the comfort of dancing familiar figures to well-loved music, and I've currently adapted about two dozen dances. Some early Playford dances need little if any modification to work for one or two dancers. For example the first couple’s track in Chestnut can be danced by one or two individuals with no changes at all. USA dances like Maiden Lane and Chestnut are great, because dancers start facing the camera [up, or North] and can orient themselves.
Zoom ECD Events
So far I have run a 2-hour online ECD session (shared with Kalia Kliban) and two one-hour solo sessions. I've used a MacBook Pro and played the music on iTunes on my iPad. Lengthy music tracks can prove challenging, because most solo ECD adaptations don't include any time to stand out. Since dancing the full 7x through can be tiring, the Scissortail Traditional Dance Society ECD group in Oklahoma addressed this issue by having local musicians record dances only 5x through.
Virtual Jane Austen Ball
Since we had to cancel our 3rd annual Jane Austen Ball in Wooster, I used the evening to make and post a 1-minute video. I was using Acapella for the first time, and my dress still had pins in it.
I've compiled some helpful resources about zoom, audio tech, caller advice, etc. I've organized workshops about getting started on Zoom, Zoom audio, audio for contra dances, calling contra online and the video links and handout links are listed in this doc.
This guide is a walkthrough of best practices and settings to ensure a safe and successful dance in Zoom. It includes pointers on link security and publicity, security settings when creating your event, and best practices while running your event.
Drew Delaware, Toronto, Ontario
New Contra Callers Collective
To support our online events, BACDS has purchased Zoom Pro for 5 hosts. The collective started with a 3-hour workshop with a local musician talking about "working with the band." We ended up having 2-hour meetings and alternating between a lecture/discussion and calling practice with feedback. I was able to arrange online workshops with Lisa Greenleaf, Seth Tepfer, Gaye Fifer, Luke Donforth, and Kalia Kliban.
Band Workshops for Contra Musicians
Our band workshops were initially created and publicized by the musicians (fiddler leading a workshop for melody musicians and pianist doing a rhythm workshop). BACDS now sponsors these workshops by offering their Zoom Pro account. They also offer scholarships for students, a discount for BACDS members (and pay the discount back to the lead musicians), and other financial support. I help to publicize the workshops, moderate the Zoom meetings, and send workshop recordings to the musicians.
Our recent online contra session included a slow-motion video walk-through with calls written out, followed by a full-speed review of the dance (also including written calls). Then using a video taken by Dave Pokorney of the same simple dance from Catalina weekend (with music by Nova), everyone watched and danced along. They could also Pin a friend and try dancing with them. It's a fun way to connect on Zoom when we can't dance together.
Zoom Contra and Community Connection
The Mt Airy/Philadelphia Contra is meeting bimonthly for a community check-in and 1+ hour contra dance with live music (from the same household) and caller. We use Zoom and Source-Connect Now for technology. Email for more details.
Contra Dancing at Home
Using Zoom, 30–45 members of our community meet once a week from 9-10 pm (on our usual dance night) to dance in our living spaces. Calling and music is provided by a caller and one musician from family groups or households in the same location. We include contras (modified for one to two people) and some waltzes. We dance, listen, and/or play along (with muted mics) and enjoy the camaraderie, including an umuted go-around to give each person a minute to greet everyone each week.
During the COVID stay-at-home period, I received 3 phone calls for wedding dances, one in August and two in October. So, life goes on in many ways. It will be interesting to see how we negotiate distances then. I will let you know what happens!
Dance Parties for Kids (& Others)
I lead weekly online dances for all ages. My programs include 30-45 minutes of simple community dances and international folk dances that can be danced solo, sometimes with props. I also include some singing. For tech I use Streamyard to stream to Facebook Live, MacBook Air, iPhone, Bose speaker, headset, and mixer.
We have weekly practices using Free Zoom for 40 minutes, then add a second 40 minutes. We start at 1 pm on Saturdays to accommodate team members in CA and New Zealand. Our practices include songs, dance warm-ups, dancing, and a virtual pub/team meeting. Everyone mutes and unmutes themselves as needed, and our lead musician directs one musician at a time to be unmuted.
Suzanne Frank, Mountain View, CA
Kitchen Sink Molly of Silicon Valley · Facebook
Virtual May Day
Our team will be joined by Deer Creek Morris. Using Zoom, both teams will start (in kit) at 6 pm (instead of 5:30 am!). We’ll dance Abbott's Bromley and 4 other dances with musicians unmuted in rotation (others can play along while muted). In the middle we'll sing Hal and Tow, with lead singer on verses and all joining on chorus unmuted. We'll end with Sellenger’s Round for All and a Pub Stop.
Suzanne Frank, Mountain View, CA
Kitchen Sink Molly of Silicon Valley · Facebook
Web series for ECD-related discussions
Now that we have time to think about and discuss historical and English Country Dance, our guest speakers talk about 5 things they feel are important to our shared passion for ECD and why. This rare opportunity to ask questions we have always wanted to ask and share our responses has been a wonderful way to stay in touch and continue to learn and grow as a community.
Tea Time Gathering
We gather every Thursday at 5pm for a steady regular moment to check in with friends to chat, smile, and connect. There is no particular agenda, however we talk about dancing, costuming, and life in general.
Monthly Online Tea Dance Celebration
Our community was so sad to not have our monthly tea dances we found a way to do a mini-version online event. This (approx.) one-hour version of our Tea Social experience includes: meet and greet, tea time, “break out” rooms with surprises to enhance the theme, favorite dances in “shelter-at-home” solo dance format, and a closing sing-along.
Saturday Evening Waltz Parties
I started this series of waltz parties via Zoom, so our wonderful community can continue to experience being together. We dance to live music for about 45 minutes (everyone muted but cameras on) and include a 15 minute break to unmute and chat. I’ve invited solo musicians like Owen Morrison who play two different instruments, as well as groups who are sheltering in place together (Oshima Brothers with Maya French). We’ve had up to 150 dancers from across the country to dance and listen in -- great for the tip jar!
Using our group's Zoom account, we’re doing weekly check-ins to see each other’s faces and have general conversation. They're held on Wednesday at 8 pm, when we would usually have our dances. Everyone who wants to can talk, and we use different facilitators each week to keep anyone from speaking for too long.
Since BACDS sponsors so many dances and special events, for years we've sent out a weekly calendar mailing. I've transitioned those to listing online events relevant to our interests. We send the link with password and ask people not to share it on social media. Recently we started including Zoom meetups for individual dance series.