Tuesday, March 19, 2019

GODS chariot

I was doing a sound check before the dance in Boca Raton, FL a couple of weeks ago. In walk Al, Patrick, and Lynn, a good 4.5 hour drive away from our home dance in Gainesville, FL. I knew that "GODS Chariot" had rolled again.
Al Rogers, Dave Pokorney, JoLaine, Lynn Ricketts, and Patrick Harrigan on our way to the Tallahassee dance in GODS Chariot.
The Gainesville dance is called "The GODS" (Gainesville Oldtime Dance Society), and I've taken to calling Al's van, GODS chariot. If there's a dance happening in Florida, you can be sure that the chariot will make the trip if at all possible, bearing at least three and as many as six dancers.
Al and company have been doing this consistent traveling to dances for a couple of years and some of our communities have benefited tremendously. Communities who have struggled with low attendance are now thriving. I can't give all the credit to Al and company, but I'm convinced that they've had a huge impact.

Al says:

"I think Patrick & I both feel that we've benefited in many ways from participation in social dancing, and want to support & encourage both our own home dance, and other groups as well. When we travel, we make a point to show up in time to participate in pre-dance lessons, and are always available to partner with new or beginning dancers as they learn the basics, just as we were helped when we started. During the course of the dance, if we are at our best, then we are using our experience & whatever skills we have developed to help others have a good time. I suppose you could say it's our way of paying it forward." 

What I notice about those in GODS chariot is that they always have a great time and they never complain. You'll never hear them muttering about the caller or band or their partner. You'll never hear them call a dance "lame." They are unfailingly positive.

There are others in Florida who are following their example. We're having folks from other communities show up at our Gainesville dances more often than in the past. Not only does this make our dance better, but those folks benefit from experiencing other communities, bands, callers, and take that back home to their dances.  

Patrick says: 

"And did I mention that the road trips themselves are fun? We enjoy the anticipation of dancing on our way to the dance and on the way home we bask in the dance's afterglow. Everywhere we go, people thank us for attending their dances. That makes a difference. Sometimes we talk about it, sometimes not, but it is always there sustaining us and driving us to plan even more road trips."

I asked one of the dancers at the Jacksonville dance for her thoughts on GODS Chariot. Chrissy says:

" Although we have some experienced dancers in Jacksonville, we have a large percentage of new ones and having friendly faces who are strong dancers is a definite boost to our dance. It's been hugely positive. I feel that it has helped form a sense of community to see familiar faces when a Jacksonville dancer ventures out to Gainesville."

While not everyone has the wherewithal to purchase a van and spend hours on the road, we can learn a lot from Al's example. Do what you can to support other communities. Build them up, don't tear them down. Bring your divine joy and happiness wherever you dance!


  1. We certainly loved having the GODS chariot descend on Tallahassee!

  2. Thank you for your lovely essay. I enjoyed reading this great description of what Conta community is all about.