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Notes of barefoot dance community meetings in words and pictures

Notes from Barefoot Dance Community Meeting    17th April 2019

Held at: St Matthews Community Hall, Exeter

Present: Angela, Tom, Karen, Curly Sharon, Louise, Sandhya, Laurence, Ruth, Andrew

Laurence welcomed everyone

Last years notes reviewed


  • It was noted that we haven’t been consistent with the termly charity plan.

  •  A request was made for Moving the Small Group series to begin again.


Money Matters

  • In the last financial year we had spent £839 more than we had taken. This was largely due to the purchase of new sound equipment.

  • £150 deposit from the women’s dance was a return of the grant given the previous year.

  • Teacher sessions overall made a loss.  In particular the Live Connection sessions had not been particularly well attended. It was not sustainable to pay them a fixed sum of £300 which we agreed last year. 

  • ACTION: It was agreed if we are to book them again, we will pay a guaranteed sum of £220, plus any extra after the hall rental was paid for.

  • Entrance fees were reviewed and it was agreed to keep them at the same level. ACTION: We agreed to write on the entrance fee that ‘we request payment to cover our costs’.

  • Payments to teachers were reviewed and it was agreed to keep at the same rate.


Timings of Sessions.

  • There was a ‘Thank you’ from Tom and Louise to all the people who hold the barefoot space week in and week out.

  •  A preference was stated from Tom for the sessions to begin a little earlier. It was explained that we are not able to get hall earlier than the set up time of 7:15am, so unfortunately its not possible to change this.

  • Laurence spoke about feeling disappointed that people seem to be frequently leaving the sessions early. We discussed finishing the session earlier, but decided against this.

  • ACTION: It was agreed that we would make a statement about how much we would like the group to stay to the end of the dance and also how lovely it is if people join us for the circle too.


Our program and teacher preferences

  • Tom spoke of his preference for peer group evenings to the teacher led sessions.

  • There was a poll of teacher preferences which will be taken into account when booking teachers.

  • Heart space/altar. Angela requested a system for managing this.

  • ACTION: it was agreed to put a calendar on the website for the heart-space.


A Community Day this year? In November. ( Karen/Ruth/Tom?)


  • Community Day 2019. It was agreed that another Community Day would be organised for November 2019. (Karen/Ruth/Tom).

  • Resolution Facilitators training is due to happen on the 30th April – 12 people are involved.

  • Group guidelines, we now have some

Other new initiatives

  • Healing Moves is a new group beginning on a Sunday once a month, led by Xenia Berdt (information on the website). Barefoot are supporting the start up of this group.

Any other business

  • The women's group box 

  • ACTION: Karen will email Aslihan to let her know we are going to deconstruct the box.

Some delicious cake brought by Ruth was shared with tea. Thank you everyone for attending and contributing to another fruitful meeting.



Notes from Barefoot Dance Community Meeting   9th May 2018

held at: the meeting room, Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter


present: Karen, Angela, Dave, Debbie, Ruth, Andy, Laurence, Richard, Sharon M, Martin, Sandyha, Phil H, Phil N.


Karen welcomed everybody.


1.    Last years notes review

◦  It was agreed to give the surplus of funds (over the agreed reserves of £2,500) in 2017/18 to Wendy who works at the St Petrocks Centre for street homeless people in Exeter. This amounted to £58.91.

◦  We decided to continue to have one session a term where any surplus, after the hall was paid for, was given to a good cause selected by the group.

◦  Everyone who had attended thought the small groups which were held last autumn and facilitated by members of barefoot dance worked really well. Karen was thanked for co-ordinating these.


2.    Money matters

◦  We looked at what we had spent money on in our financial year 2017/2018. It was noted that most of our financial surplus comes from the barefoot nights. There was a question about what ‘things’ were and this included lights, audio leads and public liability insurance which we now needed as a condition of booking St Matthews Church Hall.

◦  We agreed to keep the reserve targets the same for our current financial year (2018/2019). Except as we had just spent £1,000 on new sound equipment we would have to build that figure up again over the next few years.

◦  It was agreed we try and keep a minimum figure of £1,500 for contingencies


3.    Ongoing differences of opinion (volume of music and temperature of hall)

o   We discussed what happens when some people are too hot and some people are too cold. The thermometers had maybe been useful as an objective measure about this? Maybe we could dig them out again.

o   No easy solutions were forthcoming. There was a suggestion that if it was generally warm the door should be left ajar so that people could go in and out of the hall if they needed fresh air, but pushing the door to on their way in/out.

o   If some people experienced the music as too loud was it possible they could be encouraged to think of ear plugs?


4.    New sound system

◦  Some people thought it sounded better the first week we had it and some people thought it sounded better the second week! We’re still experimenting with it and getting used to it. Maybe we could experiment a bit more with the small speaker position?

◦  Need to be careful setting it up – esp small speakers – care needs to taken when screwing them onto their stands. It would be easy to drop one.

◦  We agreed that anyone can borrow the old sound stuff for private parties etc

◦  If borrowing the new stuff then people to sign a disclaimer that they would replace anything if it were damaged in any way.

◦  The new equipment was extremely easy to set up and put away.

◦  Thanks was proposed to Laurence for sorting it all out.


5.    Our programme

◦  Teacher sessions – Over the last year we’ve had 3 new teachers and everyone was very positive about them.

◦  There seemed some consensus that we ought to have one or two new teachers over the course of a year to keep things fresh. Everyone was invited to suggest new teachers.

◦  Karen is now responsible for booking teachers and the group gave their feedback about different teachers.

◦  Barefoot dance sessions

◦  It was great we have a wide variety of people putting the music on bringing their own unique taste and style to the evening.

◦  We thought it was important there was an invitation for people to hold the space even if they didn’t want to bring the music.

◦  The altar/focal point/heart space

◦  Angela was feeling her altar creations had become predictable. It was great when people bought things in – but that’s mostly fallen away now, just Helena does this now and again.

◦  Angela had decided not to do the altar any more but had relented after talking to a few people, it is a focal point, but has it become taken for granted and not really appreciated?

◦  Angela’s altars were praised as beautiful and appreciated by the whole group. Angela has decided to put in at the end of the dance asking people to have a go at an altar the following week.

◦  Do any men want to do an altar?

◦  Angela would like more spectacular things in a box which could be used for the altar e.g. oracle cards with big writing. It was agreed she could have a budget of £60 …

◦  One suggestion was that some weeks we could have a short ritual at end of session which was based on the altar.

◦  It was agreed to put on website that altar offerings were welcomed.


6.    Community dance/movement day in the autumn

◦  The idea for a peer led day, had largely come out of the decision to have Jo Hardy facilitate Gidleigh this year. Lots of people still liked the peer led sessions/events.

◦  Karen proposed that people who were interested in planning and organising a day in the autumn should meet up and discuss the arrangements.

◦  Members of the group could be paid to lead sessions as they were with the small group initiative.

◦  We would look for a bigger venue so that everyone could be involved and attend if they want to.

◦  The following people volunteered to join a planning group – Ruth, Phil H, Sandhya, Karen, Sharon M

◦  Andy would like to be involved in running things for people in recovery from mental ill-health.


7.    Anything else:

o   Dave would like to set up a Sunday social – at the Phoenix or Double Locks. The whatever Sunday afternoon of the month. There was general support for this idea. Information will be put on the website ….

o   Small groups – people liked these and it would be good to do it again. 

o   Meeting at the Phoenix - Phil H said he really liked the venue for a meeting. Much better than the pub last year

We all sang happy birthday to Angela and ate delicious cake which Ruth had made.


8.    Men’s dance

o   The men stayed on and talked about the men’s dances. Notes of the discussion were not taken.


We then had a jolly time in the café/bar area and eventually we all wandered off home.

happy birthday Angela!

High-lights from our meeting - 24 May 2017 in words and with pictures

there was action and emotion .....

there were smiles and laughs .....

there was thoughtfulness and interesting ideas .....

There was a gathering of barefooters on 24 May 2017 at the Globe Inn. A few things were discussed and a few things were decided. Below is a summary of the decisions made: 


Present: Karen, Cathy, Phil, Lesley, Richard D, Sandyha, Andrew, Stephen, Angela, Sharon F, Laurence.



1.    Donations to good causes


It was agreed that we would give 100% of surpluses to 'good causes', keeping enough reserves to cover costs of:

a.    Replacing sound equipment  (£1,000)

b.    Funding for Gidleigh or other residential setting up front (£600)

c.     Helping new/ongoing groups with subsidies and covering costs (£900)


Total = £2,500


This would be achieved in two ways. Holding a charity night once a term where all profits (minus the cost of the hall) would be given to an agreed charity. Also at the end of the year any profits minus the above would be given to charity. The group as a whole will be invited to suggest worthy causes.


2.    Payment to teachers


It was agreed to give teachers a small pay-rise. Live Connections will be paid £300 per session (up from £200). Teachers will be paid £125 (plus a complex calculation of half the surplus after the hall is paid and plus an extra £10)


3.    Entrance fees


It was agreed to make explicit on the website that payment is by donation and that those who feel that payment is a barrier to attendance need only pay what they can afford. It was also agreed to change the price bracketing to £3 to £6 on a barefoot night and £7 to £10 on a teacher led night, and to emphasize that any surplus in barefoot accounts goes to good causes.


4.      The Programme (1)


There was a movement exploration around how the group felt about a variety of teachers. It was agreed to invite if possible one new teacher a term. Names of new potential teachers mentioned were: Joanna Waters, Sue Rickards, Andrew Holmes (Stroud), Denise Rowe. It was also agreed to invite the group to make suggestions.


We agreed to stick to the current format whereby we invite teachers every other week.


5.    The Programme (2)


We don’t meet in the hall in August, suggestions for Wednesday's in August were invited. These will be put on the website as they emerge. Sue-Claire and Richard have offered an event in Budleigh which everyone thought was great.



6.    Coming soon:  a new small group venture


A new venture is in the planning phase which will take the form of offering space for group members with movement facilitation skills and newly establishing teachers to run a session for a small group. The details of this are still being finalised and will follow. It has been agreed that facilitators/teachers will be paid £50. If you are interested in facilitating a session please speak to Karen.


7.      Other business


A cabaret night has been suggested, if you are interested speak to Andrew or Kathy

It was also requested that Gidleigh is on a different weekend to the RESPECT weekend in Exeter next year.

there was creativity and careful recording ..... 

there were great ideas and gorgeousness .....

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