13th Annual Dane Dances Season:
Make the Magic Happen
|Tierra Terrell, the Dane Dances director (l) and
Alphonso Cooper, chair of Dane Dances, are
working hard to continue Dane Dances’ magic for
the 2012 season.
the Great Recession are still being felt in the Madison area and so fundraising for Dane Dances has been a little more difficult this year
and due to the quirk of the calendar, Dane Dances will be held on five Fridays in August this year. With the cost of each dance at around
$10,000 for musicians, venue expenses and rain back-up locations, Dane Dances has raised only $25,000 so far of the $50,000 that it
will need to host all five dances this summer.
“I know a lot of people think that because it is free that it is all paid for by government or companies voluntarily give the money so that it
is all set and done,” Cooper said. “But it is a lot of work in getting sponsorships and writing grants to be able to put on this event. We’ve
managed to do it for 12 years. My philosophy is we should be able to do it this year as well. The community is going to have to step up a
little bit right now, both individuals and businesses. We have tried to implement some newer fundraising strategies to try to broaden the
fundraising base. If everyone gives a little, the more people whom we can get to give a little, the less of a burden it is on the few whom
we have used in the past.”
“The response to our fundraising efforts so far hasn’t been too bad,” added Tierra Terrell, the new director of Dane Dances. “The people
who have sponsored us in the past have done an excellent job of providing us with funding at the same level and in some instances, at
slightly smaller levels. The biggest thing is the economy at this point in time. People are really trying to build back up to where they
were. But they still want to support community efforts if they are really good activities. And a lot of people do see that in Dane Dances.”
While traditional sponsors like Alliant Energy, American Family and MG&E have continued their support, Dane Dances hasn’t been able
to attract any major sponsors yet in the $10,000 and above range like they had been able to do in the past. So Dane Dances has
developed a new giving structure that has sweetened the pot.
“At the $50,000 level, you can have the naming rights for Dane Dances,” per said. “At the $10,000 sponsorship level, you get not just
one night, but you get recognized and we provide you with a table of 10 reserved seating at each and every dance. You can pick which
night you want to be specifically recognized at as your night at the $10,000 level. We also provide a meal for the 10 people who have
prime reserved seating.”
Dane Dances is also counting on the thousands of people who have enjoyed Dane Dances through the years to also contribute
financially to making the magic happen on the rooftop.
“We created the Friends of Dane Dances where individuals can donate $25 and become a friend of Dane Dances,” Cooper said. “It is a
tax-deductible donation. As a Friend of Dane Dances, you will know that you have helped put on the event. People will be recognized at
the dances through special lapel pins or other ways. We will also be listing people on our website as Friends of Dane Dances.”
When contributing to Dane Dances this year, companies and individuals will be helping to make the magic happen in a big way because
Dane Dances is featuring some of the most popular bands this summer that have graced the stage over the past decade.
“We open the season on August 3rd with VO5 and the Davis Family Band, two solid bands that have been with us before,” Cooper said.
“The community wanted them back. On August 10, we’ve got In Black and White and Grupo Candela. August 17th features The
Associates and David Hecht and Primitive Culture. On August 24th, we have the Tony Casteñada Jazz Sextet and Paul Cebar and the
Milwaukeeans. And we close out the season on August 31st with everyone’s favorites, MadiSalsa and Eddie Butts.”
Terrell is especially excited because this will be the first summer that she will be attending Dane Dances.
“I’m ready to experience the fun and the magic of Dane Dances,” Terrell said. “I will be thrilled during the month of August. We’re just
working intensely to make sure that we do as much as we can to make it a great experience. And we’re just trying to get everything
prepared to have the best dances around.”
Dane Dances wouldn’t be magical without the many people who come out every Friday night in August. And it won’t happen on every
Friday night unless the community steps up and makes the magic happen.
To make a donation to Dane Dances, please mail a check to: Dane Dances, P.O. Box 1672, Attn: Tierra Turrell, Madison, WI 53701. Or
you can visit their website at www.danedances.org and make a payment through Pay Pal. To volunteer at Dane Dances, send an e-mail
to Georgie Vavra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jonathan Gramling
For the past 12 years, the place to be on hot Friday nights in August has been the
Rooftop on Monona Terrace. Dane Dances, which was a part of the
recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Race Relations in the late 1990s,
brings people from all walks of life together to enjoy the summer breeze off of
Lake Monona and the hot music of Tex Mex, Afro-Cuban, R&B, jazz and soul from
Madison and beyond.
Originally the brainchild of Peter Anderson, Dane Dances has been claimed by
dozens of community volunteers who reflect the Madison area’s diversity and
come together to bring the people of Dane County together in celebration. And
while it is a free event that attracts thousands of dancers and music lovers of all
ages and persuasions, it is only free because of the dedication of the volunteers
who make Dane Dances go and the generosity of area businesses and
For the past seven years, Alphonso Cooper has been a Dane Dances volunteer
and stepped up to the plate to lead the organization this year as it faces one of its
most challenging years yet to keep Dane Dances alive and free. The effects of