At the beginning 2106, the MEDGE Board of Directors requested input from guild members through a 16-question survey. Printed copies of the survey were distributed at the Annual Member Meeting Potluck/Swapmeet and at monthly shows. The survey was also available online. Following are the full responses received, numbers [in brackets] represent response counts for individual answer options.
Membership at time of Survey: 129
Number of Responses: 44
If you have been attending fewer monthly shows in the past year, please let us know why.
[10 members submitted a response of “No” to this question]
- Quality of performances. Lack of leadership and clear roles from Board.
- About the same -I attend sporadically, as always.
- Saturday’s would be better for me than Friday’s because of my travel time and work on Fridays.
- Actually no. I’ve attended more in 2015 than previously.
- about the same 4-5 shows
- Yes, two reasons – I have been busy, so I have to be choosier about how I spend my time and after awhile, I feel like I see the same things over and over in one night.
- Busy with family and work.
- I live in a different city now.
- hopefully will be able to attend many more.
- I would rather see fewer shows with more *variety* and high-quality performances. While I will always be a member of MEDGE, sadly, I have grown less interested in attending the monthly shows. With the exception of the featured performer, I am finding the monthly shows a bit long and tedious. I want to be honest without hurting feelings here since I personally know and admire so many of the lovely dancers, and I know how much goes into a performance. The comment I hear most often is this: watching a long list of similarly-styled cabaret solos is not doing it for people anymore. At times, there is a campy (and even sloppy) performance style that is off-putting for me personally. I prefer strong, elegant, tasteful, and FUN. New faces, new energy, live music, and some fusion styles would be much appreciated. I thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback. I want MEDGE to succeed and thrive. It has been my honor to be associated with such a strong and committed group of dancers.
- No – I usually go to every one
- (non-member, but attend shows)
- It often means I have to stay in town after work on Friday (I live fairly far away), and sometimes I’ve had a tough week. It isn’t because I’m not interested in the show.
- We now live up the McKenzie River, are getting older and don’t drive as well at night in the rain…..it’s not the shows.
- Not enough variety due to frequency of performances. Not enough variety in styles of dance e.g tribal fusion exclusions, too much “traditional” and clique-ish inclusions. Not enough money to attend every month. Suggested donation seems too enforced and cozmic’s food and drink are expensive.
- I usually do attend January but was unable to attend this time because the show fell on a holiday weekend. I usually attend about 9 shows a year. I often miss one show in summer due to travel, and I often miss in November due to holiday/family stuff. I don’t usually attend Feb alt night show, though I have gone a couple of times, it’s just not my bag as I like ethnic music, not American pop or rap or whatever. I would be sad to have MEDGE go to a less frequent show, because the heart of the mission of MEDGE is to provide a venue to foster performance and enjoyment of Middle Eastern Dance and music. I’d rather we lose other things, like expensive workshops. I wonder if we might request from Cozmic that we move to a different Friday, so that we don’t go back to back with Hawaii night? There was a big writeup about Hawaii group in the Weekly, and I know a few of my students were confused because they thought MEDGE was canceled or something so they didn’t go.
- Injury and stress made it harder.
- I would enjoy seeing more variety in the performances, performers and styles of belly dance. When I’ve attended the monthly shows, it feels a bit like déjà-vu …similar cast and dances.
- I live an hour & a half away and the weather is an issue in the Winter.
- I feel there is a lack of diversity in the dancers, we see the same dancers over and over again. I also feel like the shows donot represent the full range of belly dance in the US at this time.
- Yes, I hate to say it – but only due to busy personal life, not due to any decreased interest in MEDGE and our performers!
- I like to come every month when I can. Sometimes I can’t, though. It’s the time to support my friends, hand out and see a show. I like the monthly shows and would be sad if you stopped having them.
- No more. Almost every month.
What frequency of MEDGE shows would you prefer?
Because of the rising cost of producing the monthly shows and a drop in attendance at some monthly shows in 2015, it has been suggested that we make changes to the frequency of the shows. Of the following which would you be most likely to attend on a regular basis:
- Monthly shows 
- Shows every other month 
- Quarterly shows 
- Only special shows 
(International Dance Day, Fall Festival, Student Show, Alternative Night, Live Music, etc.)
- Other (please specify) 
- “All of the above”
If MEDGE continues to present monthly shows, do you think we should consider moving to a different day of the week and time?
- No 
- Yes 
- Please provide your suggested day/time
- Second or Fourth Friday 
- Early evening Wednesdays (7:00) 
- Early evening Friday or Saturday (7:00) 
- Saturday or Sunday 
- Saturday 
- Please provide your suggested day/time
Membership Renewal Date
We are considering making all memberships due at the same time each year. What do you prefer?
- Keep paying my membership when I receive my renewal notice 
- Make all memberships due by November 1st, with the opportunity to renew at the Fall Festival 
- Make all memberships by February 1st, with the opportunity to renew at Annual Meeting/Swap Meet 
It has been suggested that MEDGE discontinue printing the Harrakat and offer only an online version in order to reduce expenses. Is receiving a hard copy of the newsletter important to you? If so, would you consider paying an additional printing fee?
** Note: Approximately 32% of members currently receive the printed edition of Harrakat each quarter. Average cost for printing and mailing is around $200 per issue. The MEDGE Board is not sure how many of the responses from this question are from those who currently receive a printed copy and from those who currently receive Harrakat electronically. **
- Yes, having a printed hard copy is important to me, but I won’t pay a printing fee 
- Yes, having a printed hard copy is important to me and I would gladly pay extra to help cover the printing and mailing costs 
- No, it’s nice to have but it’s not important that I receive a printed hard copy 
- No, it’s not important. I want to help save MEDGE money by receiving my Harrakat online 
Please provide any additional comments regarding Harrakat here.
- The newsletter has come so far and looks so professional, it would be a shame to lose it.
- I can print it myself if need be
- The printed Harrakat is very important! I keep all my copies and have them going back for years, and it’s a fun record of the MEDGE history. Also, I look at a computer screen all day and it’s nice to read a print copy. It’s appropriate to charge $5-10 more for the print option vs the download option. That is reasonable to me.
- I would like the Harrakat to be online in html format, like a regular web page and not pdf.
- I am all for an online-only version of the Harrakat! We all have computers or can access one through friends or the library or our workplaces, so let’s make the transition.
- I hope that MEDGE can continue to host a monthly show. It’s a nice way to keep a presence in the community. I’ve been a member for about 17 years and I remember times when it was difficult to find dancers and the audience was small. I think MEDGE can weather the downturn as it has in the past. Maybe asking for ideas from members about how to increase attendance could help. Live music nights, featured dancers and theme nights are always a great idea.
- Not everyone is comfortable on the Internet. It would be nice to have a print option available. (Have you sent this survey out to people who are getting print copies of the Harrakat?) If people don’t want to pay extra for print, I could see making print black and white as a cost savings.
- I’ve received the Harrakat online for the past several years and prefer this option.
- Love the online option – so easy!
- I already get the online version
Are you aware of our many volunteer opportunities and our need for volunteers?
We regularly need volunteers to help at the door during monthly shows, many aspects of Fall Festival, contribution of articles and information to Harrakat, etc.
- Yes, I’m aware but I haven’t volunteered 
- Yes, I volunteer when I can 
- No, and I’m interested in helping 
- No, and I’m unable/uninterested in volunteering
Is there anything we could do to get you volunteering or more involved with MEDGE?
- I will talk with you. I have a varied schedule so I may not be consistent.
- Love volunteering
- Will volunteer again in summer when I’m on break from school
- Work schedule causes constraints certain times of year.
- Make membership more accessible and less expensive to those interested. Sliding scale or sponsorship
- More perks for volunteers – discounts on workshops, raffle tickets at FF, make sure people know about these
- Living out of town makes challenging. Add’l, interests are more fusion-oriented
- Some local places suggest 2 fees – 1 for volunteers and a higher one for those who can’t.
- I just need my own motivation.
- I volunteer when I can but I already have lots on my plate.
- No – I’m pretty involved
- If I lived in Eugene, I would be more involved with MEDGE.
- I really like to encourage my students to join MEDGE and to volunteer. It would be neat to have a little flyer to hand them that talks about MEDGE and the ways to volunteer. I usually just tell them and point them to the membership form and/or website.
- Plan ahead
Workshops and Guest Instructors
What are the most important factors to you when deciding to attend a workshop?
- price 
- scheduling 
- subject matter 
- instructor 
- other 
- Fall fest is a bad time for me to attend multiple workshops, because I usually perform with several groups and also volunteer, so I feel over committed. I love to support the spring workshops.
The costs of hosting guest instructors have risen. If MEDGE offered workshops with visiting master instructors only once yearly, would you be
- more likely to attend 
- less likely to attend 
- doesn’t make a difference 
If MEDGE hosted specialty workshops with local instructors, would you be likely to attend?
- Yes 
- No 
What regional instructors would you like to see MEDGE sponsor?
- Razia Star
- Elena Villa
- Cassandra Rose
- Elisa Gamal
- Ruby Beh
- Sedona Soulfire
- Rachel Brice
- Quinn Donovan
- Ashley Lopez
- Ruby McConnell
- Paulette Reese Denis
- Regina Anne
- Zoe Jakes
- Sarina Dorie
- Grace Constantine
- All our teachers are great, but anything tribal or fusion would be most welcomed.
Donations, Fees, and Fundraising
Some festivals require performers to pay a registration fee. If MEDGE instituted a registration fee for each performance slot at the Fall Festival, would you sign up to perform?
- Yes 
- No 
- Depends on the fee 
- $5.00 wouldn’t be to much
- A small fee would be ok with me. – Maybe students should be a small fee of $5.00?
- I really don’t like the “pay to play” approach, since I already am a member and I feel like I pay to support the guild. To ask me to pay *again* when I am performing and giving away my art? I don’t like that idea at all. I’d rather make a larger yearly dues payment/donation to the guild ($25 yearly dues per person?). Also, we have many teachers who perform with their students at our events; perhaps all students could be required to either join the guild in order to perform OR they pay a small registration fee ($5?). I’ve also attended events that required participation in a workshop, or gave performance priority to those who signed up for a workshop, and/or to those who volunteer at the event. That’s another way to show support.
- Not sure
- If it wasn’t too expensive, I would pay it.
- If small, like $5
- I feel places that require registration fee have over-abundance of dancers and want to “weed out” less professional dancers. Not the case here. I certainly would not pay to dance, but WOULD give donations.
- I’d really prefer no fee. We are not making tips or using the Festival to promote ourselves. I would rather just donate on nights I perform.
- I don’t know how many applications you get for Fall Festival evening show. Really can’t say if we’d still get the great line-up we always have if you instituted a fee for the evening performance slots. The daytime slots are great for beginning dancers and I think that they’d be less inclined to try their wings at Fall Festival.
- N/A as I do not perform
- Paying to perform is insulting. Especially considering the time, effort and money it takes to get to that point. I will never pay to perform unless it’s a competition.
- I wanted to put my two cents out there for the board as I haven’t been able to attend meetings lately and it looks like some serious discussions are underway about finances within MEDGE. Not necessarily relating to the Fall Fest: Please, please, please don’t resort to a ”pay to play” system for MEDGE events! I understand that events both large and small are costly to organize but I would suggest organizing fewer events that are more profitable, instead of charging the performers. I don’t know how other dancers feel about this, but I already pay for my training, costumes, studio time, and promotional material, all of which make it possible for me to perform. So why should I also pay to perform? Isn’t that the audience’s job? Personally, I would be happy to make a general donation to MEDGE on a regular basis NOT relating to performing, (many non profits have this option via their websites), pay a higher yearly fee, etc. I would consider many other options before I paid to perform at a show. All this said, I don’t see why MEDGE can’t have a fallow year or two where the amount of activities organized is downsized to help the budget recover, and allow for the dance community to expand and for more enthusiasm to build. Instead of a MEDGE sponsored student show in a theater, why don’t some of the local teachers involved organize the event themselves? Find a dance studio or venue that is cheaper than a theater? Instead of two big events with Big Star teachers, just have one event for a while? I wish I had more glamorous solutions. I wish I had more solutions!
- I think you will drive away performers and drive away existing members.
Donations have fallen, so MEDGE needs help to offset the cost of renting the theater for the Student Show. Do you think that:
- Teachers should pay a fee for their student groups to perform
- Students should pay a small fee to perform 
- We should charge audience members an admission fee 
- Other or some combination of the above (please specify)
- A large theater isn’t an appropriate place for a student show. I feel that a more “low key” environment like a community center would be more appropriate.
- All of them
- Charge a registration fee for each performance
- Fee & audience donation. Adults only? Family Max? Group Max? (audience members question)
- I don’t think we had a suggested donation collection last year. I think that we could have a little more obvious door fee for guests without a fixed admission fee
- It’s a student show rather than a professional show so asking the audience to pay may be a little off-putting.
- Or don’t rent somewhere fancier than we usually use… use a grange or a community location. People will still come and students will still dance.
- sliding scale admission fee. Free entrance if you become a MEDGE MEMBER.
- small admission fee and student non-member performer fee would work too. Also could have the student event at a less expensive venue, like a church, school, or smaller theater. The Wildish is posh, but awfully expensive for a “giveaway” event.
- Small per group/performance fee/small audience admission
- Teachers and students
- teachers should pay a fee for their student groups to perform
- We get rid of the student show altogether because Fall Festival is open to student performers. If students want to perform, they can perform for the general public.
If MEDGE needs to turn to fundraising to stay financially solvent, which of the following would you participate in? (please select all that apply)
- Papa’s Pizza 
50% of all money spent by our supporters on a given time/day would go to MEDGE
- Ninkasi Pints for a Cause 
a percentage of money spent by supporters goes to MEDGE
- movie night 
- grant proposal writing 
- Would you be willing to participate in grant writing?
- Yes 
- Would you be willing to participate in grant writing?
- an introductory workshop for belly dance newcomers 
- a donation button on the MEDGE website 
- an option to donate when renewing membership 
- other 
Please describe your other idea(s) here:
- (In response to grant writing) This is a skill I’d like to try out, I just took a grant writing class.
- I can host a fundraiser every once in awhile @ Cowfish – I get a month fundraising space: Karaoke wars; dance off; belly dance from space; belly dance fashion show.
- Benefit show for MEDGE
- I could maybe help with writing a grant proposal
- Kick-starting. Comments: I am surprised the one suggestion on here that should be is regarding diversity of acts. If MEDGE wants old members to return, or to gain new people, they need to try more diversity, include fusion to gain the fusion audience and get the fusion community to return.