Recruiting Success – Square Benders (2002)

The Square Benders are currently one of the larger clubs in the Milwaukee, WI area with 22 couples and 13 singles. Their 2002-2003 new dancer group has 5 couples and 5 singles. This group of new dancers came from several sources. The club runs an ad in the local paper, beginning in June, with a number to contact for more information. The names are recorded of all those responding for later follow up. One couple invited members from their Bible Study Group and another invited people from their camping club.

Multi-Cycle Teaching Method

The AL e MO Squares, 150 members strong, will celebrate their 25th Anniversary in May 2003. They are holding an Anniversary Dance and through personal contact, by club members, they have invited several of the local politicians to be their guests. They run a 10 + 10 program with 27 new dancers this year. They alternate tips during the evening with those in the first group serving as angels for the newest dancers. They graduate their new dancers at Mainstream.

Youth Dancing

Mike suggested that they contact the local Co-operative Extension Office (4H) to see if they would be interested in sponsoring the teens as a part of 4H. Not only was the Co-operative Extension Office hugely interested, they have offered to give the group a hall every Friday night at no charge! It will also be publicized in the 4H catalogue as a part of their many programs for youth. But this is not the end of the story.

Dancing In A Social Club

The Kittyhawk Squares are a social club that square dances and not a square dance club that socializes. We have an excellent home dance location: The Lathrem Senior Center of the Kettering Recreational Center. They help recruit and publicize our events in their bi-monthly news letter.

Experimental Lesson Systems

This article summarizes several experimental approaches to teaching new dancers known to be in use at the time of writing.

All of these systems are aimed at the recruiting of new people into a system of progressive lessons that graduate them as Modern Western Square Dancers capable of dancing some CALLERLAB square dance program (for example, Mainstream or Plus). The systems described are Multi-Cycle, Condensed Teaching Order, Sustainable Square Dance, The NEST, and General Dance Program.

Extended But Not Extreme – Plus

There are many calls for which we have well known “standard” applications, and we have even documented many of them in the Standard Applications documents. “Standard”, however, does not mean “easier” — it really means “more common”. There are many infrequently used applications that are not hard, they’re just infrequent. Because they’re infrequent, dancers bobble when they hear them, so we avoid them, so they stay infrequent: vicious circle. If you are interested in enriching your dancers’ experience with usages that are not hard, just infrequently used, this session is for you.

Community Dance / Party Night Resources

This summary page points to material useful for doing single party nights or other dances aimed at people with no prior dance training. These dances are intended to be stand-alone events held strictly for the enjoyment of the dancers on that night. They are not designed to be recruiting vehicles for MWSD clubs, although there may well be cases where such an event might pique someone’s interest in a MWSD club.

Caller Drill Program

IDEA: One of the most difficult parts of learning to call is finding opportunities to practice with live dancers. Today’s computer technologies could compensate for some of that by providing a program to drill callers that are in the process of learning choreographic techniques that require them to quickly see patterns and make decisions about how to manipulate the square.

Amateur Caller Night

IDEA: Recruiting new callers: Once a year in our area, a club in our area has an “amateur callers night”. It is announced a few months in advance. Criteria is that you are interested in calling and/or you have never been paid to call a dance. I personally know of 4 people who have become callers from this event.

Recruit Exchange Students

IDEA: Many universities and colleges have exchange student programs or foreign student programs where young people come from other countries to advance their education. Often these students are interested in new social activities, especially ones that serve to introduce them to western culture. Many of these institutions have special exchange student social programs. Approaching the people coordinating such programs could generate interest in scheduling square dances for the students.

Pump Toppers

IDEA: Many gas stations have advertising on top of their pumps. In many cases this space is for sale and could be used to advertise square dance lessons or events.

Large Event Planning

This presentation session covered how to plan for events that are larger than a standard club dance, either in duration or number of dancers. This could range anywhere from a special club dance where other clubs are invited to attend, all the way to a major convention spanning several days and employing multiple callers in multiple halls.

Finding Music

This article aggregates a number of sources for obtaining music suitable for square dancing. It includes both music specially produced for square dancing and also sources of alternative music.