Class In 3 Days – Four Corners Area

So in the fall of 2003 the club decided to try a different approach. We had heard about the accelerated lesson program at the 52nd National Square Dance Convention® and continued to hear good things about it. We decided to try it in September. We advertised in the local newspapers, but we did not have any new dancers show up so we only did the one day. We felt some of our weaker dancers from the two previous classes really benefited from that
one day so it was not a loss.

Recruiting Old & New Dancers (Belles and Beaus-Pomeroy, OH)

The Belles and Beaus of Pomeroy, Ohio had a new dancer group of 7 couples and 3 singles in 2002. Their success in recruiting was attributed to two activities. Several weeks prior to the start of their new dancer session a written invitation was sent to former dancers inviting them to a “Come Back to Square Dancing Party”. They obtained the membership lists from three area clubs that had folded plus past membership lists of their own. They also placed ads in 3 local newspapers. The papers listed their club activities and new dancer group in their social calendar. The papers also carried a news story a couple of weeks prior to the start of their new dancer session.

Larkspur Tam Twirlers – Invite Public

Realizing a marketing opportunity in having the non-dancing public see a large Saturday dance, the club recently advertised their dance to the general public. Non-dancers were invited to attend at no charge. A special introductory session was held 30 minutes prior to the dance, during which the caller taught some basics with the club dancers filling the floor. After the half-hour was completed the public was invited to stay and watch the square dancing. Between tips, mixers and easy lines were played with everyone invited to join in. Twenty non-dancers attended and thoroughly enjoyed themselves with several joining a new dancer session that started 3 weeks later.

New Dancers – (Crosstrailers – Warren, OH)

We have enjoyed thirty-seven new dancers (students) for lessons this year ….. thirty-seven! Our lesson nights have ten to eleven squares, and yes, they are a bit noisy with all the laughter and fellowship.

When we polled our new dancers to see what brought them to our lessons and squares, thirty-seven came because of a personal invite; one couple found our club on the Internet. Sixteen new dancers said they had previously seen a demo; four had seen a flyer at a fair; and four read our article in the local newspaper. However, this did not bring them to our lessons …. it was the personal invitation that brought them to lessons.

Club For Classes – Only

The Boomerangs is a club that is not a club. We are not a dancing club; rather we are a teaching council with multitiered classes. We exist for one purpose, to hold square dance classes.Our concept has been a combination of already tried ideas and new ideas. We are always evolving and trying to adjust to changing times.

Recruiting Success – New Zealand

A number of clubs in New Zealand have had much better success than usual attracting new dancers this year. None of us are quite sure why, but we think it has a lot to do with the general theme of our advertising, which has been “If you enjoy walking for pleasure and exercise, you’ll love square dancing”.

Winning Ways (2003/2009/2018) Sage Swingers

In the various square dance magazines and web sites you can read how square dance clubs and national organizations have plans for advertising square dancing, for “improving” our public image, for altering the dance program and for growing memberships. For the SAGE Swingers in the process began with a change in philosophy. What are the club’s goals for its dancers? The Club thinks this can determine how you go about gaining and keeping new members.

Gnat Boxers (Wooster, Ohio) New Class

The Gnat Boxers of Wooster, Ohio have 22 members in their new dancer group for the 2002-2003 dance year. They have 4 singles, 2 men and 2 women, and 9 couples that range in age from their late 30’s to early 40’s. The destination level is plus with all the calls taught in one continuous season starting in September to mid April. This past year they had a story in the local paper with a picture of two couples with contact names listed. The club also has a float they use in area parades which gets good audience reaction. The club also does demos for local activities and passes out flyers, with word of mouth still the best advertisement.

Valley Trailers

During the early 1990’s, the Valley Trailers Square Dance Club of Northridge, California had lost much of its membership from earlier years. The club had also fallen on bad times financially. The then board of directors decided that something new should be tried in order to secure the club’s future.

It was decided to try the Multi-Cycle new dancer program to see if this would bring in more revenue and class members. The President approached caller Vern Weese, who was familiar with the program, to teach the class and in September of 1994, the Multi-Cycle program was started using a 12 + 12 system through the plus program.

Square Dance Video – Public TV – California

We received the following information from Mary Knoppe with information about a square dance video program made available to viewers on Public Access television in the Santa Clara Valley area of Northern California. Our first taping was on April 19, 2004. We have taped a total of 26 shows since our starting date. We tape at the Comcast studio in San Jose, Ca. On each show taping date, two 28 minute programs are taped. Shows are live tape (no post production editing).

Accelerated New Dancer Class

This report is from the Hubs Square dance Club in Geauga County, Ohio and their caller, Ray Miller. It concerns the Hubs and their accelerated square dance class for the season 2004-05. The club started the class in October 2004 and continued through the last Monday in February 2005 with graduation on Monday March 6, 2005. Each class was three hours long and scheduled from 7 -10 PM. With the help of some very dedicated angels we were able to cover a large amount of material, using the CALLERLAB teaching list, each night and still have time for a great deal of review.

Multi-Cycle Success

There is some good news for square dance clubs that want to grow. A solid solution is available to help any club willing to be smart and progressive. But the club must have people who are willing to make some fundamental changes in programming and attitudes. The Multi Cycle system offers two or more starts for new dancers each year. Clubs using this system reach more people more often. New dancers are tireless, enthusiastic recruiters and they tap into new networks of friends and associates not just once, but two or more times per year.

TV Publicity

The Town Howlers have gained a lot of publicity for their club and square dancing through the use of their local cable TV company and the efforts of club member Rick Williams.

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.