- If you aren t interested in the future of Square Dancing, then this could be a bit too long for you, so you might as well delete the message right hereMessage 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2000View SourceIf you aren't interested in the future of Square Dancing, then this could be a bit too long for you, so you might as well delete the message right here <<==========
(This message is Blind Carbon Copied to 15 other potentially interested parties not members of the SquareDanceToledo mailing list. If you wish further information about the list, let me know.)
I realize some clubs are having some concerns right now with things like where are we going to dance next year? Shall we have a class this fall or not? If we have a class, who will teach it? How can we finance a class with so few students in it, etc.?
I know sometimes things seem gloomy, but if we do nothing, where does that leave us? No class, means no new dancers, which eventually leads to declining memberships in the clubs and eventually the closing of the clubs.
But to quote Mr. Finch in the message attached below "One thing is SURE.......... if you aint trying SOMETHING....... you aint
succeeding at all."
We need to pick our brains and try harder. Every club member needs to be involved. Does your club have a representative who faithfully attends the TAWDLA meetings for info and involvement and to bring the info back to your club for consideration. To my knowledge, not all clubs that TAWDLA serves has representation at the meetings.
Why don't we have an association of clubs? Other areas of the country do.
Do you know some clubs only meet once per year for business matters? To me, that makes it difficult to get things accomplished. Why aren't we meeting monthly 3 and 4 months prior to the start of lessons to form a game plan for recruitment (and retention) of dancers and checking on each subgroups progress? If you club is one of these, I suggest you ask for an "emergency meeting" as soon as possible to change the bylaws and to get things rolling.
What good is it, if at the end of 9 months of classes we graduate only 50 percent of who we started with and lose half of the remaining after 2 years? Have you ever asked the old members of your club who dropped out, why they did? Have you ever asked the 50 percent of the class who did not complete, why? What kind of answer to you get from a previous dancer when you say, "Come out to the club dance tonight?" (The answer I usually get is, that they feel they had better retake the lessons again first.) What are these people trying to tell us? Take this collected information and work with it.
With all the classes so small, why not look into the possibility of combining classes with other clubs for better economics? Keep an open mind concerning this thought. If you are interested in this, I have some input on other areas of the country who are trying it. Sure it has some bugs, but "if you aint trying SOMETHING...... you aint succeeding at all"
One thing is for sure, what we have been trying is only successful in limited ways.
Why do some clubs shut down in the summer, just when the area graduates a new batch of dancers leaving them no where to maintain their skills. Even if your club had no class, new graduates from outlying areas need a place to dance at their newly acquired level or you may never see them as guest of your club in the Fall.
Why do we push brand new dancers into learning approximately 96 calls (over 180 when you consider the entire family) in 9 months when it took the old time angels a couple of years of dancing to get there. Remember the old "Quarterly Selections" where we were introduced experimental calls and had the chance to dance them for 3 months at a slower pace? Many of these calls eventually were put on the list of 96 calls, but we are asking our new students to learn them all in 9 months. This is not feasible while still developing GOOD dancers. This only sets the stage for weak, watered down dancing. Where are we going to find time to teach styling, timing, square dance history and etiquette, Ocean Wave rules, how to swing so you don't get dizzy, etc.? Grand Square (GS) is a nice figure to dance when done with proper timing, but we (callers) need time to emphasize and teach this fact. Many variations can be put into the figure, but without dancing it to the proper timing, a lot can be lost. Have you ever tried GS, 8 steps and ..... or GS, 12 steps and......, but while the dancers are not in proper timing.
It is my "learned" opinion, we have to slow down the pace. We need more clubs who only dance the first 66 calls or so. This should help in dancer burn out. Most people DON'T WANT TO COMMIT to 9 months of learning before they can dance with a club. We are "cramming the people to death". The way we are doing things now, if you miss a week and you're in trouble, but if you miss 2 weeks, forget it. That is self destructive. We further drag them to a Plus dance before they graduate and tell them "we will get you through it". Some people get frustrated and quit.
Mainstream can be fun. It doesn't have to be boring. There are many calls we only use from standard setups. There are a large variety of sequences that can be called. There are even some calls not used much but are on the list (Wrong Way Thar, Half Sashay, lefty choreo, etc.) Maybe, just maybe, with less commitment, we can attract (and hold) more dancers. If Mainstream is still boring, then the caller has not done his homework. Tell the caller you want more challenging Mainstream.
"If you aint trying SOMETHING...... you aint succeeding at all".
My feeling is you have to run your clubs like a business. Ask what does it cost to produce a product, then charge as necessary to make a small profit? Ask yourselves, what can we do to reduce cost? My observation in Florida has been, most clubs have lessons on the same night as their dances. Of course, a lot of the clubs have club callers and dance weekly. Why pay hall rental twice? We have gotten away from club callers. Maybe we need to return to those years.
Use the profit money for future promotional work. In other words, put the money back into the activity. If the public doesn't buy it, then change the product, but don't change the price where you are losing money. If you do lower the price (or keep it where it is now which is not keeping pace with the expenses), and you lose money, pretty soon no business (club).
I know it might be easier said than done, but "if you aint trying SOMETHING...... you aint succeeding at all". Believe me, I know, because I had a business for 20 years. One thing I did learn is, you do get your "second wind".
Nobody can do it by themselves, though. Every one needs to pitch in and help in their own little ways.
One of the things the SquareDanceToledo list was set up for was interactive conversation. Here is your chance.
I know some may respond to this in a negative way, taking issue with some things stated here. Maybe that is good. At least I got something started. Just don' make personal attacks. As was said before... "if you aint trying SOMETHING...... you aint succeeding at all".
By the way, support the new dancers, because they are our future lifeblood. See you all at the TAWDLA HiLow in Delta this Saturday at 7 pm. These dances were established with recent graduates in mind. They need to be sent a message that the angels are here to support them. We have been getting about 5 to 6 squares. I would love to see about ten.
Whew, this took about 24 hours to write. I hope I haven't stepped on anyone's toes. If so, I apologize.
Mike (Concerned for Square Dancing, because he still loves it) Gormley
P.O. Box 205
Liberty Center, OH 43532-0205
"Full Time RV'ers currently located in: Whitehouse, OH"
Web page linking to Genealogy, RV'ing & Square Dancing:
Below is a good marketing suggestion for a club to try. This was extracted from another mailing list I subscribe to.
>From the "For What it's Worth" section of square dance marketing.
One of the clubs i call for is trying a Square Dance Student Recruiting
They divided up by zip codes and will recruit students. Two teams, odds and
On Week # 4 of class..... the team that still has the most students still in
class, wins. The prize? The Losing team <grin> has to cook and serve
dinner to the Winning team and students.
The club, GoodTimes Squares, Las Vegas, is excited about the idea and
contest. Should be fun to watch. They have a membership of 140 so if Half
of them produce students... that would be a large class. I am hoping for 50
students. :-) Maybe... who knows.
One thing is SURE.......... if you aint trying SOMETHING....... you aint
succeeding at all.
AndyFinch, Las Vegas