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Article 030500 - New
Ideas, 2000 Lessons
|| Well, Lessons are here. Ready? You have 4, 5 or
even more squares starting right? The first night went great
right? Now its the second week, They all came back right?
Lots of new folks showed up too, Right? Its the third week, they
all came back, more new folks showed up right?
Bet I'm wrong!
| Let me guess, you read the
books, you talked to Callers that have been around for years and you had
a plan. Did you start them in a big circle? Did you mix them
up real good and teach then Do Si do, Rt & Lt grand or even swing?
Did you do that for all your new folks?
I bet you even told them all about the great things in square
dancing like the dress code, and you need volunteers to help out, they
had to be at every lesson, and they must join the club. I bet you
stayed right with the Callerlab list and didn't vary from it at all.
| So where did
they all go? Why did they not come back? Why is there no
young folks, kids or singles? Why did they drop out after four or
| Okay, this may not be the
answer, but it will be darn close.
Lets start with your first night. Do not start
with big circles. Go straight to making squares. They do
not want to play children's games, they came to square dance, so teach
them square dancing for goodness sake. Do not rotate the girls,
never, never, never. Why? First of all, many folks are out
of their comfort zone if you do. They are not ready to do anything
more than a Do Si Do or left allemande with a stranger. Do not
even show that to them till the 4th or 5th week. By then, they
have gotten to know the group and will adapt to it a little easier.
Expose them to a singing call on the first night, not
some stupid one that know one has ever heard, a popular one they may
have heard on the radio. A hum dinger! And do not rotate
the girls. Keep them with their partners.
|| I bet you just had to tell them about the dresses
and long sleeved shirts. No Hats, No Tennis Shoes, No Pants for
the girls (Dresses only), No gum, No modified interpretation of the
moves like arm around Do Si Do's, or twirls.
I say you let them do what they want, suggest prairie
dresses at best, if they want to, and who cares about a man's
comfortable dress shirt over a dress long sleeve shirt. I say back
| That has got to be one of the
first things to scare them off, next to dancing with a complete
stranger. I am willing to bet that after about 2 months, they will
have square dance dresses or prairie, and men will have long sleeved
shirts without you even having to push the issue. Let them make
the decision when their ready. And if the women pick prairie
dresses, Great, at least you have them.
| Lets see, Bet you had to tell them about
joining the club, Right? Man, are we learning anything?
This is the new millennium, People are busy, very busy.
You better just be glad they walked through the door. And you
want them to sign up for food, cleaning, join the club, kitchen duty
and who knows what else.
| Why don't you just teach them
square dancing, and let them have fun. If they are available,
they will let you know when they are ready. Let the group have
a question and answer time. If they ask, then tell them, bet
someone will, maybe not the first night, but they will, then you can
suggest what is available. But make it clear, your just glad
they are there. If they do not want to join the club, or
volunteer, who cares, just be glad they are there. Once again,
after about 2 to 3 months, I bet they join.
| I would not say this at all if I
could not prove it. I have always kept a 80% retention or
better to any age group I have called to. My dancers not only
have fun, they can dance anywhere and do well. I teach all
position dancing from day one.
Now I still listen to advise, and I am always looking for
better ideas. But not from you, not from club members, I
listen and watch my dancers. If they have concerns, you can
see it in their eyes, and some will even tell you if your lucky.
But normally they just don't come back.
I suggest to change your perspective. Something is
wrong, just look at the numbers. Something is wrong, and its
not square dancing. Its us!
Time to ask why, Time to change our ways, time to listen to the new
folks, Time to increase the numbers and maybe bury some old traditions, or they may bury us.
|By Rob Scribner
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