Success Strategy – Broken Wheel Squares (Kirtland, OH)

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Mike and Rose Speers at RVROSE @Earthlink.net or 28845 Serenity Lane, Wickliffe, OH 44092. 2003-10-30

The 35th Anniversary Year of the Broken Wheel Squares came at just the right time. The club was in the doldrums. It had inexperienced leadership, an aging membership and was losing its spark. To many we were just going through the motions. We had good dances, but any excitement was coming from the caller not the membership. We were losing money on about a third of our dances and were surviving by the thinnest of margins.

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

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Betty Knight (club president) 2003-07-06

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.

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Larkspur Tam Twirlers – Invite Public

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Eric Henerlau 2003-07-19

The Larkspur Tam Twirlers, which dances during the week, periodically sponsors a Saturday night special when other clubs, are invited. These dances are typically plus level. Occasionally, the dance may be a red light/green light dance where half the tips are new dancer level.

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.

The Lakespur Tam Twirlers use a multi-cycle new dancer format. The destination level is Plus.

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New Dancers – (Crosstrailers – Warren, OH)

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Margie McCummins 2004-03-30

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.

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Growth Thru Classes – Greenville, PA

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Shirley Newbrough Club Correspondent 2004-12-01

An encouraging story about a club rejuvenating itself.

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Square Dance Video – Background

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Spring Park, MN,
Dee Scott: 952-472-2987
2005-01-01

This report provided Questions and Answers concerning the Square Dance Video produced by the Minnesota square dancers.

In October and November, 2003, Ken and Dee Scott took classes at the Lake Minnetonka Communications Commission TV studio in Spring Park, Minnesota and became ‘certified community television producers.’ This certification entitled them to use the LMCC studio free of cost for any TV production they wished to undertake. Being square dancers, they thought a TV show would be the perfect way to communicate the many extraordinary qualities of square dance to the public.

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Club For Classes – Only

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Boomerangs – Washington, DC Area
Becky & Hoyt Stewart, 4414 South 34th Street, Arlington, VA 22206, Phone; 703-578-0132 E-mail: beckv.hovt@verizon.net
2004-03-20

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.

We started with a small group of dancers and one caller who met almost on a weekly basis during the formative months. The members began with a vision and contributed their time, energy and funds to begin the council. Then we recruited additional callers and dedicated angels to help make this teaching concept a reality. We exist through the support of our local callers, angels and a very dedicated council who are the managers and administrator of our group.

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Teen Dancing (Petaluma, CA)

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Scott Byars 2004-08-01

This is a report on teen dancers in Petaluma, CA as reported in the Press Democrat By Janet Parmer.

—–

Petaluma’s youth bop to a new beat and learn it’s fun to dance to a different tune! Aleksandra and Danielle Olivera once dreaded being dragged to square dances. Now the St. Vincent High School students are largely responsible for the dramatic increase in teenagers learning to square dance in Petaluma. They’ve lured many of their friends to the Tuesday night Adobe Squares club, and most have returned voluntarily to learn more dance steps. The Adobe Squares beginning square dance class, which meets at the Petaluma Women’s club, is anything but traditional, with teens almost outnumbering adults.

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New Class Promotion, South Milwaukee, WI

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story 49’ersSquare Dance Club
South Milwaukee, WI
Bernie Coulthurst, editor of the Club Leadership Journal
2003-01-01

Hard work and perseverance has paid off for the 49’ersSquare Dance Club of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There are 24 new dancers in their 2002-03 class. Their promotional efforts started in 1999 after not having any new dancers in 1997 or 1998.

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Winning Ways (2003/01/02) Sage Swingers

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Brunswick, ME
FoundationFL@aol.com for more information.
2003-02-01

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.

The Clubs goals today are different from what they might have been five and ten years ago. For example, at SAGE Swingers some of our goals are:

  1. To help the club grow by getting more new members
  2. To make sure people are having a good time learning to dance.
  3. Insure that new members return.


Here are some of the “old” goals the club no longer strives for.

  1. The Club does not feel people need to graduate from a Mainstream program by a certain date.
  2. Classes do not have to start in September only.
  3. Learning to dance is not a race to see how quickly you can get to Plus or A-1
  4. The Club tends to downplay classic square dance clothes and make sure people know it’s optional
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Valley Trailers

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story GNorthridge, CA
John Nash,
info@valleytrailers.org
2002-05-15

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.

For the first couple of years, very little improvement was seen in membership, although starting classes four times each year did increase the overall number of new dancers. In December of 1995, Vern left the area and Mike Seastrom took over as the class instructor. At about that same time, the Multi-Cycle program started becoming profitable. However, the level of the dancers graduating at plus after only 24 weeks was not acceptable.

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Fun Nights – Introduce Square Dancing

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Walt Cooley, Northern California 2002-04-26

One of our members runs a local bed and breakfast which happens to be an old farm (Victorian farmhouse and a big old barn). At his suggestion, we’ve started having dances on our regular club night over at his barn about once every 6 weeks, and we invite all three of the local clubs. These have turned into a regular affair. It has become traditional that everyone dresses down a little (more jeans, even some of the ladies), and warmer (the barn is unheated), and folks bring more food. Also, in a newly forming tradition, we always have a Virginia Reel and occasionally a contra in addition to our squares. We get lots of visitors and usually have no trouble filling the barn (pretty easy, since it can only hold around 5-6 squares). This is a very old-fashioned thing– no entry fee, no minimum dance level, no club membership required, just bring something to share and come to visit and dance.

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Growth In Dallas/Ft. Worth

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Jim & Ann Short, Dallas, TX 2003-03-13

In May 2002, Jim & Ann asked to chair a “Growth Committee” for the North Texas Square and Round Dance Association. The primary direction was to try to figure out a way to turn around the declining membership in the association. They talked with callers and dancers from all over. They asked what had worked in other parts of the country. They also asked what hadn’t worked. They asked for ideas for might work. They “stole” ideas from everyone they could find. Their conclusion was that there were two basic problems: Recruiting and Lesson format.

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Leadership Seminar

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Akron, OH, Tom Rudebock, Larry Cole 2003-06-08

In March 2003 the Akron Area Square and Round Dance Federation sponsored a Saturday afternoon Leadership Seminar for all member clubs and clubs from the neighboring Federations. All area callers and cuers were extended an invitation. There were 96 in attendance.

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Recruiting Success – Square Benders (2002)

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Square Benders – Milwaukee, WI, Ruth Witt, Eric Tangmann 2003-04-24

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. They lost some this past year due to health reasons, work schedule conflict and snow birds. Each year approximately 35 invitation letters are mailed.

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Multi-Cycle Teaching Method

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Brooklyn, NY
Vincent Nunziato, Club President
2003-03-23

The AL e MO Squares, 150 members strong, will celebrate their 25 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. Their new dancer sessions run from 7 to 9 PM, September through April, with a plus workshop from 9 – 10 PM. There is no set time for the plus graduation. AL e MO’s have good member participation with the new dancer sessions normally exceeding 8 squares. They charge $4.00 per session and the angels pay. A good hospitality table is an attractive addition on workshop nights

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Dancing In A Social Club

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Kittyhawk Squares
Marvin Stibich
2003-03-23

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.

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Experimental Lesson Systems

Article Type Author Last Update Description

Summary

Barry Clasper 2018-03-22

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

All of these systems are aimed at the recruiting of new people into a system of progressive lessons from which they graduate as Modern Western Square Dancers capable of dancing some CALLERLAB square dance program (for example, Mainstream or Plus). This is in contrast to approaches aimed at entertaining non-dancers with no previous training for a single evening (for example, ABC, Community Dance, etc.) Material on those types of systems may be found here.

Some of these systems are simply revised teaching orders or innovative approaches to teaching a current program. Others are predicated on a revision of one or more current CALLERLAB program lists. Clearly, for those requiring changes to CALLERLAB programs universal adoption would require the appropriate committee approvals. Inclusion in this article does not imply such approvals are imminent or even likely.

Some of these initiatives are the result of CALLERLAB committee activity, others were created by CALLERLAB members independently of CALLERLAB, and still others were created by people with no CALLERLAB connection at all. Inclusion in this summary in no way implies that CALLERLAB officially endorses, recommends, or supports the system. This information is provided solely to acquaint you with known experimental systems.

In recent years a great deal of effort has been put into devising more effective teaching systems. These are primarily aimed at training new dancers more rapidly, and enabling multiple intakes of new dancers each year.

Following are some of the more prominent efforts:

Multi-Cycle

The term “multi-cycle” has been around for many years and has been applied to a variety of lesson systems. In general, the term implies that the teaching system in use permits new dancer intakes more than once a year. The term first evolved when adding a second intake in January was considered real progress. More recently, such systems aim to allow much more frequent intakes.

Click on the following link to see further knowledgebase articles on initiatives that could be considered “multi-cycle”: Multi-Cycle Articles

Condensed Teaching Order

This system was devised by a CALLERLAB Ad Hoc Committee to include a condensed teach system of calls. The documentation includes the suggested calls to teach along with abbreviated definitions, teaching tips and other useful information. The strategy is to teach the most frequently used subset of Basic and MS calls first so that students can more quickly be integrated into an existing group already dancing MS.

Sustainable Square Dance

Sustainable Square Dancing is the rubric Jerry Story has applied to a comprehensive effort he is leading to change the current most prevalent approach to recruiting, teaching, and retaining new dancers. It is based on Jerry’s experience in Iowa showing that teaching fewer calls more thoroughly, retaining new dancers in the entry level for a longer period, and exposing them to a broader range of call applications provides greater success.

Jerry’s design contains a number of parts, including a modified entry list that he calls Club Level 50 and a document that contains a detailed lesson plan containing sample choreography that illustrates both standard and extended applications. CALLERLAB has created an Ad Hoc Sustainable Square Dance Committee charged with the task of creating this document. The committee completed its draft of the document in September of 2017 and it now has approval from the Board of Governors for formal publishing as a CALLERLAB document. Regardless of how well accepted the overall Sustainable Square Dance initiative turns out to be, the SSD lesson plan document promises to be a valuable contribution to the activity.

At this point, the overall system, including the modified entry list, has not been discussed or approved by either the Board of Governors or the Mainstream Committee. That discussion is expected to take place in conjunction with the approval and publishing of the lesson plan document. Even after such approvals, SSD will still have the status of an Experimental Lesson System. Becoming a full CALLERLAB program such as Mainstream or Plus requires a vote of the full CALLERLAB membership, which, by design, is a lengthy process.

The NEST

The primary reason THE NEST system was developed was so prospective square dance students would no longer have to wait to take lessons. In other words, it was designed to encourage and facilitate the perpetual integration of new students into the classroom. Our goal has always been to create a learning environment so students could enroll anytime – thereby allowing us to recruit anytime – thus, enabling us to promote anytime. Never again having to tell folks they have to “wait ‘til September” or ????.

General Dance Program

This program was created by the Santa Clara Valley Square Dance Association (SCVSDA) as a means to integrate new dancers more quickly into their Plus community.

What is the General Dance Program?

GDP is three things:

  1. An easy and fun way to get more people square dancing
  2. A list of calls, about half the calls in the full program of Basic, Mainstream, and Plus
  3. A series of dances sponsored by SCVSDA using the GDP call list
Why should I come to GDP dances?

Because you want more square dancers. Learning the full Plus program takes a long time (particularly because most Plus clubs do at least some APD/DBD), and it’s clear from the declining size of the square dance community that this discourages many people from square dancing. It takes less than half the time to learn GDP, which gives us a chance to grow the community again.

Because you’ll have fun. The intent of GDP is “half the calls, ninety percent of the fun”. If you’re a Plus dancer who sometimes feels that Plus hoedowns are a bit too hard, you definitely want to come to a GDP dance.

What is missing from GDP?

For the most part, the missing calls are similar in function to other calls (e.g., Dive Thru), rarely used (e.g., Do Paso), or more complicated (e.g., Linear Cycle). GDP dances also use simpler choreography, avoiding APD/DBD and concentrating on “standard applications”.



Community Dance / Party Night Resources

Article Type Author Last Update Description
Summary Barry Clasper (barry@clasper.ca) 2015-08-21

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.

The article below lists a number of systems or repositories of material to help design single-night dances.

    CALLERLAB Dances Resource Website
    This Dance Resource is a compilation of Beginner Party Dances, Community Dances, Contra Dances, and Traditional Square Dances. Dances are grouped by type and listed in HTML code for easy viewing. Each dance is also available to be downloaded as either a Rich Text File or a .pdf file. There are also supporting documents including a Glossary of Calls and Formation Diagrams.
    ABC
    Enjoy a fun, easy beginner square dance with no experience and no commitment needed. There are three different dances. The A, B, and C dances can be experienced in any order. (This is the main difference between ABC Square Dancing and traditional “lesson-based” approaches. You can do the three beginner dances in any order.) After dancing all three dances (in any order), dancers have learned 24 square dance calls. The next step is the experienced “ABC” dance using those 24 calls. New dancers and their friends can start ABC Square Dancing at any time by dancing the individual A, B and C dances in any order.
    Lloyd Shaw Foundation
    The Lloyd Shaw Foundation is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and teaching of the folk dances of America. This site contains much reference material and music for traditional dance forms.
    Community Dance Journals
    The CD Journal (formally titled CDP Journal) is published several times a year by the Committee for Community and Traditional Dance (CCTD). The Community Dance Program Journal is aimed at providing material to support dance events for non-dancers: party nights, intro nights, demos, etc. The material uses a limited number of calls (about 24) and allows the engagement of people with no prior square dance experience. Each Journal edition documents a number of such dances and the CD Journal has been published since 1992.
    Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS)
    This website contains a great deal of material and references regarding Square Dancing and other related dance forms.
    Dancing For Busy People
    This book contains over 400 dances that can be taught quickly to non-dancers.
    YouTube BDPLS Channel
    Each year CALLERLAB holds a convention which is a major education and networking opportunity for callers. For many years the convention has been immediately preceded by a 1-1/2 day seminar for callers who do party nights and dance events for non-dancers. It was named the Beginner Dance Party Leaders Seminar (BDPLS). Many hours of videos were taken during these seminars. Cal Campbell has posted 256 videos showing dance teaches from the BDPLS and other sources. Written descriptions of dances can often be difficult to follow if you haven’t seen the dance action and this resource lets you see many of the most popular ones.



Recruit Exchange Students

Article Type Submitter Date Links Description
Idea Sharon Frank 2015-03-29 (None)

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.


Marketing On A Shoestring Budget

Article Type Event Date Presenter Links Description
Presentation CALLERLAB Convention March 2014 Patrick Schwerdtfeger Video

This video shows the keynote address at the 2014 CALLERLAB convention in Reno, Nevada. It spawned the now famous catchphrase that “Nobody is talking about square dancing because nobody is talking about square dancing”.