This account from Jerry Junck describes a seemingly trivial change in the way dancers are seated during breaks which he believes has improved the social atmosphere of the group and lead to an increase in the number of dancers attending his dance. Something to think about …
For years I had always set up my hall with two rows of chairs in the back, side by side. Never really gave that a thought, but did it because “that is what I’ve always done.” That section is a 20 foot wide area behind a row of four columns. Too small an area to dance, but great for seating away from the floor.
Two seasons ago, my activity director decided to leave tables set up in that area all the time. I wasn’t all that sure about it, but that is what she wanted. They set two rectangular tables set end to end. Each table will each seat 4 people on a side, and there are ten sets of these tables. That seats 160 people. Using my old method of chairs side by side, I could not seat that many dancers.
What I have found is that dancers LOVE those tables. To the extent that I believe it has contributed to the growth of this dance in these last two seasons. Also, people are arriving earlier to “stake out” their tables for their friends. This has given dancers a place to put their drinks, their bags, and plates, if we have treats, and a place to put their elbows, if nothing else. It has increased the social aspect of the evening tremendously. Much easier to visit with people across the table rather than down the line beside them on chairs.
As an aside, I just called a dance here in Nebraska this afternoon for a club I started 51 years ago. They are not a big group anymore, but they also set up tables for people to sit around, rather than on the benches around the hall. It was amazing to watch how much they enjoyed being able to visit with each other.