Western Square Dancing - DOSADO.COM - The Original Community Page for Modern Western Square Dancing
Western Square Dancing - DOSADO.COM - The Original Community Page for Modern Western Square Dancing
The Original Community Page for Modern Western Square Dancing
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Offer Square Dance Lessons All Year Round
by Nasser Shukayr, Shreveport, Louisiana

New dancers are the lifeblood of this activity. We would like to bring in MORE new dancers, and to KEEP more of the new dancers we bring in. In many areas, beginner lessons start only once a year. This makes it hard to get new people into square dancing. Once we get new people in, if they miss two or three lessons in a row, they have to drop out. Then there are always some students who don't learn as quickly as others. Under the present system, these people either hold the entire class back,or they get frustrated and drop out.

These and other problems are solved by the Eight or Ten week plan for beginner lessons. This plan has recently been publicized a lot. The plan is working quite well in several different parts of the world.

Under this plan, beginner lessons are on a separate night. Brand-new beginners sign up for 8 to 10 weeks of "Beginner-1", perhaps from 7 to 8pm. After Beginner-1, the new dancers are welcome to come back again and again, at no charge, until they feel comfortable enough to move on. They will then take 8 to 10 weeks of Beginner-2 (perhaps from 8 to 9pm). Hopefully they will bring their non-dancing friends to Beginner-1 and be "angels" for them. After Beginner-2, the new dancers are welcome to come back to either Beginner-1 or -2 as often as they want (at no additional charge). Eventually they will want to take 8 to 10 weeks of Beginner-3 (perhaps 9 to 10pm). After Beginner-3, they can attend any of the three beginner segments, at no additional charge, as students or as "angels". The key to the plan is that lessons start every eight to ten weeks, or several times a year.

This plan has several strong points:

  • There will be FIVE or SIX opportunities per year to get started in square dancing, compared to only once a year under the present system. It should be easier to get people to commit to two months of lessons, as opposed to eight months. More starts per year and a lower commitment requirement adds up to more new dancers.
  • Because beginners are enthusiastic about square dancing, recruitme nt of new dancers is enhanced. New dancers are your best salesmen. In the existing system, recruitment is done by dancers who have been in the activity an entire year. Under the new plan, dancers with only eight to ten weeks experience are encouraged to bring their friends into square dancing.
  • If a student misses two or three lessons in a row, they can simply take the same 8 to 10 week segment again. They stay in the game. This lets you keep more of the new dancers who come in.
  • Students can go back through each segment again and again, until they feel comfortable enough to move on to the next segment. In fact, students are encouraged to repeat each segment, as "angels". We get to keep people who would have otherwise dropped out.
  • Because students can re-take each segment if they want to, the material can be presented at a slightly faster pace. The faster pace may encourage more young people to get into square dancing.
  • Former dancers will find it much easier to get back in. Instead of having to go through eight months of lessons, they may be able to take a refresher course of just the second or third beginner segments.

One question which may arise is what to do with new dancers once they finish the entire set of beginner lessons. Of course, it would be great for these new graduates to join the club sponsoring the lessons. But please remember that it is good for people to get into square dancing, whether t hey join your club or someone else's club. When graduation time approaches, you would probably want to plan visitations between the student group and the regular club group. Once the new dancers see how much fun the people in the regular club are having, it will be very difficult to KEEP them from join ing the regular club.

There is now a decision to be made: Will your square dance club go forward into the future with this new and improved plan for beginner lessons?

From the Western Square Dancing Web page. Copyright notice.
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