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Club Corner

Growing Your Club

Every club has its own personality and what works for one club might not work so well for another club. What follows is a set of ideas presented at the 2007 National Square Dance Convention for growing your club.

Who should you be Targeting?

Remember you are competing for people’s leisure time.
Club Board members should develop a list of potential dancers throughout the year.

  • Young Married couples just starting out together in life and looking for friendly activities they can do together.
  • New people in your area
  • Retirees
  • Empty Nesters


Things to stress in recruiting efforts

  • Dispel the image that square dancing is “Barn Dancing” or what you learned in High School.  Use terms like Modern Western Square Dancing, or Modern American Square Dancing.
  • In your flyers and other advertising, let people know that square dancers come from all ages, and walks of life.
  • The need to have a partner – If you are not a Single’s Club, we recommend that you avoid recruiting singles.
  • That we dance to all kinds of music, not just country western as our image portrays.
  • You don’t need to know how to dance – “If you can walk to music, you can learn to square dance”.
  • Square dancing exercises the body as well as the brain.

How Do We Attract New Dancers

  • Demonstration Dances – with audience participation.
  • Advertising – Radio, Newspapers, Billboards, Banners, Flyers, Brochures, website, etc.
  • Get your club name out there by getting your name and picture in local newspapers, radio, or T.V. by doing volunteer and civic work.  This allows you to tell people what a great activity square dancing is.
  • Invite them to try free class.
  • Brochures and flyers in your Visitors Center.
  • Develop a Web Page.
  • Advertise in the Yellow Pages.
  • Writing letters to the Editor.
  • Invite prospects to visit your dances as guests and spectators.
  • Get members involved in the recruiting process:
  • The most effective way we have found is for members to invite new neighbors and friends.
  • The class that has just graduated are many times your best recruiters.  Long time members in the club have already brought in most of their friends who were interested in learning to square dance.
  • Note – Never advertise the length of time it takes to complete a class. Don’t lie, but Don’t stress.

Preparation Time Table 

  • Develop a list of potential dancers throughout the year. (Club Board should be doing this).
  • Inventory and order all necessary class materials Booklets, flyers, enrollment forms, handout  materials, etc. 
  • Send letter to club members about recruiting.

    Two (2) months prior to class

  • Start advertising class by the means you have available, such as, radio, TV, newspapers, banners, brochures, flyers, etc.

    One (1) month prior to class

  • Demonstration dances
  • Concentrate your advertising
  • Send letters to the prospects from your list
  • Reminder E-Mail, Phone Call or Letter to members about recruiting, and need for angels


  • Prior to First Class NightAngels must be given information about what is expected of them.  No fancy moves, no teaching in their square, etc. 
  • First Two Free Class Dates – club must demonstrate they are organized, competent, and friendly.  Should have greeters, separate enrollment area, angels to escort new dancers onto the dance floor, etc.  Have lots of Angels and Club Members there.
  • End of First Two Free Class Dates – Give informational letter to new dancers explaining what to expect in the coming weeks, what is expected, costs, how to pay, etc.
  • Beginning of First Paid Class Night – Handout additional information and answers to some frequently asked questions.

Important Tips for running a Class

  • Square Assignments – Assign new dancers to a position in a square.  They should dance in this square the entire night.  Angels should rotate between squares after every break.
  • Who Should Angel – Most Experienced Dancers or any Club Member?
  • Rotate Assignments Weekly - This prevents students from forming cliques, learning to depend upon a certain corner, etc.  We want students to bond with all the other students as soon as possible.
  • Posting of Square Assignments – At the sign-in point, and other places such as the bulletin board, and in the dance area.  Square locations should be marked and readily visible to all dancers.
  • Tips for First Six Weeks -- should be short… because stamina needs to be built up.  An overly tired, formally inactive persons will get discouraged.
  • Always have cold water and maybe a few goodies.
  • Important to get New Dancers off break and back onto the dance floor in a timely fashion.  But don’t make it a “military drill” – make it fun…like a train whistle, horn, bell, etc.  Explain to new dancers the importance of squaring up at once in their assigned square position.
  • Communications – We have found that it is very important to keep your new dancers well informed about current and future happenings through verbal and written communications.  We suggest that you provide them with letters and club newsletters on a timely basis.
  • Bulletin Board-with photos of all the board members and caller and later on all the students.  The board should also display some of the following:
    •  A list of calls – checked off as they are taught
    •  Funny square dance cartoons and sayings
    •  Club news
    •  Do’s and Don’ts in square dancing
    •  Students doing funny things
    •  Information of upcoming activities etc.
  • Break chairs in a “Circle of friendship”
  • After Class Parties – (30 minutes) - celebrating things like, Holidays, Birthdays, Class Milestones, etc.  Important to have Caller attend.  Meeting place can and should be made festive with simple decorations.  Important to get club members involved to support the Class Manager.   Parties before class not recommend
  • Remember we are competing for our new dancers leisure time. New dancers MUST be made to feel they are part of the club early on.  Invite to club dances to observe, to club picnics, potlucks and other activities.  Hold special tips just for them at Christmas party, etc. This helps make them look forward to coming to class.
  • With new dancers’ permission, give each new dancer a list of names and telephone numbers of other class members.
  • Absent from Class – sign up sheet.  This will help class manager in preparing square assignments for those classes.

A very important tip

  • We are very fortunate to have someone who gives make up classes, or practice classes for those new dancers needing or wanting it.  It usually starts after we teach Grand Square.
  • If you don’t have such a person, we recommend that you have someone tape the classes and have volunteer angel couples use these tapes for those who missed a class or for remedial training before the next class.  (Sometimes done in someone’s garage or basement or recreation room) They make it fun – and invite other angel couples to help).

In Conclusion

  • Recruiting – Best results come from Square Dancers bring friends and neighbors. Newly Graduated Dancers seem to be the ones who bring in the most.
  • Presentation – It is very important that the club presents itself  as being Friendly, Organized and Efficient
  • Communication – Keep new dancers informed about what is going on and what is coming up.
  • Retention – Get class members involved in the club early.  New Dancers should look forward to class because they consider it a dance and a night of entertainment and fun.
  • Note – Identify early, those dancers who should not or will not be able to complete the class. Remaining class members are more likely to complete class.