One thought on “May Viewpoints 2019

  1. Merle Hall says:

    I have been Dancing since 2010, I have been calling a couple years less than that. I have had 7 of the best mentors in N.E. Missouri. I know I am lacking experience, but I do not see a shortage of Callers willing to give lessons in our area. Some of the issues are that a caller has more than one club and has to split his time. Last year one of the callers in our area held lessons twice a week. It seemed to work well and I think this is a viable solution since the Dancers could Start in Sept and be done before Christmas.
    I have heard many arguments about teaching a shorter list but then new dancers cannot dance to mainstream callers and everyone ends up frustrated.
    Part of the problem is a lack of commitment from new dancers to come to lessons. Several times lessons had to be restarted or backed up to catch up students. People have a lot of activities keeping them busy. Maybe if they paid for all the lessons up front they would not miss so much. In addition, If your students are older then they have health issues.
    One of the larger issues I see is that square dancing does not “toot our horn” so to speak. You don’t see positive media coverage of square dance events in the papers, on the web on radio or on T.V., or of the benefits of square dancing. Except to already existing dancers.
    We have a lead organization, Just asking, what do they do to help with advertising the benefits of dance or helping to build recruitment. Some are of the opinion they only tell us local clubs and callers it our responsibility. Where is their responsibility?
    The Beef industry has a national beef campaign, (Beef it’s whats for dinner), what do we have… Oh yeah word of mouth and yard signs. If you want to attract new customers you must think like a business and advertise your product. Not just locally, but regionally and nationally.
    For example: Recently I have contacted schools, the coaches unions, the special ed departments to present at their conferences, and 4-H. We will see if this pans out. It might not but it can’t hurt to try. The State of Missouri approved it so that 4-H groups can do dancing, fashion, culture and calling for projects to take to the state fair and have them judged. I think this can accomplish several things. 1. help to change the image of what square dancing is. 2. help to get parents of students involved, after all if you have 4 kids who want to learn the parents can help fill a square. 3. open up a new age group to calling and the fun we have.
    To many older dancers and callers discount the possibility of reaching out to these organizations, or of co-opting with some Contra or country dance clubs. Maybe it is time to start thinking outside the box. Get away from what has always worked, after all it isn’t working anymore.
    I am sorry if this sounded negative, I didn’t mean for it to. I think Square dancing and calling is great. But I also think many of us are complacent and think someone else will take care of the problem.


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