Luke and everybody,
Several communities have ways of doing this. Some let first-timers in for
free, and yes, there are dances that give coupons for the second dance free
(Glenside, PA does that, and so does one of the Glen Echo dances, I think).
One thing that has worked for our dances is giving free admission to any
experienced dancer who brings a newcomer to the introductory lesson (and all
newcomers get in free at the intro lesson). This policy does two things: it
encourages people in general to make it for the lesson, and also gives
experienced dancers an incentive to bring friends who don't dance. Most of
the people I know who got hooked on contra dancing came when a friend
brought them. I think a beginner usually has a better experience when
they're there for the intro session, too, so we hit two birds with one
On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 1:47 PM, Luke Donev <luke.donev(a)gmail.com> wrote:
The post on walk-throughs for new dancers got me
recruiting new dancers. This straddles dance caller and dance
organizer, but I'd like to hear people's responses.
I'm curious about people's experiences recruiting new dancers. I've
seen several dances that do a lower cost for first time dancers to try
to lower the barrier for entry. Has any group tried doing a coupon for
a discount when they come back a second time?
I feel like the venues for dances are usually such that folks don't
randomly wander in. If folks show up for a first time, they've decided
to come (or were brought). Does knowing there is a discount for first
timers help make them come? When there is a discount, how often do the
first timers know that coming in? I'm pondering the scenario where you
charge full price for the first time, when they've committed to coming
out, and then give them a coupon to come back at a discount price
their second time.
I know a lot of people who tried contra once and were hooked, and I've
seen people who try for a little bit and then never come back. Is it
worth trying to up the likelihood of a second experience, at what
fractional cost for the first? Or should the focus be on that first
experience, and making the barriers for entry as low as possible?
If a group has the resources, then it can just say that the first two
dances are cheaper, but I feel like giving someone a reminder,
business card sized, with the website to check for more information,
is a nice way of having them think about the dance at least once more.
Do callers doing one night gigs announce local dance options if they
know them? Or do you only talk about it with the folks who come up and
ask? Presumably if a caller has been brought in, the organizer of the
party knows the folks at the party and the local dance scene. Is it on
the caller or the organizer to spread information about other chances
to dance? And do you broadcast wide, or focus on the folks who seem
really in to it. I think culturally, at a societal level, we've lost
the sense that we can dance after our 20s at things besides weddings,
which is a real shame.
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