from Luke Donev:
The post on walk-throughs for new dancers got me
recruiting new dancers.
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).
Our dance hall is downtown, at street level, and adjacent to a private club (American
Legion). So, people do randomly wander in, even just to poke in their head to see what
the heck all that fiddle noise is about. And occasionally they stay.
should the focus be on that first
experience, and making the barriers for entry as low as possible?
For our series, we do that by having two dances in the evening. The first dance is low
cost/low pressure. (1hr, giant open band, community-level dances for all ages, $2
adults/$1 kids, very beginner-friendly) We have a snack break and then contras, and often
those folks stick around long enough to figuratively "poke their heads in" at
the contradance. (Over time, many of folks set themselves a goal of getting ready to stay
for what they often call the "big dance."
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
Yes. When I call one-night-stands, I always point out over the mic that this sort of fun
stuff is out there in the world, even if it's an out-of-my-area gig. Usually I
reference websites of CDSS, NEFFA, DownEast Friends of the Folk Arts, Dance Gypsy, etc as
useful places to find out about local dances. If someone is interested enough to ask, I
give them my card and write down specific local dances (and those same websites.) If
it's a local one-night-stand, I bring flyers for our local dance and set them out on a
table/chair near my caller "nest".
Great topic Luke (with so many interesting questions, and generating so many interesting
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