|The International Square Dance Magazine|
By BILL BOYD
The Orlando Sentinel Newspaper did an article on the declining interest in golf. It seems that the younger generation lacks the patience to learn and play the game in the numbers of the past. Sound familiar? We hear about many activities on the decline because of the time to play, the time to learn or the patience necessary to compete. I know we have seen this in Square Dancing. The funny (or not so funny) thing is that in reading older magazines (i.e, Sets In Order, American Squares, etc.), they said the same thing. They blamed the dress code, the number of calls, the learning curve and more. Even when there were fewer calls, the callers worked to provide variations on the calls making it more like some of our DBD today. Is there an answer? The problem is now that we are still trying “one size” fits all. What can we do to bring in new dancers and keep the ones we have? Change the programs? Simplify the teaching order? Complicate Basics (teach all positions) so Mainstream becomes easier? Skip some of the calls on the list so our dancers cannot go to another dance? Have our current dancers work with newer dancers while we call the dance? I have heard these and even more suggestions from both ACA and Callerlab members. Suggestion after suggestion keep arriving on our doorsteps. Now my question! When did we stop emphasizing fun? Isn’t that what we are selling as a group? Whether you are the club president or the club caller, are you upset when your dancers laugh so hard they cannot complete the call? We all want to dance in “perfect squares” or call to “perfect squares”, but so what if they break down. Do you chastise them? I have heard some callers actually accuse dancers of being inept. If you have a mainstream couple visit your plus club, can you make a mainstream dance fun and interesting for your dancers? We are in a very competitive world and we are competing with a lot of other recreational outlets. From television to the internet, people have choices. Can we create the recreation necessary to take them away from other sources? I think we can, whether it is one couple or one square at a time or even a whole new class, make it fun and maybe, just maybe, we can beat out all of the recreational competition and grow.
|Fun set to music!|