Promotion Ideas For You and Your Club

Callerlab Square Dance Marketing Manual

This publication was released in June, 2017 to aid in Marketing. This 85 page document contains many ideas for a club to consider in its ongoing recruitment planning. There are also many good-news success stories tried and tested by other clubs.
Click HERE for link to document.

Ian Henzel Plan For Square Dance Recruitment

This is an excellent publication for creating Marketing & Recruiting Plans for Square Dance Clubs. This Plan (62 page document) has been used successfully by his club to increase recruitment of new dancers to the club. The Plan or Manual contains may ideas for a club to consider in its ongoing recruitment planning.

Free Leadership Material Available From USDA

A wide variety of publications and educational materials are available from the United States Square Dancers of America (USDA). Some of these include the following. See their website for the full list at

Take The Youthful Step (B-Y02)
A step-by-step guide to establishing and maintaining a youth square dance group. Originated for youth groups, but good guidelines for adult groups, too!

Recruiting & Keeping New Dancers (B-075)
Every club leader should add this textbook to their square dance library and use it to plan club recruiting actions and advance planning for retention for new dancers.

Class Graduation (P-023)
The “how to- pamphlet for class graduations. Contents include the graduation party, planning the ceremony, games, tests, clip art, club invitation, pledge card, welcome packet, diploma, refreshments, etc.

Club Newsletter (P-025)
The “how to” for newsletters – purpose, design, content, size. format, sources, styles. copyright, libel. clip art, printing, editor tasks, and more.

Take The First Step (B-074)
The “how to” booklet for club leader, to use during lessons to teach new dancers more about the square dance activity as a whole. Seventeen pertinent topics. pages suitable for handouts.

Games, Gimmicks & Skits (B-071)
Designed to serve as a springboard for leaders and dancers. Contains 98 different games. gimmicks and skits that will put the—fun-into your dance activity.

Club Specials (B-028)
Leadership booklet developed to assist those dancers and leaders who have had little or no experience in planning or conducting a large social event such a club special.

Copies Can Be Obtained From: 
Jim and Edythe Weber
1316 Middlebrook Drive Liberty, MO 64068-1941

Suggestions for Your Club’s Goals

  1.  Definitely have a new dancer dance program this year!  Every club needs “new Blood” to replace the dancers who have left the activity for health reasons, etc.
  2. Don’t accept statements like “we can’t find any new dancers”!  There is no such thing as ‘can’t’. Please call us and we’ll give you some hints to get a new group going this year.
  3. Set up a permanent “Square Dance Marketing” Committee! Your club and square dancing are still the best kept secret in your community.  It is time to tell the world about your club and the fun you are having square dancing.
  4. Have at least six theme dances this year and really market them to other clubs near your town.  All clubs could use four or six squares of visiting dancers.
  5. Have your club caller call only half of your club dances; invite guest callers for the other half. This setup is good for your caller and good for your dancers.  It is good to dance to other callers regularly.
  6. Visit at least six other clubs during the year!  If you visit other clubs, they will visit your club.
  7.  Don’t mix programs at your dances.  When you mix programs some dancers will not receive the full benefit of your dances.
  8. Allow your dancers and guests to wear “street attire” at your dances.  The trend is more casual and you will have more guests if you mention in your dance schedule and flyers that “casual attire” is acceptable – just come and dance with us.
  9.  Prepare a club budget.  A budget is nothing more than an organized plan of action.  It will help you keep tabs on expenses and income.
  10. Appoint a nominating committee now for your next election of officers.  You don’t want to say, “My turn is up – who wants to be president?”  A nominating committee will help you get good people to lead your club next year.
    Let the Canadian Square & Round Dance Society know about your success of getting the Club goals going in your club.  The idea works!!

Publicity and Promotion Suggestions

  1.  Club or caller could set up Fri/Sat evenings – basically one night stands.  Perhaps called “a fun western night” or something.  Write local groups (church/parents without partners/ firefighters/police/photography clubs/badminton group etc.) and if they want to have a “Supper” (spaghetti/corn roast/bake sale etc) as a get-together for their group or a fund raiser – the club/caller can offer to be the entertainment but be sure that you tell them that you want them to participate and have fun too.  This really works well.  Sometimes it takes 2-3 years of repeat affairs but eventually you get some new dancers.
  2. Start classes early in the evening – especially if there is more than one club in the area.  Have one that dances 7-9 or 7:30-9:30.  How about a “Family” square dance club which would be maybe even only one hour or an hour and a half.  This is plenty long enough if there are young people dancing.  (Maybe 8-19 years old and up).  Also a Teen club once or twice a month – perhaps a Sun. afternoon would get some interest for later on.
  3.  Contact the local Univ. or Colleges about doing a Western party night on a Sat.  Also a possibility in connection with the end of Frosh Week.  Let them plan it and if there is alcohol involved-keep them dancing with no breaks (they won’t get drunk this way).
  4. Set up booths at fairs/farmers markets etc. but always try to have videos so that it holds their attention.  Have a free prize draw of 10 free lessons (First prize) 5 free lessons (Second Prize) 2 free lessons (Third Prize) – so you can get some names and addresses to send invitations to.  You could also have other prizes not related to square dancing – you would just need a permit to sell tickets.
  5. Have club members buy a ticket for One night of dancing to your club’s class and since they have put out $$$ they will work harder to bring somebody to class.  Example; If someone asked you to go to a free dance night you might try to weasel out of it – but if your friends told you that they had bought tickets for an evening of dancing you would probably not want to hurt their feelings & have them lose their money by not going. You would probably go even if under duress!  Believe me, that REALLY works.

It is really important that we let service clubs and small organizations know that we are available for an evening for them to be introduced to square dancing (plus just dancing to other kinds of music if they want that).  We have been so busy for years as callers, just calling for square dance clubs that most of us don’t do the one night stands any more and that’s where we generate interest in the activity.  Otherwise, where are they going to be exposed to it?  If doesn’t happen at wedding dances, or “Stag and Doe” parties, or family picnics any more and so square dancing is just a lost activity.

Promotion Newspaper Article for New Dancer Dancing. Adapt for your Club’s Use

By Audrey & Brian Kealey

Exercise! What better way to rid you of those winter blues! Then come and try-out modern square dancing ~ a good form of exercise while having fun. Square dancing not only lifts the spirits, but also provides healthy cardiovascular exercise that can add quality to a long life. It is definitely a wise choice of activity for you to do this Spring. Dancing will help energize your body and intellectual outlook with new friends and fun for a healthy Summer.

The Mississippi Squares club of Carleton Place is presenting a Spring program for beginner dancers to learn Modern Square Dancing. It will take place Tuesday evenings at Carambeck Public School, 351 Bridge Street in Carleton Place.

Open House
There will be a FREE night for beginners to come and try out modern square dancing,  A caller will guide you through some of the basic moves. Square dancing is done in couples. So bring a dance partner if you can. You will get more dance time. Because Modern Square Dancing is simply walking and shuffling your feet to the beat of the music, it’s very attractive to people of all ages, from teenagers to seniors. No prior dance experience is required. And best of all, there is no competition ~~ just fun. You will see that it’s that easy!

An Introductory Class for Beginners
If you really enjoy it (and most people do), you are welcome to attend a 7-week course for new dancers following the Open House during May and June. It will start Tuesday May 4th until Tuesday June 15th from 7 to 8 p.m. at Carambeck Public School. This course will introduce you to the Basic moves of modern square dancing. Brian Crawford, an experienced, gentle caller will provide the instruction. The course costs $20 per person, payable on the first night. This fee works out to less than $3 a night and, is used to pay the caller and the dance hall. Everyone is welcome. Singles should aim to bring a dance partner, as you may have to sit-out some ‘tips’ (dances) if dance partners have to be shared.

What is the difference between Modern and Old Fashioned Square Dancing?
Both types of square dancing are common in that eight people form a square with 2 people on each side. It’s a team effort.

In ‘Modern’ square dancing, there are no set patterns for a dance. The dancers learn a number of moves which the caller then puts together to form the dance. The dancers execute the ‘calls’. The dancers do not know which moves will be called next. This provides more variety in the dance patterns than any other dance. Usually all dancers move together.

Modern Square Dancing keeps you alert while exercising and having fun. There is no doubt that regular exercise is essential for a healthy lifestyle. It helps provide energy and good breathing. During two hours of dancing, you will walk approximately 5 miles. You’ll have so much fun you may forget you’re exercising.

In ‘Old Fashioned’ square dancing, there is a set pattern followed for each dance. This never varies, no matter how often that dance is repeated. Usually the first couple executes a number of moves with each of the other couples in turn. Then the second, third, and fourth couples do the same moves with each of the other couples.

What Do You Wear?
For square dancing ladies are encouraged to wear a comfortable skirt to ensure freedom for moving. Gentlemen wear a long sleeved shirt. Soft-soled shoes are a must for all.

When did Modern Square Dancing Begin?
It is difficult to trace exactly the roots of Modern Square Dancing, for they are deep and varied. The roots go back to our English and French ancestors, but there are traces of Scottish, Scandinavian, Spanish and other elements. At the beginning of the 20th century many areas saw a decline in the variety and quality of square dance repertoire. Multi-millionaire, Henry Ford became interested in the dance program conducted by a dancing master named Benjamin Lovett. In 1926, Ford and Lovett published a book called “Good Morning After A Sleep of Twenty-five Years, Old Fashioned Dancing Is Being Revived”. A young school superintendent in Colorado Springs, Colorado, named Lloyd “Pappy” Shaw was inspired by the book. After his research of dances and music, he published the first definitive work on western square dancing in 1939.

Square dancing began its transition from the traditional old fashioned, visiting couple type of dancing into all-four-couple-working kind of dancing in the 1950’s. Callers discovered that they could move everyone at the same time and create more interest. Through many, many years, today’s Modern Square Dancing has evolved to be the Worldwide fun and good fellowship activity we enjoy today. The dance moves have been standardized and are always in English making it possible for you to dance almost every where you travel. For example, you can dance in Japan, Germany, Spain, and the U.K. even though you may not understand the local language.

Purchase a “Square Dance” Graphic license plate for your vehicle!

Funds from the sale of these Graphic license plates ($52.10 each) helps the Ontario Federation to promote square dancing in Ontario. These plates are now available from your local MTO.

Business Cards

Preparing and handing out Business cards can also be addictive reminders about the activity. “You have been visited by a Square Dancer cards” Promote your club’s new Fun Night New Dancer Classes





Bookmarksimage of bookmarks to download

Les Greenwood has suggested clubs/callers/leaders make up bookmarks (5 to a 8 1/2 x 11″ page). These can be distributed to local libraries, community centres, Chambers of Commerce, Doctor’s Offices and other locations. Local bookstores may agree to put one in every book they sell. The Greenwoods found their local libraries were happy to hand them out. They laminated some of them at a cost of approximately 25 cents each, but for the library they did not do laminating. They could be in full colour with a suitable dance graphic and message, caller/leader’s picture, and the event they were advertising. The non-laminated bookmarks are reasonable to produce.

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