Note from Brian: This article was written by the Marketing and Promotion directors up here in Minnesota. Their names are Dee and Ken Scott
What’s most important to the future of modern American square dancing? More dancers! How do you recognize the new dancers? A yellow or gold ribbon! How do we treat new dancers? Like gold! They are the treasure that we don’t want to lose! New to Minnesota this fall will be lots of NEW DANCERS who BLASTed into square dancing in September and October and November. They’ll be attending dances long before the “traditional” new-dancer dances are “traditionally” scheduled. That is a huge change that we all need to note! Hopefully clubs doing BLAST will also be providing the new dancers “floor time” with eight or more “square dance parties” in the weeks following BLAST. Hopefully current dancers will encourage the new dancers to wear their new-dancer ribbons until at least February. Those yellow ribbons should be a “badge of honor” that announces to the rest of us that someone special is in our square–someone who is to be treated “like a piece of gold,” the same way we treat one another now! In squares that have dancers wearing “new-dancer” ribbons, current dancers should make sure new dancers have “angels” as their corners. If there are lots of new dancers, help some couples trade with a square next to yours. Having more than three to four new dancers in one square is sometimes a recipe for disaster. “Angels” need to be sure that no square on the floor has eight, new students in it! Someone worked hard to recruit these new dancers; we will not retain them if they are left alone. Be an “angel” and invite some of those new dancers into your square immediately. Be friendly after the tip; make sure the new dancers are having an enjoyable dance. The responsibility of retaining new dancers rests with all of us–every dancer on the floor has part of that responsibility. Be sure the words that come out of your mouth are positive and encouraging and helpful! Those yellow or gold “new-dancer ribbons” tell all of us that someone very special is at our dance. Treat them as you would treat a new guest at your home. Go over and introduce yourself. Introduce others. Answer questions. Be friendly. You are an “angel” who has the future of square dancing in front of you!