Knock, Knock – Anybody Home?

Square dance callers everywhere, especially British Columbia – your help is desperately needed to adapt our cherished square dance recreation to meet the new customer: the Boomer! We need a new “menu” for them. We need a “makeover.”

The Baby Boomer is the next generation to which we want to present the fabulous square dance. The problem is that they’re not buying it in the form we’re currently selling it. The reasons range from a negative image to a huge learning-curve commitment to achieve the “entry level” Mainstream program.

There seems to be an expectation that we can make them into the semi-professional dancers we’ve become after 20, 30 or 40 years of experience on the dance floor. We’ve been trying to mould them into our own image and it hasn’t worked.

The Boomers, persons born between 1946 and 1964, are a different breed. We must adjust our dance offering to their needs and wants.

Since their demographic profile identifies, for instance, a desire for short learning periods and flexible attendance; what adapted form of the square dance can we offer them?

It’s said that about 10 sessions of dance instruction is their limit. Should dance clubs identify a “Basics” program as a destination? It could run as a parallel club to a Mainstream or Plus program club.

How about the Square Dance ABC program of 22 calls in total? It would be an easy beginner square dance with drop-in options and available over an extended period of time with multiple entry opportunities.

Could the “Club 50″ concept represent the square dance club of the future? New dancer sessions to reach, or at least work toward, the 50-call entry program would still have to be limited to perhaps only ten in order to suit the impatient Boomer. They want to dance and have fun–very soon!

Should we zero in on exactly the genre of music that each Boomer segment relates to within their 18 year age spread and present that to them on the dance floor?

What do you suggest, callers, we could do in the way of a makeover of the square dance that would appeal to the Boomer?

Please help open the door and let the next generation discover the excellent social recreation of today’s square dancing.

West Kelowna, B.C.