European Association
of American Square Dancing Clubs e.V.

Friendship is Square Dancing's greatest reward


EAASDC-Bulletin September 2011

EAASDC President‘s Letter

Wolfgang Daiss
Tel: +49 179-7642598
Opens window for sending emailpresident(at)eaasdc.eu

Dear members,

Within the last years and decades our hobby has changed, and that is basically a totally normal phenomenon that happens everywhere in the world. That some of the human aspects are thus shifted to the background is not what I would like to point out today. I am more concerned with the future and the recruiting of new dancers which is starting to become an issue in our association as well. Other associations are facing this problem for some time already, be it in the US or in Europe. It was also one of the topics at the last presidents’ meeting of the European Associations in Barmstedt and we have decided to create a joint committee for exchanging ideas and experiences concerning the recruitment of new dancers. Also in Japan it was noted that the previously rising number of dancers in all clubs is now stagnating at 15 000. (Details on the statistics that were gathered there I will receive and discuss during my visit.)

Regarding the development within the EAASDC we still count an increasing number of clubs, however does this also mean an increasing number of dancers? Up to date statistics unfortunately don’t exist and we hope to gain more information through our soon to be distributed survey sheet, which will hopefully lead to useful insights and provide starting points for future planning.

What remains until then are single impressions and conclusions from my personal surroundings and experience, some of which I would like to list, without any claim to completeness, and solely in regard of Square Dancing.

  1. Classes for new dancers.

    Many years ago we were thinking about classes for couples only, because of a surplus in women. The next question was whether we should have a class at all for less than eight people. Today both considerations are irrelevant since we are having classes with 2 or 3 people, lest there wouldn’t be any at all.
  2. How many dancers/ members does a club need?

    According to my experience a club that exists for some time needs at least twice as many members as are present as active dancers on a club night. If we assume an average of 20 members per club, it follows that such a club gets up just about one Square to dance.
  3. “Faithful dancers”

    While until twenty years ago most dancers regularly danced at their mainstream club, this is not the case today. Reasons for this are multilayered and partly also a development of our society and the ever growing supply of leisure activities as well as personal fields of interest.

  4. What is offered within our hobby has drastically changed as well. We have now a lot more clubs, a lot more Special Dances, a lot more programs (levels) and a lot more workshops. This means that the number of possibilities has increased and the geographical distances to realize them have sunk. The number of new dancers however has not increased proportionally during the last few years, which means that dancers are “moving up” through the programs while not enough are following “from below”. Result: The lower and middle programs are left with gaps that threaten the existence of the clubs who offer these programs.

  5. There are, according to my opinion and from a generalizing point of view, by now three groups of dancers (in the following aspects loyalty is meant as dancing in MS-clubs):
  • Those who place their accent on the technical challenges of the programs. Since there are no clubs who offer everything from basic to C4 and no homogenous groups of dancers who work their way through these programs from start till finish as one, this leads to the respective changes and little loyalty with one club.

  • Those who place the dancing aspect above the technical. Their loyalty can generally be viewed as average, since their expectations can be met regardless of the dance program.

  • Those who place their accent on the social aspects of our hobby. Besides the physical motion they seek especially the human and cultural exchange, perfect styling or technical challenge are not part of their expectations. Their loyalty is very high.

This list can be continued ad libitum and is only meant as an incentive to think about where the future of our hobby lies, how we want to and are able to influence it and how we can win new dancers. I would very much like to create a work group within EAASDC that deals with the needs, developments and promotion of all our dance forms, and would be glad if some interested people got in contact with me. So if you have time, interest and good ideas, and would like to join a team of honorary helpers, just send me an email.


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